Australian High Commission
Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, eSwatini

Visas and Migration

Visas and Migration  

Welcome to the Australian Immigration Office at the Australian High Commission, Pretoria. We are an overseas office of the Australian Department of Home Affairs. Our office  provides visa services to residents of South Africa and other countries in Southern and Western Africa. To see who is responsible for processing visa from your country of usual residence see: Country coverage - Africa 

Citizenship by Descent applications

From 15 February 2021, new Citizenship by descent applications lodged outside Australia will be processed in Australia instead of the Australian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa. For Information on eligibility and how to apply for Australian citizenship, see: Become an Australian citizen

Global Service Centre (GSC)

From 1 March 2021, the Australian High Commission is unable to provide responses on visa, citizenship or customs enquiries. Visit the Department of Home Affairs website at or call the Home Affairs Global Service Centre on +61 2 6196 0196, open Monday to Friday 0900 to 1700 (local time).

Important information on travel to Australia

Australia has strict travel restrictions in place to protect the health of the Australia community.

Unless you are travelling to Australia as part of the New Zealand safe travel zone, you must have an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions before you travel. You may also be required to enter quarantine after you have arrived in Australia.

Check the Department of Home Affairs COVID-19 website for up to date information on travel restrictions:


COVID-19 (Novel-Coronavirus) 

On 19 March 2020 Australia’s Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced the following:

“Australia is closing its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents. The entry ban takes effect from 9pm AEDT Friday, 20 March 2020, with exemptions only for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family, including spouses, legal guardians and dependants. New Zealand citizens who live in Australia as Australian residents are also exempt, as are New Zealanders transiting to New Zealand. Exemptions for Pacific Islanders transiting to their home countries will continue to apply. Australian citizens and permanent residents and those exempt from our entry restrictions will continue to be subject to a strict 14 days self-isolation. We also strongly urge Australians looking to return home to do so as soon as possible.”

The Department of Home Affairs Covid-19 page has further information on restrictions and exemptions, including:

·         Definitions of immediate family members

·         Visa holders who are not able to enter Australia before the required entry date

·         Current visa processing arrangements

·         Students in Australia

·        Quarantine requirements for arrivals to Australia

We strongly advise applicants to consult the Home Affairs website for the most up-to-date advice to assist you in making a decision about possible travel to Australia. Information will be updated regularly.

We also suggest that you consider subscribing to Smart Traveller which has the latest information and advice for safe travel overseas.

The Department of Health also has a page with links to COVID-19 related information as well as information for international travellers.

Skilled Migration: please use this link for information on first entry to Australia following the grant of your visa.


Biometrics Collection

From 19 October 2020, the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) will gradually resume biometrics collection services at the existing biometrics collection locations.

The resumption of biometrics collection services through the Australian Visa Application Centres (AVACs) and Australian Biometrics Collection Centres (ABCCs) will be dependent on in-country COVID-19 restrictions.

You can use your existing Requirement to provide personal identifiers (biometrics) letter to book and attend a biometrics collection appointment. If you have applied for your visa online, a copy of this letter is available in your ImmiAccount.

You must contact your local AVAC or ABCC to arrange an appointment. You can check the Department’s website for updated information on AVACs and ABCCs including contact information and opening times in your country see: Offices Outside Australia  

The Department is aware that you may not be able to provide biometrics in certain locations due to in-country COVID-19 restrictions. You do need to contact the Department if:

·         the collection centre in your area being temporarily closed, or

·         lock-downs in your area that prevent you from travelling to a collection centre.

If you are unable to meet the the 14 day mandatory time period to undertake the biometric collection, please contact us to seek an extension by sending a request through the Australian Immigration Enquiry Form Australian Immigration Enquiry Form 



Applicants need to be fully aware of the biometrics requirement. 

The auto generated request letters inform clients that biometrics must be collected within 14 days

This is a legislative requirement and failure to provide biometrics within that time frame may lead to a refusal.  The request letter also informs applicants that an extension can be granted if you are not able to make an appointment within the 14 days.  It is your responsibility to keep us informed should you not be able to make an appointment with VFS Global.  Once you have informed us of your appointment date we can update your details and issue a new request letter.

Visa Application Process

Visa Lodgement Advice 

We would like to provide some useful information to applicants to ensure that our requirements are clear, and we are able to focus on finalising applications in an efficient and timely manner.  Please take note of the following points.

Lodge a complete application.  Processing officers are able to make a decision on an application at first sight.  If they open an incomplete application they may refuse the application.  The check lists provide details of the documentation we require.

Complete biometrics within the time frames.  We recognise that as the peak season builds up the biometric appointments will also fill up quickly.  If you can only make an appointment outside of the permitted time frame let us know.  We can make a case note and arrange for a new letter to be sent out.  If you don’t provide biometrics within 14 days (or otherwise negotiated) we will refuse your application.

Lodge early.  The earlier you lodge the application, the more time we have to process and less stress for you. We will regularly update processing times on Twitter and Facebook.  Please check these time frames for realistic expectations on when a decision will be made.  The earlier an applicant lodges, the sooner a finalisation can be made, enabling the applicant to then purchase their flight tickets. 

No expedited processing.  Only a documented medical emergency will be considered for urgent processing.  All other applications will be assessed on a lodgement date basis.  Flight specials will not be considered an urgent or compassionate reason to jump the processing queue.

Requirements for Children.  Please remind applicants of the requirements for travelling children as soon as enquiries are made.   Ensure Form 1229 is signed by both parents and attached, along with copies of IDs or passports. 


You should lodge complete visa applications, including required documentation supporting your application and providing biometrics. We use the information you provide to make a determination on whether we believe you are a genuine visa applicant. It is in your interest to provide as much information as possible with your application, as your visa application may be REFUSED if you do not substantiate your circumstances. Document Checklists are available for each visa type when using the Australian Government’s Visa Finder tool.

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

Important News

The Australian Government has announced it will enhance the way visa and citizenship services are delivered using the latest digital technologies. For more information visit the Department of Home Affairs' website.


For information on topics not featured on this site, please visit the Department’s main website at: