The website of the Australian embassy in South Africa says that visa processing for a short term tourist visa can take a full month. I am several months from my visit but will be visiting other countries before that. In fact I depart in less than one month, i.e. I will need to apply and get my passport back in less time.

The same website mentions expedited processing. Three questions, then:

  1. Does the visa processing require them to take my passport, or can the process happen without it? (I am clutching at straws, this seems unlikely)
  2. Is expedited processing available for a reason as simple as "I need my passport back"?
  3. If so, how quick is expedited processing?
  • AFAIK, you don't need to send your passport, as Australia does not require labels to be put on it. Plus, citizens of South Africa can apply for the visa on-line. – Boj Apr 15 '15 at 4:19
  • CargoCult where are you seeing info about the visa online? All the .gov.au sites I see list SA as "high risk" and not eligible for the online process. – iftheshoefritz Apr 15 '15 at 7:31
  • In a table in this page: immi.gov.au/Services/Pages/… – Boj Apr 15 '15 at 12:13
  • You're exactly right, I was thrown off by talk about the difference between high and low risk, it made me think that there was no online process for SA. As it is the solution is that they don't need my passport. Add your first comment as an answer and I'll mark it correct. – iftheshoefritz Apr 16 '15 at 12:22

Australia does not require visa labels to be put in your passport. Furthermore, as a South African passport holder you can apply on-line. This means you would not need to send your passport anywhere at all.

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