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This question is about a tourist visa.

I was told by the visa application centre that Australia no longer issues physical visa stickers, and when one is granted a visa, it will be checked electronically.

They also advised me that the system often malfunction, and when that happen the airlines cannot check validity of such a visa.

They advised to bring the email confirmation of visa grant along, to avoid problems.

This makes me extremely nervous. Was I told the whole and accurate story?

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  • 2
    Nervous about what?
    – JonathanReez
    Feb 23 '18 at 7:24
  • 1
    @JonathanReez nervous about visa holder not being able to board. Because email is not much of a proof. Feb 23 '18 at 7:52
  • 1
    A visa confirmation email for e-Visas (with barcodes) is one hell of a proof. Don't worry Feb 23 '18 at 8:10
  • A few years back I had an issue when exiting Australia simply because the IO entered the passport number incorrectly (Some confusion between 1 and I IIRC) and couldn’t find the Matching record. Having the printed confirmation can help them find the correct information and realise their error more quickly.
    – jcaron
    Feb 23 '18 at 14:27
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Australia indeed doesn't issue physical visas, but registers your passport for admission in a given status. This can be checked by airport check-in staff.

On 1 September 2015, Australia ceased issuing visa labels to holders of Australian visas. Australian visas are issued and recorded electronically. All visa records are stored in a central database which enables online checking of visa details by visa holders, registered Australian organisations and airline staff. Your visa is linked to your passport or ImmiCard through its unique identification number. You and other parties need this number when checking your visa online.

Also, Timatic, the database used by check-in staff, says:

Note: Australia issues many visas electronically, including those for visitors, students, temporary business entrants and working holiday makers. There is no visa label contained in the passport, existence of an electronic visa, and therefore authority for airlines to board passengers, is verified by airlines using Australia's Advance Passenger Processing (APP) system prior to boarding and by immigration officials on arrival in Australia. Travelers are responsible to ensure that they have a visa to enter Australia.

While you may want to print the confirmation E-mail for your own comfort, you're not expected to show it to anyone.

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  • And I’ll confirm this first person as I just entered Australia a week and a half ago on a US passport and electronic visa. The airline verified my visa status against my passport number when I entered the passport data on the airline’s site after buying my ticket. When I arrived at the passport control in Sydney, I stuck my passport in a machine, it printed a ticket for me to stick in another machine, and it granted me entry without having to talk to a human at all.
    – bogardpd
    Feb 23 '18 at 11:38
  • @bogardpd Yes, certain nationalities can use automated border gates at Australian airports
    – Crazydre
    Feb 23 '18 at 12:07
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Australia issues e-visas. The airline will have a process in place to confirm yours. You will also get an email which you can print off if it makes you feel better.

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  • It does not appear that "e-visa" is a proper terminology for those. At least it is not what they call it on their web site. There is a eVisitor visas (subclass 651), but I was not asking about these ones specifically. Feb 23 '18 at 10:15
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    Indeed,I was using a lazy generic neologism. But any non printed visa might reasonably be described as above. In this case I would check in online and register my passport details ahead of time on the airline's website if it allows that, so they have ample time to verify my visa.
    – user16259
    Feb 23 '18 at 11:05

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