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The Australian Embassy in Moscow no longer issue visa labels for most visa applications processed in Moscow. This arrangement is now in place for citizens of the following countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Australia’s modern electronic visa record system does not require you to have a visa label placed in your passport to confirm your immigration status and entitlements in Australia. When you check in to fly to Australia, airline staff will use your passport to electronically confirm that you have authority to travel to Australia prior to boarding the aircraft. This may be done at your point of origin or at your transit destination.
For your reference, you will receive your visa details via a Visa Grant Notice, which will be sent to you by email (if you have provided an email address in your application form) or by mail for reference. Visa holders can check their visa details by using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system or the myVEVO mobile app.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why go label free?
A large number of non-citizens travelling to Australia already travel to Australia without the need for a visa label in their passport. It means that visa applicants will be notified immediately after grant of a visa decision. This will particularly benefit applicants travelling to Australia within short time frames and they will be notified as soon as a visa has been issued. It also means that most applicants no longer have to provide their original passport to the Australian Embassy in Moscow in order to receive a visa. This is of great benefit to applicants who reside long distances from Moscow and eliminates the costs and time associated with mailing passports or travelling to Moscow.
Do I still need a passport and visa to travel to Australia?
Yes. As previously, you must still apply for a visa to Australia. The only difference is that applicants will no longer be required to submit their original passports with their visa application. A visa will instead be linked to the applicant’s passport number through our computer systems. Visa holders will then need to present this passport at the airport.
What documents will I have to submit instead of an applicant’s passport?
Instead of their original passports, applicants will be required to submit a photocopy of the bio-page of their valid international passport. Applicants submitting poor quality photocopies will be request to submit new copies which may delay visa processing. In deciding visitor visa applications, consideration is given to prior overseas travel. Therefore applicants should also submit a copy of any visas issued by other countries with their applications.
How will I be notified of a visa decision?
When a visa has been granted, applicants, authorised recipients and/or agents will be sent a letter by post or by email. The letter will contain all of the details of the visa and we recommend that visa holders print out the letter to carry it with them when travelling. To obtain the maximum benefit of label free visa processing it is strongly recommended that an email address for correspondence be included in all visa applications as this will enable applicants to be notified immediately following visa grant.
What if I submit my passport with my visa application after the introduction of label free?
The passport will be returned without a visa label. Applicants will be provided instead with a visa grant notice. The visa grant notice will be returned with the passport. This will increase the time taken to notify an applicant of a visa decision.
Will I have any problems departing my country without a visa label for Australia?
It is very unlikely that visa holders will have trouble departing their country without a visa label in their passports. Should the airline be unable to issue you with a boarding pass at your point of origin, then clearance to board your flight to Australia may be provided to you at your transit destination.
What if I get a new passport?
If your label-free visa is still valid and you obtain a new passport, you will need to notify an office of the Department of Home Affairs, to request that the visa in your old passport be transferred to your new passport. Visa holders who obtain a new passport and seek to enter Australia on a label-free visa issued to their old passport will experience difficulties at check in.
Do I need to always carry the label free visa letter?
No. Airlines will check a visa holder’s visa status at their last point of departure before Australia. That said, check-in staff at some airports may have some concerns about a visa holder’s right to enter Australia. It is therefore preferable while airline staff get used to label free travel to Australia, that you present your label free letter at check-in.
Can I transit through a third country with a label-free visa in my passport?
Generally, yes. However, in some cases, you may may require a visa label to transit through a third country, in which case you will need to submit your passport to the Embassy after you have received notification of the grant of your visa. It is the responsibility of visa holders to check with the authorities of the country through which they are transiting about the transit requirements for that country.
Will airport staff know about label free visa processing?
Yes. Information will be provided to airport staff to assist them in understanding that people travelling to Australia may not have an Australian visa label in their passport. Airport staff will also receive training on the implementation of label free visa processing.
If I have work rights attached to my visa, how will employees know that I can work in Australia?
If a visa holder has work rights attached to their visa, Australian employers, and government agencies in Australia can check visa details and entitlements by using the Department of Home Affairs' online Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service. VEVO is a free online facility that allows a visa holder or organisations to check the visa entitlements of a visa holder. There are over 18,000 registered organisations using VEVO. Users include employers, Commonwealth and State government agencies, education providers and financial institutions.
Protect Yourself from Fraud
Applicants lodging through an agent or other third party should ensure they receive an official white receipt copy as evidence that their application has been lodged. All applicants will receive a formal decision letter from the Australian Embassy in Moscow regardless of whether their application is granted or refused.