Need advise on TWOV, travelling to Tonga in Sep and flying via Sydney on Qantas, 2 hour layover and then onward to Tonga on Virgin Australia (Due to lack of Qantas not flying to Tonga that day)

My question is, if I'm transiting in Sydney from Terminal 1 Qantas to Terminal 1 Virgin Australia would I require a transit visa on a South Africa Passport?

I will have check-in luggage which I need to collect from Qantas and check-in on Virgin Australia to Tonga.

Do I need to go through immigration, security check or customs if I just want to collect and recheck baggage?

I've heard there is a Airside baggage claim in Sydney Terminal 1, would this make it easy for me to collect baggage and recheck without a transit visa?

The Pretoria High Commission website says no if: - I'm entering Australia by aircraft - hold a confirmed onward booking to leave Australia to travel to a third country on the same or another aircraft within 8 hours of arrival in Australia - hold documentation necessary to enter the country of destination - not need to leave the airport transit lounge except to continue their journey.

But this does not clarify that I have to clear customs to check in luggage to Virgin Australia?

  • How did this end? We have the exact same situation except we are French. Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 18:01
  • @RomainMorel ended up getting a visa for Australia so we cleared customs with proper documentation.
    – TnT
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


I will have check-in luggage which I need to collect from Qantas and check-in on Virgin Australia to Tonga.

In other words, you have to clear immigration, and thus need a class 771 (transit) visa.

You would not need a visa if staying in the transit zone for max 8 hours, but with separate tickets, this is not possible.

  • @TnT No worries, and welcome to TravelStack. If an answer satisfies you, please accept it by pressing the button below the down arrow
    – Crazydre
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 9:44
  • Awesome thank you. Just a quick one, does tis mean the same to all airports, that if you have to recheck your luggage onto another airline that you need a transit visa?
    – TnT
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 9:57
  • @TnT Correct, if you absolutely cannot enter the country without a visa (in some places, there are provisions for a short visa-free stay if you're in transit), that means you'll need one to pick up luggage.
    – Crazydre
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 13:09

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