Australian tourist visas are non-extendable. Meaning, you cannot apply for an Australia visa extension while in the country. However, you can extend your stay in Australia by applying for a new visa while your current visa is still valid.
To apply for a new visa from within Australia, your active visa must not have a condition that prevents further stay. However, this condition is waived in certain circumstances.
If, when, and how you can extend your stay depends on your situation and current visa. In this article, you will learn the general rules and procedures to stay in Australia longer.
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Can you extend an Australian tourist visa?
Strictly speaking, you cannot extend any of the tourist visas that Australia issues. This is not to say that you cannot extend your stay.
To remain in Australia, you must apply for a new visa but only if this is allowed by the set of conditions that your current visa has.
Most importantly, your visa must not have a condition preventing further stay (known as Condition 8503).
How to extend your stay in Australia?
For this article, a “visa extension” is nothing but “applying for a new visa” before the current one expires. Below are the steps to extend your stay in Australia.
Step 1: Check your visa conditions
First, check all conditions attached to your current visa using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) portal.
Pay close attention to any condition that prevents you from staying in Australia further. This is usually Condition 8503.
If you were sponsored for a standard Visitor visa you will have this 8503 condition attached to your visa.
Step 2: Check your visa expiry date
While you’re in the VEVO portal, make a note of your current visa’s expiry date, i.e. the last day you’re allowed to be in Australia.
You must apply for another substantive visa before this date or your stay will become unlawful and you risk serious consequences.
If you choose to apply for a new visa, you must do so before your current visa expires even by just a day.
When you apply for a new visa, you will also automatically apply for a bridging visa A (BVA) which allows you to remain lawful while waiting for your new visa to be processed.
Step 3: Apply for another visa
You can apply for any visa that doesn’t require you to be outside of Australia.
For tourism purposes, you should consider the Visitor Visa (Onshore stream). This is the only tourist visa that can be used to extend your stay in Australia beyond the initial 3 months stay.
What if your current visa has Condition 8503?
If a “no further stay” condition is attached to your valid visa, you must leave Australia before your visa expires.
Once outside the country, you can apply for a visa again in order to return to Australia.
You may request a waiver of this condition but only under extenuating circumstances.
No further stay waiver
You can request a waiver of the “No Further Stay” condition if there is a major change to your circumstances that is out of your control.
You can request for a waiver of the 8503 condition on Australia’s Immigration and Citizenship website.
When requesting, you will have to give reasons why you had no control over the change in your situation and why your request is compassionate and compelling.
Some examples of such changes in circumstances are:
- You can’t travel due to a medical reason or emergency
- A family member or a close friend has died or is seriously ill
- Your home country was hit by a natural disaster
- War or civil unrest erupted in your home country
Some examples of situations which will NOT be accepted as beyond your control:
- You get pregnant
- You marry an Australian citizen
If the condition is waived as a result of your request, you can apply for a new visa. However, there is no guarantee that your new visa will be granted. Your new visa application will be judged on its own merits.
What is a Bridging Visa?
A Bridging Visa is necessary after your first visa expires while waiting for your new visa to be processed.
In almost all cases, a Bridging Visa is applied for automatically when applying for a new visa while in Australia.
You will most probably receive Bridging Visa A (BVA) which does NOT allow you to return to Australia if you leave while holding it.
If you have to leave Australia while holding a BVA, you can apply for a Bridging Visa B (BVB) which allows returns after trips abroad.
Can you extend your Australia visa after it expires?
No, you cannot extend your Australia visa after it expires. If your visa has already expired, you must apply for a Bridging Visa E immediately and make plans to leave Australia as soon as possible.
Staying in Australia without a valid visa is unlawful and may result in you getting arrested, deported, detained, fined, and/or denied future visas.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Australian visa 3 months or 90 days?
Australian visas’ validity is measured in months, meaning most tourist visas allow stays of up to 3 months, not 90 days.
For example, if you enter on the 15th of October, you must leave before the 15th of January (3 months but 92 days).
To be on the safe side, check when your visa expires in the VEVO portal.
Can tourists stay more than 3 months in Australia?
Yes, a tourist can stay longer than 3 months in Australia by applying for a new visa. If you want to remain in Australia as a tourist, the Visitor Visa (Onshore stream) is the most suitable visa.
Can I renew my Australian visa before it expires?
No, you cannot renew or extend Australian tourist visas. However, you can apply for a new visa before your current one expires.
How many days can I stay in Australia after my visa expires?
Zero. Staying in Australia beyond your visa expiry date is unlawful and may get you into a lot of trouble.
There is significant leeway if you report your situation to the Home Affairs within 28 days of becoming unlawful but it’s still better to either leave before that ever happens or apply for a new visa. You will have more options and will not be breaking the law.