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

Visas and migration


Welcome to the website of the Department of Home Affairs in Colombo. For information on topics not features on this site, please visit the main Department of Home Affairs website.

The Department's office in Colombo manages a range of visa and citizenship services for clients in Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Bangladesh.

Visa and Citizenship Options

Information for Visa Applicants

Important News

Online lodgement for Transit visas

In line with the Department of Home Affairs commitment to improve services and expand online service delivery, we are planning to implement online lodgement for the Transit (subclass 771) Visa by the end of the financial year. The change means:

  • From 1 July 2018 online lodgement will be the only option available for Transit (subclass771) visa applications.
  • From the date of introduction of the online form, clients will no longer have access to, or be able to lodge, paper applications for this visa.
  • A transit visa online application form will be available through ImmiAccount.
  • The new form for a Transit visa will include additional questions.

Formation of Home Affairs

The Home Affairs Portfolio, including the Department of Home Affairs, was officially stood up on 20 December 2017. The establishment of the Portfolio brings together Australia’s federal law enforcement, national and transport security, criminal justice, emergency management, multicultural affairs and immigration and border-related functions and agencies, working together to keep Australia safe.

The Department of Home Affairs is a central policy agency, providing coordinated strategy and policy leadership for Australia's national and transport security, federal law enforcement, criminal justice, cyber security, border, immigration, multicultural affairs, emergency management and trade related functions. The Department of Home Affairs includes the entirety of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. It also includes national security, emergency management and criminal justice functions from the Attorney-General's Department; the Office of Transport Security from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development; multicultural affairs from the Department of Social Services; and the counter-terrorism coordination and cyber security policy functions from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The Department’s website is

Peak season visa processing

Please be aware that the Australian High Commission is currently experiencing high volumes of visa applications. We are recommending that all visitor visa applications are lodged at least four weeks in advance of the applicants intended travel date.

Global visa and citizenship processing times

The Department of Home Affairs (the Department) is continually looking to improve client information and processing arrangements. 

To view current processing times, see the product page for the specific visa subclass or citizenship type you are applying for. You can navigate to any product from Individuals and Travellers or Visa Support. On the product page, two processing times will be displayed, indicating how long it takes to finalise 75 and 90 per cent of all applications submitted globally.

Processing times apply from the date your complete application is lodged.

You can also use the Visa Finder to compare processing times for up to three different products.

Please note that applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and that actual processing times may vary due to individual circumstances including:

  • whether the applicant has lodged a complete application including all necessary supporting documents
  • how promptly the applicant responds to any requests for additional information
  • how long it takes to perform required checks
  • how long it takes to receive additional information from external parties, particularly in relation to health, character, national security, and Assurance of Support requirements
  • the number of places available in the migration programme (for permanent migration visas)
  • surges in demand and peak periods

To ensure your application falls within the published processing times, we strongly encourage you to submit complete applications. The checklists provided on ImmiAccount will assist in making sure you have included all required documents during the application process.

Employment scam

The Australian High Commission in Colombo is aware of a scam on the internet seeking workers for various jobs in Australia. People who respond to the advertisement receive emails from a fake employer in Australia with employment application forms. After applying they are sent an employment offer letter and start receiving email correspondence which alleges to be from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in relation to a visa application. The person is then asked to pay money into a private bank account to finalise the visa. These documents are fake and no visa application is lodged with us. If you are planning to apply for a work visa please refer to information on Remember that any visa application you make should be lodged directly with the Department online or through our service delivery partner, which in Sri Lanka is VFS Global. The Department does not recommend the use of unregistered third parties for lodging applications. For more information about scams and to report instances of alleged fraud see Migration fraud and scams.

Visa processing arrangements for Bangladesh 

We are continually looking to improve visa processing arrangements. 

We have expanded our online immigration services to provide easy access for our clients around the world. People residing in Bangladesh can apply for temporary and permanent visas to Australia online through ImmiAccount. Applications that are lodged online will be processed faster than paper applications.

From 1 December 2016, visa applications received in Bangladesh will be couriered to the Department’s offices in the South Asia region. The Australian High Commission in Colombo will process partner, child, other family and citizenship by descent applications from Bangladesh.

You can continue to lodge your visa application through your ImmiAccount or at the Australian Visa Application Centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Processing times will not be affected.

Further information on visa processing arrangements is available on our frequently asked questions fact sheet.

Caution: Do not make travel commitments

Please lodge your visa application well before your intended date of travel. Requests for urgent processing of visa applications will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

You should not book flights or make travel commitments until you have a visa to travel to Australia. The Department of Home Affairs will not be liable for any financial losses incurred by any client whose visa application was finalised later than expected or where an application is unsuccessful.

Introduction of mandatory appointments at the AVAC

All visa applicants in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh require an appointment in order to submit a visa application at the Australia Visa Application Centres (AVAC) in Colombo and Dhaka. By booking an appointment prior to your visit you are provided with an enhanced experience with no queues and very limited waiting time inside the application centre.

It’s easy to make an appointment.  Schedule your appointment online at: VFS Global: Schedule an appointment in Colombo or VFS Global: Schedule an appointment in Dhaka.

Disposal of x-ray films held at Colombo Post

We are disposing of unclaimed x-ray films from applicants for Australian visas.

X-rays submitted in support of a visa application are the property of the visa applicant. Our current policy is to destroy unclaimed x-rays two years after we receive them.

We are currently storing a large volume of old x-ray films dating from 1999.

On 10 November 2016, we will dispose of x-rays received before 2011. If you want to claim your old x-rays, complete the return of x-rays request form.

For more information about the planned disposal of unclaimed x-rays at our overseas posts, contact

Report something unlawful or suspicious

Reporting suspicious, unlawful or criminal behaviour actively helps us to protect Australia's border and manage the movement of people and goods across it. We take all reports of suspicious activity seriously and you can choose to make a report anonymously.

The immigration and citizenship fraud reporting service receives reports relating to individuals who do not hold a valid visa to remain in Australia, are working illegally in breach of their visa conditions, or have lied or provided false documents in their visa application.

To make a report of this type, visit the report immigration or citizenship fraud page where you can complete an online form and provide details of suspected offences.

Australia is visa label free

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.

Updating your passport details

If you already have an Australian visa and have obtained a new passport you may travel to Australia with both your old passport (containing your electronic visa) and your new passport. Your new passport details will be updated upon arrival in Australia. Alternatively, if you lodged your application online, you can update your new passport details through ImmiAccount.