Australian High Commission
Malaysia

Frequently asked questions

What type of visa should I apply for?

There are a number of visa options available for people who wish to enter Australia for the purposes of tourism, business, work, study or permanent residency. Comprehensive information on all visa types is provided on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's (the department) website.

The department cannot give you advice on which visa you should apply for.  You can use the ‘Visa Finder’ facility on the department’s website to determine what visa would best suit your individual circumstances.

Alternatively, if your circumstances are complicated and you would like more specific advice about the best visa option for you, you can seek the assistance of a registered migration agent, who will advise you on your visa options and help you apply for a visa. Registered migration agents can be found on the website of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.

Can I apply for a visa on-line?

You can apply online for some visas and Australian citizenship by descent. If you are eligible to apply online, we encourage you to do so as it can be cheaper, easier and quicker to apply online than in person. Use the 'Visa Finder' tool on the department’s website to find out if you are eligible to apply for your visa or citizenship product online.

To apply online, you must have an ImmiAccount. Further information on what types of applications can be lodged online, and how to create an ImmiAccount, can be found on the department’s website.

Can I get an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visa?

Passport holders of certain countries (including Malaysia and Brunei) may be eligible to apply for an ETA. The ETA lets you visit Australia:
• for tourism or business visitor purposes;
• as many times as you want, for up to one year; and
• stay up to three months for each visit.

All ETA-eligible applicants can apply for an ETA through a travel agent, airline or specialist service provider.  Certain passport holders can also apply for an ETA online.

Generally, ETAs are processed instantaneously. However, if you have applied for an ETA online and your application is not processed immediately, you should check back in 12 hours via \'Check an ETA\' on the department’s website to confirm if your application is approved.

An ETA does not permit you to undertake paid work in Australia.

I have an ETA - can I get a job picking fruit in Australia?

No, an ETA does not permit you to pick fruit, or undertake other paid work, in Australia. 

An ETA permits you enter Australia for up to three months at a time as a tourist or for business visitor purposes.  Business visitor activities include:

  • making general business or employment enquiries
  • investigating, negotiating, signing or reviewing a business contract
  • activities carried out as part of an official government-to-government visit
  • participating in conferences, trade fairs or seminars, as long as you are not being paid by the organisers for your participation.

Business visitor activities DO NOT include undertaking paid work in Australia.

If you work in Australia in breach of your visa conditions, you may be detained and removed.  You may also be subject to a 3 year re-entry ban or exclusion period.  It is your responsibility to know what your visa allows you to do while in Australia.  Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) provides an online service to check your visa details and conditions.

How do I lodge an application in Malaysia?

If you are unable to apply online, paper applications for certain visas and Australian citizenship by descent applications from persons living in Malaysia or Brunei should be lodged at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC), operated by our service delivery partner, VFS Global. Applications cannot be lodged directly at the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

If you are living in any part of Malaysia (including residents of Johor Bahru) and want to lodge a paper application for one of the following types of visas:
• Visitor Visa
• Temporary Work (subclass 403) Visa
• Transit Visa
• Permanent Entry Visa
• Medical Treatment Visa
• Work and Holiday Visa

You must submit your application in person to the AVAC, as you will need to provide your biometrics (fingerprints and/or facial photograph) as part of the application.

Note: If you decide to lodge your application by post/courier, you will still be asked to provide your biometrics in person at the AVAC.  This may significantly delay the processing of your application and, if you ultimately do not provide biometrics when requested, your application is likely to be refused.

The following paper applications must also be submitted to the AVAC, however as applicants do not need to provide their biometrics, these applications can be submitted to the AVAC by post/courier or in person.

• Citizenship by Descent (CBD)
• Resident Return Visas (RRVs)
• Australian Declaratory Visas (ADV)

The AVAC is open for application submission and enquiries between 8am and 3pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays) and is located at:

Suite 19.06, 19th Floor,
Wisma MCA
163 Jalan Ampang
Kuala Lumpur
MALAYSIA

The AVAC will accept walk-in appointments to lodge applications between 8am and 3pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays). However, to avoid waiting times, we recommend you make an appointment with the AVAC by calling the telephone helpline on +60 3 2166 6550 (which operates from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday - except public holidays) or by using the AVAC’s online appointment system.

