28 May 2008

People travelling to Australia warned to get visas

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People travelling to Australia for World Youth Day have been reminded that most will need a visa to travel to Australia. World Youth Day pilgrims have been told by the Department for Immigration and Citizenship that they have just three days to register for their Australian visa, or face being turned away from the country.

It is expected 125,000 young Catholics will travel to the country for the festival in July. However, the government says it has only issued 30,000 visas to-date and is currently processing another 5,600. Some visitors may be eligible for an ETA visa for Australia.

A spokeswoman for the event said: "We have a very good relationship with the department and are working with them to encourage pilgrims to apply for their visas as soon as possible. Not all pilgrims require a visa, including the 4000 coming from New Zealand. We understand that in some countries visa applications will be lodged in bulk."

A spokesperson for the government department said tens of thousands of Australian visa applications are still expected and they can only guarantee applications lodged before June 1st, adding that it would be disappointing for pilgrims to miss out. World Youth Day is held every year, with this year’s event shaping up to be the biggest yet.

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