From Wednesday 8 June 2016, the visa application lodgement process for applicants in South Africa applying for visas to Australia has changed. All applicants, regardless of nationality, who are in South Africa at the time of making a visa application to enter Australia are required to provide their biometrics along with their application, unless otherwise excluded or exempted from doing so under Australian Government policy.
Biometric data is collected through a quick, discreet and a non-intrusive process that captures a facial image using a digital camera and a 10-digit fingerprint scan on a dry scanner machine. This process will be familiar to applicants who have travelled to other countries requiring biometric data collection. Australian visa applicants will need to attend in person any one of the four (4) Australian Visa Application Centres (AVACs) to provide their biometrics. These AVACs managed by the Australian Government’s Service Deliver Partner TLScontact, are located in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Applicants are still be able to lodge their visa application through any one of the AVACs located across South Africa, where they will also be able to provide biometrics at the same time. Alternatively, visa applicants who send their application by mail or lodge online will be sent an email requesting them to attend an AVAC to provide their biometrics. Applicants will need to take this letter with them to an AVAC when providing biometrics so the AVAC is able to match their application with the biometrics collected.
Some applicants may be partially exempt from biometric collection, but will still need to attend a Visa Application Centre to provide basic personal identifiers. These applicants include minors less than 5 years old (photo only required) and mentally or physically incapable persons (photo only required).
Currently, Australia is collecting biometric data from visa applicants in 33 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas and will continue to expand globally in the future. The collecting of biometrics from visa applicants will improve visa integrity, reduce identity fraud and improve security and safety for travellers and the Australian community.
For detailed information on travel to Australia, please refer to South Africa - Visa information and lodgement. Information on applying at any of the Australian Visa Application Centres in South Africa can be found at TLScontact. This website includes links to lodgement procedures, application checklists, the current visa application charges and process to provide biometrics.
For more information about Australia's biometric programme, please refer to: Biometrics Programme