If you are required to provide your biometrics and you decide to lodge your application by post/courier, you will still be asked to provide your biometrics in person at the AVAC at a later date. This may significantly delay the processing of your application and, if you ultimately do not provide biometrics when requested, your application is likely to be refused.

How do I lodge an application in Brunei?

Brunei residents may lodge an application for any type of visa (including a Resident Return Visa or Australian Declaratory Visa) or Australian citizenship by descent at the AVAC in Malaysia, either in person or by post/courier.  Brunei residents who mail or courier their application from Brunei are not required to provide their biometrics at the AVAC.

Please note that if a Brunei resident chooses to lodge a visa application (other than a Resident Return Visa or Australian Declaratory Visa application) in person at the AVAC in Malaysia they will need to provide their biometrics like other Malaysian-based applicants.

What happens after I lodge my application with the AVAC?

Once you have lodged your application with the AVAC, it is forwarded the next working day to the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur for processing.

Applications are processed in the order in which they are received by the visa office in the Australian High Commission, unless there is a genuine need for the application to be expedited (such as death of a family member in Australia). We will not expedite the processing of an application based solely on your proposed date of travel or because you have already booked a flight.

The visa office endeavours to finalise a high percentage of all applications within the department’s published global processing times.  However actual processing times are dependent on a number of factors.

Your application will be allocated to a case officer as soon as possible for assessment. If a case officer cannot decide your application based on the information provided at time of lodgement, the case officer may request further information from you. However, please note that under Australian migration law, the case officer can decide the application based on the information provided at time of lodgement and is not legally obliged to request further information from you before making a decision. You are therefore encouraged to lodge a complete application.

What is a ‘complete application’?

A complete application is one in which:
• the correct application form has been used;
• the correct visa application or citizenship charge has been paid;
• all relevant questions in the application form are answered;
• all relevant information and supporting documents specified in the checklists on the individual application pages on the department’s website have been provided; and
• the application has been signed.

We are able to process complete applications more quickly than those where we have to request additional information from the applicant.

How long will it take for the department to process my visa application?

Our global processing times are published on the department’s website.

Global processing times are published monthly and provide you with an indicative estimate of how long it is taking to process a particular visa subclass, stream or citizenship application globally.  Two processing times are displayed for most subclassess, indicating how long it takes to finalise 75 and 90 per cent of applications globally. 

To ensure that your application falls within the published processing times, you will need to submit a complete application.  Please note that applications are processed on a case-by-case basis and actual processing times can vary due to individual circumstances including:

  • whether you have lodged a complete application, including all necessary supporting documents
  • how promptly you respond to any requests for additional information
  • how long it takes to perform required checks on the supporting information provided
  • how long it takes to receive additional information from external agencies, particularly in relation to health, character, and national security requirements
  • for permanent migration visa applications, how many places are available in the migration programme
  • for citizenship applications, the time taken to attend a Citizenship Ceremony or receive a Citizenship Certificate.

Can I request priority processing?

No, applications are processed in the order in which they are received by the Australian High Commission, and will not be prioritised unless there is a genuine need for the application to be expedited (such as death of a family member in Australia).

We will not expedite the processing of an application simply on the basis that you have already booked a flight to Australia. The department will not be liable for any financial loss incurred by a client whose visa application was finalised later than expected or where an application is unsuccessful.

You should not book flights or make travel commitments until you have a visa to travel to Australia.

Can someone else make enquiries or receive information in relation to my application?

Australia’s Privacy Act prohibits disclosure of personal information to third parties, including Australian spouses/sponsors. Therefore, we will not release any personal information to a third party unless we have been given permission to do so by the applicant.

If you would like a third party to act on your behalf in relation to a visa application, you can nominate anyone (using Form 956A) to be your authorised recipient.

An authorised recipient is a person appointed to receive documents from the department on your behalf. The department cannot discuss matters relating to you with your authorised recipient unless they are also acting on your behalf as your migration agent/exempt person, or you have separately provided the department with consent to disclose your personal information to them. You can only have one authorised recipient. The department is legally obliged to send all correspondence in relation to your application to the most recently appointed authorised recipient, not to you.

You may also nominate a migration agent/exempt person (using Form 956) to provide you with immigration assistance in relation to your visa application. ‘Exempt persons’ include close family members (spouse, child, adopted child, parent, brother or sister of a visa applicant) and visa application sponsors. The department will discuss your application with your migration agent/exempt person, send written communications to them (if they have also been appointed as your authorised recipient), and seek information from them.

