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A friend of mine and I (we are both EU citizens living and working in Germany) are planning to go together to Australia for holidays for about a month. Because we are EU passport holders, we don't need a visa, but instead an electronic authorization that can be done online (more or less like an ESTA).

He would like to attend to a pilot class in Australia, that lasts one week and is not so expensive. Putting aside the nonsense of doing such a thing in a non-EU country, my question would be:

Do we, as tourists, need a visa for attending a course like this?

I mean, this is obviously a hobby therefore it is non academic, nor work related.

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    Having done a trial lesson (30 minutes lesson, 30 minutes flight) in NZ, I think you have a very good plan (if you can get it to work.)
    – Willeke
    May 11 '20 at 17:08
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    It's not necessarily nonsense to do flight training abroad. AIUI many Europeans go to the US for training because it's much cheaper over there and because it's easier to find places with consistently good weather and clear airspace.. May 11 '20 at 18:23
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    Lots of pilots from all over the world do training in the USA and transfer their FAA PPL to a PPL in their home country, as the training in the USA is very cheap compared to anywhere else on the planet. Mostly because the fuel is very cheap compared to anywhere else on the planet. May 11 '20 at 22:35
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    One week seems very short for any kind of class that gets you any kind of pilots license. May 12 '20 at 13:01
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    Hi there - I submitted an edit to help with your English a little bit, but btw VISA is not an acronym, and doesn't need to be capitalized unless you're referring to the credit card May 12 '20 at 18:25
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The "electronic authorisation" for EU citizens you describe in your question is actually a visa for the purposes of Australian law - eVisitor (subclass 651).

The Department's website lists the standard conditions that apply to this kind of visa. One of them is condition 8201, which reads:

8201 - Maximum 3 months study

While in Australia, you must not engage, for more than 3 months, in any studies or training.

Therefore it appears what you describing would be permitted.

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  • It also depends on whether or not the institution requires study visas for the course.
    – AussieJoe
    May 15 '20 at 17:06
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It depends if the training course instructors are required to be accredited or not. It also depends on the duration of the course. Since it's only a week you should be okay, but you need to verify directly with the flight instructors, to make sure they do not sponsor student visas.

For instance, according to the visa requirements section for "Advanced Flight Theory of the Sunshine Coast Airport", you should not need a student visa for one week of flight training, if the instructor is not accredited by law.

Because we are teaching to a syllabus written by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), there is no requirement for our courses to be accredited.

While our ATPL Theory course is accredited, we are not required to be accreditated so Student Visas are not issued for study at Advanced Flight Theory.

Students can attend the courses provided they abide by the conditions of a visitor/tourism visa.

Check with the training course instructors to see if they are required by law to be accredited.

It is possible your flight instructors are accredited and could be required by authorities to sponsor student visas for visitors. If this is true, in this situation you may be required to get a student (study) visa. It depends on how they are registered with the Australian immigration authorities for sponsorship.

Since you did not specify the instructors or company providing you and your friend the course, it is hard to say for sure. It's best to verify with the instructor that a tourist eVisa is acceptable, to follow Australian law.

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  • As I read it: You can apply for study visa when studying at an accredited institution/training. If the institution/course doesn't need accreditation then tourist visa is ok. May 15 '20 at 12:34
  • @DanielVoina yes, that is correct. If the institution sponsors study visas for the course, then you cannot use a tourist visa.
    – AussieJoe
    May 15 '20 at 17:04

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