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Obtaining an Australian Visa in Suva

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 20, 2009 08:49 PM

Published: 2009-10-20 20:49:55
Countries: Fiji

Good news regarding Australian visas.

We came to Suva, Fiji, to obtain visas for travel beyond what we could obtain through a four month Electronic Travel Authority. In reading prior reports about required chest X-rays and time delays in issuance, we were initially put off. Still, we thought it worth our while to try.

In short, we completed our applications and went to the Australian High Commission - and in just a few hours, we received two year multiple entry visas.

First, we went to the commission website www.fiji.embassy.gov.au.
Click on visas & immigration.
It explains the requirements and there is a link to the required forms. We printed and completed the forms.
For photos, we went to "MHCC" which is open every day. It is a large multi-story department store with a large food store on the ground floor. In the food store, there is a photo service. They know exactly what you need for a visa photo and will sell you several for a very reasonable price (five for FJD$5.) You only need one for your visa application, so the remainder could be cut as passport photos (which are different) for future use.

In addition to the completed forms, we attached four months of bank statements to demonstrate that we were solvent, and a copy of our boats registration. Where the forms asked why we wanted to travel to Australia, we described how we wanted to travel in Australia and how, after having been in the tropics for two years, our boat was in need of many upgrades and some long overdue maintenance. We described the things needed, sails, solar panels, etc., and how we would be spending thousands of dollars.

We attached our photos to the forms in the space provided and went to the Australian High Commission. It is a short, inexpensive, taxi ride from the Royal Suva Yacht Club. The hours are from 0830 to 1130, Monday through Friday. We would suggest a 0800 arrival and bring an umbrella. It rains a lot in Suva. If you arrive at 0800, you will be near the head of the line (Queue). There is a tree where the line forms that can provide some protection from the sun or rain. The rest of the line is very exposed. By 0830, there were about 40 people in line.

Inside, we took a number and waited to be called. We went to a window when called and a lady behind the glass checked our forms for completeness. She then took our passports and the fee and we again waited to be called. There were a lot of people in the room waiting for one thing or another, so we were surprised when a short time later we were called to another window. Here, another lady explained that she had given us two year multiple entry visas. We will be allowed to be in Australia for up to 12 months at any one time, and the life of the visa would begin when we arrive. She returned our passports and we were finished.

That was it. No hassle. No chest x-rays. Everything you need to know is on the website including the latest fees charged. Our fee was FJD$176 each, about $90 US.

Donald Bryden
s/v Quetzalcoatl

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