Are you an Australian planning to visit Stonehenge, Medieval York, or the Scottish highlands?
If you travel on holiday to the UK as a tourist for under 6 months, then you will not require a visa to explore the British Isles. You can enjoy your time in Blighty without having to secure paperwork in advance. You can travel just with your passport (valid for the duration of your stay) and of course the funds you will need during your visit to cover accommodation, transport, food and souvenirs.
Australia nationals aged 18 and over, and who are travelling using a biometric or ‘chipped’ passport, will be able to use the automated e-passport gates when you land at Heathrow Airport or elsewhere in the country. Visitors aged 12 to 17-years-old, and who are accompanied by an adult, are also able to use them.
If you are wanting to stay in the country for a longer period, you will need to get your paperwork sorted to live and work here.
Do I Need a Visa to Visit the UK From Australia?
As mentioned, if you’re travelling here on holiday as a tourist, you will not require one as Australians can stay in the UK for up to 6 months visa-free.
You must, however, have a passport that is valid for the duration of your trip. As well as this, you may be asked to prove that you’re visiting for tourism purposes. You may also need to provide evidence to immigration officials that:
- You can support yourself and any dependents financially during your trip.
- You’ve sorted accommodation for your stay (copies of your hotel bookings, for example).
- You plan to leave the country at the end of your holiday.
However, if you are planning to move here permanently or for a longer stay, then you will require a visa. Read on for more information about this.
Things You Can’t Do as a Tourist in Britain
While Aussies don’t need a visa to holiday here for less than 6 months, there are some restrictions on the activities you can undertake.
While visiting the country as a tourist you are not able to:
- Do paid or volunteer work for a British company (or on a self-employed basis).
If you want to combine earning some cash with seeing the sights, you can apply for a UK Working Holiday Visa for Australians. Australians visiting the country for business or academic activities don’t require this.
- Claim benefits from the government.
- Get married or register a civil partnership. You’ll require a marriage visa for this.
Application Process UK Visa for Australians
If you have been charmed by the British way of life and want to move here permanently, the majority of Aussies will require a visa.
The exceptions to this rule are:
- Australians who have a parent who was born in the UK (and were a British citizen when they were born).
- Those born prior to 1983 into a Commonwealth country
- Those who have been a Commonwealth citizen since the 31st December 1982.
Applying for a UK Visa in Australia
Firstly, you need to visit the British government site. To apply to stay here for longer than 6 months, you will need to get a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and this can only be processed in person at an official UK visa centre.
Those citizens applying from the cities of Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney will need to book an appointment online at a Visa Application Centre to set the wheels in motion. During your appointment, you will be required to submit your biometrics and have a photo taken.
It is important not to book your travel until your paperwork has been approved. Flights to the UK from Oz can be costly and the immigration office is not liable for any costs incurred if you don’t get your travel authorisation before your intended date of departure.
If you’re visiting from the EU instead, then you can read more information on the UK ETA.
What Is the Cost for the UK Visa for Australians?
If you are looking to come to the UK for more than 6 months, you will require a visa and there will be a cost incurred for this. The fee depends on the type of documentation you are applying for.
All applications include a fee that will vary significantly depending on the type of paperwork you are applying for.
As you are coming here long term, you will also need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This entitles you to use the country’s national health service (NHS). The cost is 200 GBP per year for all visa types apart from the Tier 4 and 5 categories for young people, where there is a reduced fee of 150 GBP.
Other Common Questions Australians Might Have
We hope you have found this guide helpful and are looking forward to discovering the delights of afternoon tea! Here are some additional questions that Aussies looking to come here might have.
Where Is the Australian Embassy in the UK?
Already in England and got a question about extending your stay or similar? The Aussie embassy can be found by the Strand in the English capital. The nearest tube station is Temple and the full address is:
Australian High Commission
How Many Australians Live in the UK?
The Office for National Statistics estimates that approximately 138,000 people born in Australia are residents in the UK. Australians will find it easy to adapt to this country because of the shared language and similar culture. The weather may take some getting used to, however!
How Long Is the Processing Time for the UK Visa for Australians?
Decisions on non-settlement applications (authorisation granted on a short term basis, for example, 6 months) are usually made in 15 working days. There is also a priority service where a decision is made in 5 days.
For settlement applications, the usual processing time is 60 working days. This is reduced to 30 days if you pay for priority service.
What Is the Australia UK Ancestry Visa?
Some Australians are eligible for UK Ancestry documentation because of the Commonwealth tie between the 2 nations. If you are an Australian citizen and one of your grandparents was born in the United Kingdom, this may apply to you. More information can be found on the British government website.
The cost for UK Ancestry paperwork is 516 GBP.
What Is the Youth Mobility Visa?
Australians of a certain age are eligible to apply for the Youth Mobility Scheme (T5). This allows you to live and work in Britain for up to 2 years. To apply you must be aged 18-30 and have £2,530 in savings.
Before You Go
You should now be clear on whether you do or don’t need travel authorisation for your upcoming British adventure! Make sure to check the expiration date on your passport before booking travel. You can also check out our Visit UK page for more travel tips and advice on this compact but culturally rich nation.