Visa Evidence Charge (VEC) changes
You do not need to have an Australian visa label in your passport and visa holders are no longer routinely issued visa labels. From 1 July 2014 the charge for a visa label is $150.
Australia's visa label policy
The Australian Government does not require holders of Australian visas to have a visa label. Visa holders can travel to and reside in Australia without a visa label in their passport.
Development and enhancement of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's (DIBP) electronic systems means many of the department's services no longer involve the physical exchange of paper documentation. This reflects a government-wide agenda to make services more accessible and convenient for clients by providing them with secure online alternatives.
Electronic visa record
Australian visas are issued and recorded electronically. All visa records are stored on a central database in Australia which enables online checking of visa details by visa holders, registered Australian organisations and airline staff. Your visa is linked to your passport or ImmiCard through its unique identifying number. This number is required by you and other parties when doing a visa check online.
When you receive your Australian visa you are issued with a visa grant notification letter that explains the conditions of your visa, including period of validity and entry requirements. You should retain this for your own reference and you may wish to carry it with you when you travel as it contains important information about your visa. The information contained within the visa grant notification letter will help you to check your visa status online using the department's Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system.
If you have been issued with a new passport since your Australian visa was granted, you must notify us of your change of passport details to ensure your record is up-to-date.
Your visa details are linked to your passport or ImmiCard. Failure to update your passport details will result in delays when travelling to Australia. You or a registered Australian organisation will be unable to check your visa conditions and entitlements online.
To update your passport details, complete Form 929 Change of address and/or
passport details (260KB PDF) and return it to our nearest office.
Checking your visa status online using VEVO
Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) is a secure and free service available anywhere, anytime.
VEVO allows you to check your visa details online and provides more information about your visa conditions and entitlements than a visa label. Information provided in VEVO includes:
- your visa type
- visa grant and expiry date
- period of stay
- visa grant number
- entries allowed
- all conditions that apply to your visa.
Visa holders are also able to send details of their visa conditions and entitlements to third parties such as employers and banks by email directly from the VEVO system. To be valid, VEVO emails must come directly from the VEVO system. This ensures the secure and accurate transfer of information to third parties who want to check your visa details.
Accessing VEVO is a two-step process.
For the first step, you will need to enter one of the following:
- Transaction Reference Number (TRN) – we give you a TRN if you applied for your visa online
- Visa Grant Number - you can find this on your visa grant notification letter
- Visa Evidence Number - you can find this on your existing visa label, if you have one
- Password - if you are in Australia contact 131 881 for a password to be created.
To finish, you must provide all of the following in the second part of the login process:
- your date of birth
- your passport or ImmiCard number
- country of passport.
Using VEVO is a secure and effective method to check the current status of your visa.
Travelling to Australia without a visa label
At the airport
Airlines that fly to Australia must provide details of all passengers to Australia's immigration and customs authorities ahead of their arrival in Australia.
When you check-in for your flight to Australia, airline staff will use your passport details to check if you have a valid visa to travel to Australia before allowing you to board the aircraft. This will usually only takes seconds to complete. This is completed electronically and there is no need for a visa label in your passport.
Feeder airlines which do not fly directly to Australia and do not have access to Australia's passenger processing system can contact the connecting airline with whom you are flying to Australia to request they conduct the check as a means of confirming your visa when you check-in.
Global acceptance of electronic visas
Most countries now accept travellers without an Australian visa label in their passport. The majority of people travelling to and residing in Australia do so without a visa label in their passport.
However, most countries have specific entry, exit and visa requirements. If you are transiting or exiting through another country, it is your responsibility to check with the relevant government authorities about their departure or transit requirements. For example some foreign governments recommend that you carry your visa grant notification letter and travel itinerary when you travel.
Information on local arrangements relating to visa labels is available from Our offices outside Australia.
Online options available
Online options are available should you want to provide details of your Australian visa to a third party, including foreign governments. You can:
- send details about your visa status directly from the VEVO system to any email address. See VEVO - A guide for visa holders (547KB PDF) for more information
- retrieve your visa details from VEVO on your mobile electronic device (if available) and show this information to foreign officials.
Important things to remember when planning your travel
- If you have been issued with a new passport since your Australian visa was granted, you must notify us of your change of passport details to ensure your record is up-to-date prior to travel. Failure to do so will delay your travel to Australia. Complete Form 929 Change of address and/or
passport details (260KB PDF) if your passport details have changed.
- Your visa grant notification letter contains important information that will help you to use VEVO. It is important that you retain this letter for your records.
- While travelling without an Australian visa label is widely accepted, we recommend you confirm other countries' entry, exit and visa requirements with relevant foreign government authorities before you travel.
A downloadable version of information relating to Travelling to Australia without a visa label (438KB PDF) is available.
Living in Australia without a visa label
Third party visa checks
A visa provides non-citizens with permission to travel to, enter, and remain in Australia. However, Australian visas are also commonly used to satisfy a number of other Australian third party requirements. This might include enrolling for government services such as Medicare or for evidence of identity checking purposes, for example, when applying for a driver's licence. An employer will also need to check if your visa allows you to work in Australia.
Depending on their specific requirements, third parties have alternatives available to them to check your Australian visa (as well as your foreign passport) and do not need to see a visa label.
VEVO is the primary online visa checking tool for most Australian third parties. There are more than 50 000 Australian organisations currently registered for VEVO.
With your permission, registered VEVO organisations, including employers, labour hire companies, roads and traffic authorities, education institutions, banks and other organisations can check your visa details online through VEVO.
Document Verification Service (DVS) is a national online system that allows organisations to compare a customer's identifying information with an existing government record. The DVS uses your passport details to check if you have a current Australian visa. The DVS checks if the details on your passport match current departmental visa records. Your visa details are linked to your passport so you should notify us of any change of passport details to ensure your record remains up-to-date. The DVS cannot check expired or invalid visas. This service is available to government and private sector organisations.
We also provide visa information to a number of Australian government agencies to support their eligibility and enrolment processes. For example, the Department of Human Services can access visa information as part of the Medicare enrolment process and the Australian Taxation Office's system checks your visa details when you apply online for a tax file number.
A downloadable version of information relating to Living in Australia without a visa label (475KB PDF) is available.
Important things you need to remember
- You need to be granted and hold an Australian visa to enter or stay in Australia, unless you are an Australian citizen.
- You do not need an Australian visa label in your passport to travel to, enter or stay in Australia. However, you should confirm other countries' entry, exit and visa requirements with relevant foreign government authorities before you travel.
- If you have been issued with a new passport since your Australian visa was granted, you must notify us of your change of passport details to ensure your record is up-to-date. This will assist with travel and checking your visa details online.
- Keep a copy of your visa grant notification letter in a safe place for your reference. This letter contains important information about your visa including your visa grant number (or transaction reference number if lodged online) which are needed for VEVO access. You might want to carry this letter with you when you travel.
- You can use VEVO for free to check your visa details.
- Employers, schools, banks and other organisations can check your entitlements online with your consent using VEVO. We may also share your visa information with some Australian Government agencies.
If you still need a visa label
You can only request and pay for a visa label if you have a current Australian visa. The cost for a visa label is called the Visa Evidence Charge.
Information for organisations undertaking third party checks
We are actively engaging with our stakeholders to reduce reliance on visa labels and to encourage the use of its online services that provide visa holders and stakeholders with real-time information about a person's visa status, conditions and entitlements. More information is available at Information for organisations - Visa labels and Visa Evidence Charge.
Frequently asked questions
For additional information see Do I need a visa label in my passport? and other related FAQs.