6 June 2011, Male;Government of Australia has decided to simplify the tourist visa process for citizens of the Maldives starting from 1st of July 2011. It was informed in a letter send to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H. E. Mr. Ahmed Naseem by the Australian High Commissioner to the Maldives, H. E. Ms. Kathy Klugman.



From 1st of July, citizens of the Maldives will be able to lodge applications for tourist visas electronically. The system is easy to use through a gateway available on the Australian Department of Immigration's website.

According to Australia there are many benefits to the "e-visa" system, known as e676. These include 24 hour, 7 days a week accessibility, no paper form requirement, automatic grant in some cases and email notification of outcome. Most importantly for Maldivians, the visa is label free so there will no longer be a requirement for applicants to send their passports to the Australian High Commission in Colombo.

Tourist visas may be automatically granted where the stay period requested is three months or less and where other requirements, such as health and character, are met. Visas will be valid for travel to Australia for a stay of up to three months, with a multiple entry capability and a validity extending for twelve months.

The officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including staff of the Maldives High Commission in Colombo will be working with the staff of the Immigration Section of the Australian High Commission in Colombo to ensure the successful implementation of e676 for the Maldives. Ministry of Foreign Affairs is always trying to ease the visa procedures for Maldivian citizens.

ENDS.