Australian High Commission
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Also accredited to the Republic of Maldives

General information for visa applicants

Please read the informaiton below before applying for a visa to go to Australia.

There are important things you should know before applying for, or being granted, an Australian visa. A short video which provides information on applying for the right type of visa, application requirements, your obligations while in Australia, and the importance of complying with visa conditions can be found at: Coming to Australia. You can select to watch this video with Singhalese,Tamil or Bengali subtitles.

How to lodge an application

Our preferred lodgement method for applications is online through ImmiAccount. Alternatively, applications can be lodged in person by appointment at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC). Schedule your appointment online at: VFS Global: Schedule an appointment in Colombo or VFS Global: Schedule an appointment in Dhaka.

For more information see: How to lodge an application.

Health requirement and medical examinations

All permanent, provisional and certain temporary visa applicants are required to complete health examinations as part of the visa application process to determine if they meet the health requirement. We recommend that all new visa applicants requiring medical examinations undertake the medical check before lodging their visa application to avoid delays.

For more information, including instructions for completing medicals before lodging your visa application, see: Health requirements and medical examinations.

Character requirement and penal clearance certificates

Everyone who wishes to enter Australia must be assessed against the character requirement.

For the Australian Government to determine whether you are of good character, you may be asked to provide penal clearance certificates for each country you have lived in for 12 months or more, over the last 10 years, since turning 16 years of age. These certificates are also known as a police certificate in some countries.

You must declare all recorded offences to us. If you do not declare an offence and we become aware of this it might have a negative impact on your application.

If you are required to obtain a penal clearance certificate, this will be indicated on the relevant visa application checklist. Please provide it with your application to prevent delays in processing.

Information on obtaining a penal clearance certificate from Sri Lanka can be found here. Information on obtaining one from other countries can be found under the specific country here.

More information can be found at: Character and police certificate requirements.

Appointing a migration agent or authorised recipient

Under the Privacy Act 1988, DIBP can only provide information about a visa application to the applicant, an authorised person or an appointed migration agent. If you wish to appoint a migration agent or another person to receive information about your application, please complete Form 956 or Form 956A. This can be done via your ImmiAccount (for online lodgements) or by completing the forms below (for paper applications only).

Supporting documents

It is the applicant's responsibility to provide all supporting documentation that will assist in assessing eligibility for a visa. Delays and or application refusal can result from forms not filled in fully, truthfully or accurately; or by lack of proper documentation. For guidance on what supporting documents should be provided see: Visa checklists.

We reserve the right to verify any documents lodged with your application with a document issuing authority, a relevant third party, or via document examination techniques. Applications containing false or misleading information will most likely be refused. We expect you to advise us of any changes to the information you have provided as soon as the change happens. 

Acceptable passport copies

The Department of Home Affairs at the Australian High Commission accepts two formats of passport copies:

  1. Notarised copies of ALL pages, blank or otherwise; or
  2. Copies witnessed by VFS (paper applications only)

At time of application, scanned notarised copies should be uploaded to ImmiAccount, or if you are applying at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC), you should bring your original passport(s) with you.

Unacceptable copies – missing pages or un-witnessed/un-notarised pages – can lead to adverse visa decisions. There is no obligation to request acceptable copies after lodgement and your application may be delayed.

Document fraud

It is a serious offence to misrepresent yourself, or one of your family members when making an application for an Australian visa. This includes making false or misleading statements, or submitting false information or false documents with your application.

Even if someone else completes your application for you, you are responsible for it. Public Interest Criterion 4020 enables refusal of a visa if an applicant provides a bogus document or information that is false or misleading in relation to their application, or if the Minister is not satisfied of an applicant’s identity.

It is better to explain why you do not have a document than to submit a false document with an application.

Verification checks

For bona fide purposes, applicants for all subclasses of visas may be subject to verification checking, which may include telephone interviews, third-party telephone checks, document examination, checks made with document issuing authorities, face-to-face interviews and site visits.  

Decision notification

For legal reasons, all advice of visa decisions is made available only to an applicant, an authorised person, or an appointed agent. If refused a visa, applicants are notified of this in writing giving reasons for refusal.  If you provide us with your email address, we will email the decision to you. The department cannot send decision notifications by email if you have not authorised us to use electronic communication in relation to your application. If your email address changes after you have applied, you can update it on ImmiAccount. If you believe your visa application has been finalised and you have authorised us to use electronic communication but you have not received notification, please check your spam folder. You can also check to see if your visa has been granted and print a copy of your visa details 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via  Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).

Visa labels

On 1 September 2015, Australia ceased issuing visa labels to holders of Australian visas. All Australian visas are issued and recorded electronically. Your visa is linked to your passport through its unique identification number. When you travel, you should travel with the passport which you held when you were granted the visa so that the airline can verify your visa details. You may chose to carry your visa grant notification letter with you when you travel, which explains the conditions of your visa, including the period of validity and entry requirements.

The information contained within the visa grant notification letter will help you to check your visa status online using our Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system or myVEVO mobile app.

For more information see Electronic Visa Record.