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I applied for an Australian Visitor (subclass 600) visa as a tourist - I know I said tourist as I still have the application form online. Almost immediately I got an email to say I had been granted an visa, but it is a eVisitor (subclass 651) visa, which is for business. Have others experienced this? Is there any cause for concern?

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For you, the main difference between the two visas is that the subclass 651 lasts for 12 months and is multiple entry by default. You can enter as many times as you like in a 12-month period, and each stay must be shorter than 3 months.

How long you can stay

This is a temporary visa. We grant it for 12 months. You can enter Australia any time your eVisitor is valid and stay for up to 3 months at a time.

The eVisitor is granted with multiple entry. You can leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you want while it is valid.

The eVisitor starts on the date it is granted.

On the other hand, the subclass 600 can be either single or multiple entry and can last for a maximum of 12 months, but is commonly granted for the period specified on your travel plans, and for a maximum period of 3 months.

How long you can stay

This is a temporary visa.

You can stay for the period or dates specified on the visa grant letter. We determine the length of your visa on a case by case basis. Things we might consider when determining your stay period include:

  • how long you want to stay
  • why you want to stay in Australia

You might not be granted the length of stay you want.

We can grant this visa with one entry or multiple entries. If we grant you a visa with multiple entry, you can leave and re-enter Australia on the visa while it is valid. Generally we grant a stay period of 3 months, but we might grant a stay of up to 12 months in certain circumstances.

Most likely the immigration officer decided that the 651 was more appropriate than the 600 for your specific case. Maybe they guess that you are likely to travel several times to Australia in a 12-month window. Or maybe they guessed that you might need to reuse the visa for business purposes. It is hard to say. Regardless, there is no need for you to worry.

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    +1 for this. Australia has a big problem with single entry visas for tourists. It effectively bans side trips to Bali, NZ, KL, Singapore, New Caledonia etc, which you might otherwise be taking, depending upon your means. These destinations are common for some Australians that tourists may be visiting. Like China, this especially applies to cruises. You need at least two entries for a round trip cruise ex Australia. – mckenzm Oct 23 at 23:36
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There is no need for concern as the business visa can be used for tourist purposes as well.

The Australian Home Affairs page states what you can do on this visa:

  • visit family or friends
  • cruise or have a holiday
  • undertake business visitor activities
  • study or train for up to 3 months, in some circumstances

The only reason for concern would be if you couldn’t undertake tourist activities on the visa. At the airport, if asked just say that is the visa you were issued and you will abide by the rules of that visa.

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