According to the Henley Passport Index, the Australian passport ranks highly in terms of travel freedom with visa-free or visa on arrival access to numerous countries, including the UK. Visa requirements for Australian citizens are administrative entry requirements placed on Australian passport holders by UK authorities.
As such, if you are travelling to the UK from an Australia, there are important things to be aware of. Herein is a brief but comprehensive guide on the UK visa requirements for Australian citizens.
Visa Requirements for Australian Citizens Entering the UK
Australian citizens can travel to the UK for up to 6 months (If you enter from the Republic of Ireland, then the allowed duration is 3 months) as tourists or visitors without having to apply for a visa so long as they fulfill a number of criteria. These are the Standard Visitor eligibility requirements. The criteria include:
- You must show that you have the intention of leaving the country at the end of your visit. You should be able to cater to the cost of your onward or return journey.
- You must provide evidence of enough finances to support yourself and any dependants during your stay in the UK.
- You have filed a landing card and submitted the card to passport control. This requirement is not necessary if you are in direct transit to a country outside the Common Travel Area.
- If you are under the age of 18, you must provide evidence of parental consent for your stay in the country or suitable care arrangements.
You should have a passport or travel documents that are valid for the duration of your stay in the UK. Note that you may need to answer some questions regarding your eligibility and what you intend to do while in the country.
The UK Border Agency strongly advises a select group of individuals to apply for a visa before travelling to the UK. Strictly speaking, it is not required for this group of travellers to apply for a visa if they meet the requirements detailed above. Nonetheless, if you are an Australian citizen and fall into the following categories, applying for a visa may be necessary:
- You have criminal charges in any country.
- You have previously breached the entry terms into the UK, have been refused entry, or have been deported from the UK.
- You have applied for a visa previously and were denied.
- You have a warning from a UK official that you have to get a visa before travelling to the country.
What You Can and Cannot Do
As an Australian citizen travelling to the UK, you can engage in the activities permitted under the Standard Visitor visa. As a Standard Visitor, you can visit the UK to:
- Tour the county as a vacation or holiday
- To visit your family and friends.
- To engage in certain business activities such as attending an interview or meeting.
- To volunteer with a registered charity for up to 30 days
- To study, take an exam or do a placement.
- To engage in a school exchange programme.
- To undergo medical treatment (you can apply to stay for a longer period)
- To complete a recreational course (up to 30 days)
As a Standard Visitor you are not allowed to:
- Do unpaid or paid work for a UK organisation or as a self-employed individual
- Register a civil partnership or register a marriage during your stay in the UK
- Claim public funds (benefits)
- Reside in the country for extended time periods through frequent successive trips
Youth Mobility Scheme
Australia is a participant in a reciprocal youth mobility scheme involving the UK and several other countries. The Youth Mobility Scheme is part of the Points-Based Immigration System. If you are an Australian citizen between the ages of 18 and 30, you can enter the UK under the Youth Mobility Scheme visa.
The Youth Mobility Scheme visa allows you to pursue a two-year working holiday in the UK. The two-year validity duration runs from the date on which your Entry Clearance is valid. You can only apply for this visa six months before you travel to the UK. The most interesting part of the visa is that it doesn’t require sponsorship. This means you don’t need to first secure employment from a UK licensed sponsor to qualify for the visa.
To be eligible to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, you must meet other UK visa eligibility requirements and have £2,530 in savings. Note that you cannot put on hold or extend this period, regardless of any time you spend travelling outside the UK.