Australia, Canada and New Zealand have plenty of differences. From national pastimes (one loves cricket, another ice hockey) to national animals (one has moose and the other has kiwis). Or from temperature extremes (the bone chilling Canadian -63 degrees and the Australian sweltering 53 degrees) to local slang (don’t forget your bathers in Australia and to say “chur” in New Zealand).
But, when it comes to filling out your visa application, they do share some similarities.
A valid passport
Let’s start with the obvious: you need to have a valid passport that’s not due to expire for at least six months.
You may be required to send your original passport with your application, or provide a certified copy. This means someone needs to witness your original documents and sign, stamp or endorse that the copies are true copies of the original documents. People who can certify copies must be authorised by law to take statutory declarations, like lawyers or court officials.
Evidence of good character
Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, you may need to prove that you’re of good character. This may take the form of a list of questions that you need to tick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to. These questions could include criminal convictions you may have or whether you’ve been involved in terrorist activities.
You’ll normally also need to provide a recent police certificate that shows whether you’ve got a criminal record. The police certificate should be less than six months old for NZ visas; less than twelve months old for Australia visas; and for Canada visas the police certificate requirement is dependent on the type of visa you are applying for.
You’ll need to allow time for this process – UK police certificates can take up to 10 working days and also incur costs that you’re responsible for covering. In the UK, police certificates are handled by ACRO.
Acceptable standard of health
You will need to prove that you have an acceptable standard of health – each country has different definitions of what this means.
Depending on which visa type you’re going for, you may also need to undertake medical tests. This is compulsory if you’re applying for permanent visas, but may also apply for some temporary visas too. These thorough medical checks may include:
- Full blood tests
- Urine tests
- Full family history
The medicals can only be performed by approved doctors, and when you provide results they should be as recent as possible. These tests can take time – not only in booking an appointment, but waiting for your results. They also cost money which you’ll need to pay.
Recent passport photos
For New Zealand and Canada visas, you’ll need to supply some recent passport photos with your application. They’ll need to comply with certain regulations, like size, background colour, and what you’re allowed to wear or not.
They may also need to be signed as a true likeness by a witness.
Recent passport photos are not required for Australia visa applications.
Specific policy requirements
There are plenty of different visa types for each country. However, regardless of the visa you apply for, there will be specific requirements you should be aware of. They could include having:
- A valid job offer
- Certain qualifications (which you’ll need to prove through university transcripts and school certificates)
- A certain amount of savings
- Key skills
- Family or partner sponsorship
Money for the fees
Whichever country and visa you apply for, there will be fees which you’ll need to pay. For an idea of costs, check out:
- The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s pricing estimator.
- The Government of Canada’s fee list.
- Immigration New Zealand’s fee calculator.
Most of all, you’re going to need patience. Applying for a visa can be a lengthy, and at times frustrating, process.
Keep reminding yourself why you’re doing this and hang in there.
Where to go for help
To help you through the visa processes, there are plenty of places you can go.
Each country’s immigration website
Australia, Canada and New Zealand all have very comprehensive websites full of information about the different types of visas they offer, plus the processes involved:
- The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada
- Immigration New Zealand
There are many migration experts who can share their experience and expertise to help you get a visa. If you’re considering living and working in Australia or New Zealand, Migration Planners could help.
Additionally, as of June 2015, licensed immigration advisers in New Zealand can now apply online on your behalf for certain types of visas. Using an online system could help to speed up the visa process. It also means it’s one less thing for you to worry about as the experts will handle your application for you.
If you are considering moving to Canada and want expert migration advice, see our list of Canadian preferred partners on our website.
Are you thinking about making the move?
Share any concerns or questions you may have by commenting below – we’ll see if we can help.