This is the final week of the travel season, as the government sets to introduce rules to tighten restrictions on air travel to Australia.
Auckland Airport and Brisbane Airport will close, while Adelaide Airport will remain open.
The Federal Government also announced it will extend the validity of passports and visa holders’ cards until March.
Consequences of the changes include a three-day extension of the validity period of passport holders’ and visa holder’s cards until February 20, 2018, as well as a reduction in the amount of stamp duty that can be charged.
Under the new rules, a visa holder will be required to declare any changes to their visa status within 30 days of the date of the change, meaning that the Australian government could end up being forced to take in people who have left the country.
Passport holders’ card holders will also have to report changes in their visa holder status within 10 days of notification.
In total, the changes will affect around 11 million people in Australia.
The changes are expected to be introduced by the end of next month.
While the new changes to passport and visa-holding cards are likely to make a difference to some people, there is also a greater likelihood of people staying home because they do not want to deal with the additional paperwork, the Government said.
“These rules will be a great relief for people who are struggling to keep their passports, but they will have a significant impact on many others,” Transport Minister Simon Birmingham said.
The Government is taking a “bold, hard-headed approach” to this, with the aim of bringing people together in a way that will help them make informed decisions, he said.
“We’re confident that this tough-minded approach will deliver a better outcome for people’s lives.”
What you need to know about passport holders and visa cardsUnder the changes, passports and Visa-holding Cards will be valid for up to six months after being issued, with travel permits for six months.
It will be possible for anyone with a valid passport to enter Australia on a visa card, provided they are over 18.
Any person who has a valid visa card but who does not wish to travel to the United States or another country will be able to do so under the new rule.
Other changes will see airlines, train operators, and the Australian Government reduce the amount they charge stamp duty on all overseas journeys.
New rules also mean that travellers who have applied for a visa on the previous calendar year will not be required renewing their visa cards.
All Australian passport holders who apply for a new visa within two months of their first travel date will be automatically issued a new card with a different visa type.
Currently, those applying for a second passport will be issued a Visa-on-File Card.
As part of the new measures, a new online application form will be created to help people decide if they need to apply for the new visa or card.
Once an application has been processed, a letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade will be sent to the applicant, asking for a copy of their passport or visa.
Those applying for the Visa-On-File card will also be required by February 2018 to report any changes in status.
They will be also required to provide their full name and address and to provide proof of any travel plans they have in place, as part of a ‘travel information package’.
Under this package, the Minister will send a letter to the person stating: “Your passport will not expire on the date on which you make your travel application”.
“If you change your travel plans, the visa will expire on that date.
If you do not have any plans to travel, the Visa will expire six months from the date you first travel.”
The Minister will then notify the applicant of the extension of their visa, stating:”Your travel plans will now be available on your Visa card and it will be effective immediately.”
Applicants who have been issued with a Visa will be allowed to re-apply for a Visa card once they have received their letter from their Minister.
Applicant who have not been issued a visa but have been travelling in the United Kingdom or the European Union will be given an extension of four months until February 2019.
For those who are currently travelling in these countries, they will be granted an extension until January 2019, but this can only be extended if they do one of the following: (i) apply for an extension for a period of three months from their last departure date in the UK, (ii) apply to renew their passport for a further six months, (iii) re-enter Australia, or (iv) return to the UK.
Australia will also temporarily suspend its visa waiver scheme for people coming from other countries.
What you should know about travel to and from AustraliaAuckland Air