Special purpose visa
A special purpose visa is a visa given by operation of law to certain non-citizens in Australia to whom standard visa and immigration clearance arrangements do not apply.

Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 operates a universal visa regime which insists that every non-Australian citizen present within the migration zone
Australian migration zone
The Australian migration zone refers to the parts of Australian territory where a non citizen must hold a visa to legally enter and remain. It includes all states and mainland territories, plus some external territories, at the mean low water mark....

 of Australia holds a valid visa.

Hence the special purpose visa was created by section 33 of the Migration Act 1958 to effectively exempt certain persons from the normal processes for entry into Australia. These include:
  • members of the Royal Family
    Royal family
    A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial family appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning...

     (however the Queen of Australia Herself is outside the scope of any Australian immigration requirements)
  • members of the Royal party accompanying the Royal Family
  • official guests of the Australian government, including dependents and staff members
  • members of the crew of a non-military ship visiting an Australian port or being imported into Australia, provided they hold valid passports and seafarers' documentation
  • crews of foreign naval ships visiting Australia
  • members of the armed forces of certain countries with Status of Forces Agreements with Australia (including certain civilians attached to these armed forces) with valid military documents and travel orders, together with spouses and children holding valid national passports and military identification
  • airline crew, with valid passports and employer documentation
  • persons visiting Macquarie Island
    Macquarie Island
    Macquarie Island lies in the southwest corner of the Pacific Ocean, about half-way between New Zealand and Antarctica, at 54°30S, 158°57E. Politically, it has formed part of the Australian state of Tasmania since 1900 and became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978. In 1997 it became a world heritage...

     with advance permission of the Tasmanian Environment Department
  • transit passengers from specified (gazetted) countries in airside transit in Australia for less than eight hours
  • traditional Indonesian fishermen visiting the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands
    Ashmore and Cartier Islands
    The Territory of the Ashmore and Cartier Islands is an external territory of Australia consisting of two groups of small low-lying uninhabited tropical islands in the Indian Ocean situated on the edge of the continental shelf north-west of Australia and south of the Indonesian island of...

No visa application is required to hold a special purpose visa, and no fee is charged. It is possible to hold a special purpose visa simultaneously with another type of Australian visa.

A person holding a special purpose visa must abide by the legal conditions attaching to his or her status, otherwise he or she becomes an unlawful non-citizen liable to detention and removal from Australia.

See also

  • Electronic Travel Authority
    Electronic Travel Authority
    Electronic visas are issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to some foreign nationals for entry into Australia. Unlike ordinary visas, when electronic visas are issued, no stamp or other documentation is affixed inside the traveller's passport; instead, the computer-based system...

  • Australian permanent resident
    Australian permanent resident
    Australian permanent residents are residents of Australia who hold permanent residency visas but are not citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia....

  • Australian nationality law
    Australian nationality law
    Australian nationality law determines who is and who is not an Australian, and is based primarily on the principle of Jus soli. The status of Australian citizenship was created by the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 which received Royal Assent on 21 December 1948 and came into force on...

  • Special Category Visa
    Special Category Visa
    A Special Category Visa is a type of Australian visa granted to most New Zealand citizens on arrival in Australia. New Zealand Citizens may then reside in Australia indefinitely under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.- History :...

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