For more information about Australia’s privacy policies, please visit the department’s website.

Do I need a visa label to travel to Australia?

The department does not issue visa labels for any type of visa.Australian visas are recorded electronically. You do not need a visa label in your passport to travel to, enter or stay in Australia. You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa status and entitlements. 

My application was refused and I don’t think it was a fair decision - can this be appealed?

When we notify you of a decision to refuse your visa application, we will advise you if the decision can be reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The AAT assesses the merits of departmental decisions, and will either: affirm the decision, remit the decision back to the department with instructions or set aside the decision, based on all information before the tribunal at the time.

If the decision is not one that can be reviewed by a tribunal (and no legal error has been made by the department), then the decision cannot be revisited.

If there is additional information that you wish to provide, then you have the option to apply for a new visa and include the additional information for consideration. However, please note that if your circumstances have not changed, or you aren’t able to provide any significant new information or evidence since the first application, it is unlikely a new application will lead to a different visa outcome.

I am subject to an exclusion period – does that mean I can never go to Australia again?

Exclusion periods of varying lengths are imposed under a number of different circumstances. The only circumstance that will lead to permanent exclusion from Australia is if you have been in Australia and had a visa cancelled on character grounds, or if you have been deported from Australia under certain sections of the Australian Migration Act.

If you are not subject to permanent exclusion from Australia, but are subject to an exclusion period for another reason (for example, because you overstayed your visa or been caught working in breach of your visa conditions) you can apply for most visas. The visa may be able to be granted whilst the exclusion period is in force, depending on what type of visa you are applying for and/or if the exclusion period is waived by a departmental officer. A case officer will provide you with an opportunity to provide information for consideration of a waiver.

If you are granted a visa while an exclusion period is in force, the exclusion period is not ‘extinguished’ as a result and will remain in force for the full duration.

Taking your domestic helper on your holiday to Australia?

If you plan on taking your domestic helper on holiday with you to Australia you need to ensure that they are granted the appropriate visa. Failure to do so could lead to your helper being refused entry to Australia or having their visa cancelled and being asked to depart Australia.

The type of visa that you need to apply for will depend on whether or not you will be requiring your domestic helper to complete their duties in Australia.

If they will be performing their domestic helper duties in Australia then they need to apply for a subclass 600 – visitor visa in the 'Business Activities' stream.  It is important that you select this stream as if you choose the 'Tourism' stream the application will be refused and we will be unable to provide a refund.  Australia does not have a specific scheme for employment of domestic helpers. However, it is acknowledged that employment of domestic helpers is culturally prevalent in Malaysian society and that domestic helpers over time can become an integral part of the family unit.  In recognition of this, policy allows for domestic helpers to apply for a temporary work visa to accompany their employers on holidays to Australia.

If you are taking your domestic helper on a holiday to Australia and you will not be asking them to do any domestic duties (such as babysitting, cleaning etc) and they will just be on holiday, then they may apply for a visitor visa in the 'Tourism' stream. Further information on visitor visas can be found here.

My passport has been lost or stolen and/or I’ve been issued with a new passport. What should I do? 

If you are an ETA holder, you will need to apply for a new ETA in your new passport.  ETAs in a previous passport can no longer be used once a new passport has been issued.

If you hold another type of visa, and you have been issued with a new passport since you lodged your visa application or your visa was granted, you will need to notify us of your new passport details before you travel or you may face delays at the airport.  If your visa application was submitted online, you can submit your passport update request online using your ImmiAccount.  See  http://www.border.gov.au/immiaccount.  You can also submit the completed form to an Australian Visa Application Centre or an office of the department.

If you are unable to submit your passport update request online, to advise us of a change in passport details, please email the following information to immigration.southeastasia@dfat.gov.au with “Passport update request” in the subject line:

Failure to submit this information will delay processing of your passport update. 

You will receive an email response once the passport update has been completed.

Contact us

All general enquiries should be directed to the AVAC, VFS Global Malaysia:

Telephone: +60 3 2166 6550 (between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays)
Email: info.aumy@vfshelpline.com
Website: www.vfsglobal.com/australia/malaysia/index.html

Street and postal address (the AVAC office is open between 8am and 3pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays):

Suite 19.06, 19th Floor
Wisma MCA
163 Jalan Ampang
Kuala Lumpur
MALAYSIA