Business visa Australia: Everything you need to know

TransferWise content team
29.03.19
8 minute read

If you want to attend a work-related event or start your business in Australia, you need to apply for the right business visa. Australia offers multiple options, either for those interested in business travel only or for UK citizens looking to establish themselves in Australia for a longer period¹.

Whichever business visa you require, this article will deal with:


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Which types of business visa does Australia have?

Australia offers either short-term, temporary, or permanent business visas to those looking to travel for business purposes, start up a new business, or invest in an existing business in the country². In order to find out which visa you might need, it’s important to understand for what kind of business purposes you’ll be visiting Australia.

If you just want to attend a conference, business meeting, or investigate a business contract, for example, UK nationals can apply for an eVisitor visa³ (Subclass 651) or an Electronic Travel Authority⁴ (ETA - Subclass 601), both are electronically linked to your passport and provide authorisation to travel to and enter Australia. However, keep in mind that on both these visas you cannot get paid for any business activities. If you’re planning on doing any paid activities you’ll need a different visa, more on that below. The eVisitor and ETA visas are relatively easy and fast to get, and they’re very similar. The main difference between the 2 is in the way you apply and what the costs are⁵.

Both the eVisitor and ETA visas are visitor visas, this means that you can only carry out business activities for which you won’t get paid. If you want to invest or manage a business in Australia, for example, you’ll have to apply for a business related work visa. There are several different visas in this category, and the Australian government has a handy visa finder which can help you determine the right visa for your situation².

Which exact visa you can apply for depends on the purpose of your business activities in Australia, but the different visa types that might be suitable are⁶:

  • Business Innovation and Investment visa (Subclass 188 - Provisional)
  • Business Innovation and Investment visa (Subclass 888 - Permanent)
  • State or Territory Sponsored Investor (Subclass 893 - Permanent)
  • State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa (Subclass 892 - Permanent)
  • Investor visa (Subclass 891 - Permanent)
  • Business Talent visa (Subclass 132 - Permanent)

How long can you stay on a business visa in Australia?

The validity of your Australian business visa depends on the type of visa you apply for and an array of personal circumstances.

If you’re only planning to attend an event or conference without actively conducting a business while on Australian territory, an eVisitor³ or ETA⁴ visa has a validity of 12 months and allows you to stay in the country for periods of up to 90 days per entry. You can enter Australia multiple times on this visa, as long as both the visa and your passport are valid.

A provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa gives you the possibility to stay for up to 4 years and 3 months, and you can apply for a permanent visa if you meet eligibility criteria⁷.

Can you extend your stay?

If you're in Australia on a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa and want to extend your stay, you’ll have to apply for a new visa as you can’t extend the visa. You might be eligible for a permanent Business Innovation and Investment visa, for example, if you meet the criteria.

You cannot extend the validity of an ETA or eVisitor visa. If you entered Australia on an ETA or eVisitor and you want to stay longer, you’ll have to apply for a visa that suits your reason for staying longer.

What are the requirements for a business visa in Australia?

The requirements for a business visa vary from one type to another. Here are the eligibility requisites.

ETA and eVisitor Visa

Is perfect for UK citizens who want to³⁺⁴:

  • Make general business and employment inquiries
  • Negotiate, sign, review, or investigate a contract
  • Carry out activities during an official government-to-government visit
  • Participate in conferences, seminars, or trade fairs as long as you don’t receive any remuneration for attending the event

Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Subclass 188 - Provisional)

There are 7 so called “streams” you can apply through for this visa⁷. Below you can find the criteria for the business innovation stream⁸ and the investor stream⁹, as an example of the requirements. But keep in mind that other visas have different requirements.

You might be eligible to apply for a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa through the business innovation stream if you⁸:

  • Are nominated by an Australian State or Territory government agency
  • Have ownership in a business
  • Own at least 800,000 AUD in personal and business assets
  • Have scored at least 65 points on the points test¹³
  • Have a business career that is successful
  • Are under the age of 55
  • Have not been involved in unacceptable business or investment activities
  • Have a functional level of English
  • Meet the Australian health requirements¹⁰
  • Meet the Australian character requirements¹¹
  • Sign the Australian values statement
  • Don’t owe the Australian Government money
  • Don’t have a previously cancelled visa or refused application

You might be eligible to apply for a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa through the investor stream if you⁹:

  • Are nominated by an Australian State or Territory government agency
  • Have and make the right assets, interests and investments
  • Have the right experience
  • Have scored at least 65 points on the points test¹³
  • Intend to live in the State or Territory where you’ve made the investment application, for at least 2 years
  • Are under the age of 55
  • Have not been involved in unacceptable business or investment activities
  • Have a functional level of English
  • Meet the Australian health requirements¹⁰
  • Meet the Australian character requirements¹¹
  • Sign the Australian values statement
  • Don’t owe the Australian Government money
  • Don’t have a previously cancelled visa or refused application

What kind of documents do you need to provide?

