17 June 2008
Australia reciprocates EU arrangements with more electronic visas
The Australian Government announced in a media statement yesterday it “has moved a step closer to full reciprocal visa arrangements with countries in the European Union”. The Government has improved electronic tourist visa services for nationals from Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania in an attempt to simplify their visa application process.
The electronic tourist visa service allows Europeans from approved nations to apply for a tourist visa online, and can be approved within minutes. "Australia’s electronic tourist visa service allows people from eligible countries to use the Internet to apply for a visa at any time from anywhere in the world," Andrew Metcalfe, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said.
The improved electronic visa services will mean more people from the European Union can apply and travel through Australia. In October, the Government will introduce yet another online service to facilitate visa approvals for short-term holiday-makers and business visitors to Australia, called the eVisitor service.
The eVisitor service will enhance security checks and the speed of online visa applications. "Simplifying entry for more than a million people from the EU visiting Australia each year enhances cultural links, encourages tourism growth and facilitates business relationships with Australia’s largest trade partner," added the Secretary. The continued improvement of visa services for EU nationals is proof of the Government’s commitment to maintaining good relations and close co-operation between the EU and Australia.