Taking your Thai girlfriend to Australia is not as straightforward and easy as you would like it to be. For starters, Thailand is a high-risk county when it comes to applying for an Australian tourist visa. All tourist visa applicants must meet the ‘genuine temporary entrant criterion’ provided for in the Australian Migration Regulations.
Why is Thailand a high-risk country?
A high-risk country is any country whose citizens are not eligible to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority, commonly known as an ETA visa. Depending upon your girlfriend’s reason for wanting to visit Australia, the most common visa would be a visitor visa under the tourist stream, also known as a tourist visa. If your girlfriend has a Thai passport, she cannot apply for an ETA visa.
What is a tourist visa for?
A tourist visa is for holidaying and sightseeing, social and recreational reasons, visiting relatives of friends, and other short-term non-work purposes. It can also be used to study for up to three months. However, unlike a student visa, it does not allow the visa holder to work in Australia.
Applying for a tourist visa, what do you need to show?
If your Thai girlfriend has applied for a tourist visa, the Department will need to be satisfied that she genuinely intends to visit Australia for a temporary stay only. In assessing whether that intention exists, the Department will take into account any previous Australian visa compliance that she may have, and whether there is any evidence to suggest that she may work during her stay in Australia. They will also consider ‘any other relevant matters’.When it comes to considering ‘any other relevant matters’ in assessing whether your Thai girlfriend genuinely intends to visit Australia for a temporary stay only, the Department will consider your girlfriend’s personal circumstances. Whilst this list is not exhaustive, they will take into consideration such things as
- Does she have ongoing employment in Thailand to return to?
- The presence of close family members in Thailand, that is, does she have more close family members living in Thailand than in Australia
- Does she own any property of significant assets in Thailand?
- What incentives exist that would encourage her to return to Thailand prior to her tourist visa expiring?
Adequate means of support in Australia
A tourist visa applicant must also have adequate means of support for their stay in Australia. The Department will take into account what activities your girlfriend will be undertaking in Australia. If she is staying with you, and food and accommodation are provided, she would not be expected to show the same level of funds that an independent traveler who is traveling around Australia and staying in hotels would. Your girlfriend does not need to have her own funds, these can be provided by you, but her financial situation may be relevant to meeting the genuine temporary entrant criterion and consideration of whether she has any significant incentives to return to Thailand prior to her tourist visa expiring.
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