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Protocol Guidelines

4.2 Visas

All foreign officials posted to Australia and their dependants must hold valid visas.

Members of the diplomatic and consular corps and the staff of some international organisations are granted diplomatic (subclass 995) visas, for an initial term of up to four years. These visas have a multiple-entry provision, allowing the holder to enter and leave Australia without limitation until the 'must not arrive after' date noted in the visa grant notice. Diplomatic visas cease to be valid when an official's posting is completed, regardless of the date shown on the visa grant notice.

See the table in section 4.6 for information on who may be eligible for diplomatic visas.

Visas are provided to foreign officials and their dependants on the understanding that staff are rotated regularly and not posted indefinitely. Requests for new visas after the initial visa's validity expires are considered on a case-by-case basis up to a maximum of ten years. Visa renewals should be requested by the mission or post four weeks before the 'must not arrive after' date.

Children born to foreign officials during their posting in Australia must obtain an Australian visa. The birth must be registered with an Australian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages; a copy of the birth certificate and a colour copy of the personal data page in the child's passport should then be sent to Protocol Branch with a request for a visa.

Missions, posts and international organisations are required to inform Protocol Branch if an official's dependants leave the household, so that their diplomatic visas can be ceased.

No one is permitted to have more than one Australian visa, even if they have multiple passports. If foreign officials or their family members obtain other visas during their posting to Australia, these will cancel the original visas and affect their accreditation.

Last Updated: 2 November 2017
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