The type of documents you have to provide vary widely on whether you want to travel to Australia for a short stay or a longer period. Here are the documents you’ll need for the ETA, eVisitor and provisional Business Innovation and Investment (Business Innovation stream and Investor stream) visas. Other visa types might need different documents.

Visa Type Document
ETA Visa⁴⁺¹²
  • Passport
  • Email address
  • Credit card details
eVisitor Visa³
  • Passport
  • You’re required to have enough funds to support yourself and be able to leave Australia at the end of your trip
Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) - Business Innovation stream⁸
  • Give an Expression of Interest (EOI) before you apply
  • Be nominated by a State or Territory, and invited to apply
  • Passport and national ID card (if you have one)
  • If applicable, proof of name change
  • Business documents
  • Documents that prove you have net assets of 800,000 AUD
  • Points test documents
  • English language documents
  • Health documents (provided by the doctor)
  • Character documents
  • If someone is helping you, provide proof of that
  • Partner documents, if applicable
  • Documents for dependents under/over 18, if applicable
Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) - Investor stream⁹
  • Given an Expression of Interest (EOI) before you apply
  • Be nominated by a State or Territory, and invited to apply
  • Passport and national ID card (if you have one)
  • If applicable, proof of name change
  • Business, investments and assets documents (to prove your investment is eligible for the visa)
  • Points test documents
  • English language documents
  • Health documents (provided by the doctor)
  • Character documents
  • If someone is helping you, provide proof of that
  • Partner documents, if applicable
  • Documents for dependents under/over 18, if applicable

How can you apply for an Australian business visa?

UK nationals can apply for an ETA visa through a travel agency or visa organization. For a different visa (including the eVisitor visa) you can go to the website of the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs directly, or consult with an Australian embassy or consulate.

Regardless of what path you take, you should follow the steps below to ensure quicker processing of your application.

  1. Figure out what type of visa you need².
  2. Gather all necessary documents in advance, including any health certificates the embassy may require. On the page for your specific visa you can find more information about which documents you need to provide
  3. If you apply online, create an ImmiAccount¹⁴
  4. Apply online or on paper¹⁵; in the latter case, you may have to book an appointment with the Australian embassy in London
  5. Pay for your visa fees. Your application process will start after you’ve paid¹⁵
  6. Wait for your application to be processed. You’ll receive the decision regarding your application in writing

How long can the application process take?

Visa processing times vary depending on the type of visa you’re applying for. ETA and eVisitor visas are the fastest to process, usually within 1 to 2 working days. There's no standard processing time for provisional Business Innovation and Investment visas⁷.

What are the fees for a business visa?

Just like the processing time, business visa fees vary widely depending on the type of visa. An eVisitor visa³ doesn’t cost you anything, and the cost for an ETA⁴ should be AU$20. A provisional Business Innovation and Investment Visa through both the Business Innovation stream⁸ and the Investor stream⁹ should cost AU$4,985. You will find the cost for your specific visa type on page of the Australia government, so you’ll know beforehand what to expect.

Regardless of which Australian business visa you apply for, a borderless multi-currency account from TransferWise may come in handy during your stay overseas. You can activate a local virtual account in AUD and use it to pay like a local. You can even get a debit Mastercard to manage your international payments with ease. All you need to have a great and productive stay in Australia.

Sources used for this article:
1.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing
2.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-finder
3.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/evisitor-651#Overview
4.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/electronic-travel-authority-601#Overview
5.https://uk.embassy.gov.au/lhlh/immi_holiday_info_eng.html
6.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing
7.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/business-innovation-and-investment-188
8.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/business-innovation-and-investment-188/business-innovation-stream#Overview
9.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/business-innovation-and-investment-188/investor-stream#Overview
10.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/meeting-our-requirements/health
11.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/meeting-our-requirements/character
12.https://australianvisaauthority.org/visa-information-uk/
13.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/business-innovation-and-investment-188/points-table
14.https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login
15.https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/applying-online-or-on-paper/online/how-to-pay
*All sources checked on March 29, 2019


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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