I'm looking for some advice regarding eVisitor visas and the clause regarding criminal convictions.

I have conviction for 3 months for theft from a shop which was suspended for 12 months. This is not yet spent as I got it in 2014. It's the only thing I've ever done and was something I immediately regretted.

I traveled to Australia last year using the eVisitor with my family to see my partners' parents. I declared it on my landing card and was pulled aside for questioning by a friendly officer. He allowed me in but told me I should apply for 600 visa next time even though my conviction was for less than 12 months. He said that one of the conditions was no convictions but everywhere I look and I've emailed the embassy, states that it's fine if under 12 months.

I'm due to fly out again in February but want to make sure that I'm doing nothing wrong with applying for the eVisitor visa.

  • I won't repeat the joke I made two years ago, I'll just link to it instead.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 9:53
  • Note that the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to Australia. Australia does have a similar scheme - but convictions are only spent after 10 years. See oaic.gov.au/individuals/privacy-fact-sheets/general/… (I think "Commonwealth" means "Commonwealth of Australia" here.) Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 12:09
  • @pnuts: Good call! I was just assuming. (My comment is still true though. It doesn't apply - it is only the Australian legislation that will apply.) Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 12:52
  • @pnuts: In the UK (I don't know about elsewhere), "spent" refers specifically to "spent convictions". I don't know the word for "the suspension period has elapsed", but it won't be "spent". Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 13:03

1 Answer 1


Under What you need to know about applying for an ETA online from DIBP the sixth bullet point under ETA Conditions is:

You must not have any criminal convictions for which you have been sentenced for a total combined period of 12 months or more, whether or not the sentence/s were served.

This is an official site in so far as it claims "This site was developed and is operated by SITA on behalf of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)".

Your conviction was for 3 months and hopefully by February the suspension period of 12 months will have expired, since you mention "I got it I 2014", without the 3 month sentence being served due to your breaching any of the conditions.

It is as plain as a pikestaff that the friendly officer was mistaken. However in my very limited experience that does not surprise me (though the friendly part does). You have emailed the Embassy and I take it their response its fine if under 12 months is in writing. I am convinced you are unlikely to be ineligible for an eVisitor visa on the grounds of criminal conviction alone (if you continue to 'behave yourself' until February) so should apply for an eVisitor visa. This is valid for 12 months from the date the eVisitor is granted so you should apply soon just in case it is refused, so you still have time to apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600) which takes approximately 20 days to be processed but which can take longer and in your situation quite likely would.

However, since it seems likely an eVisitor would be granted I suggest you take a copy of the Embassy's advice with you in case you meet another misinformed officer.

  • The suspension period will have expired, but the conviction might not be "spent" under UK law. (That will be "length of sentence" + "two years" from date of conviction.) Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 12:05

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