Australian Visa Applicants – Introduction of biometrics collection in South Africa

Australian Visa Applicants – Introduction of biometrics collection in South Africa


From Wednesday 8 June 2016, the current visa application lodgement process for applicants in South Africa applying for visas to Australia will change. All applicants, regardless of nationality, who are in South Africa at the time of making a visa application to enter Australia will be required to provide their biometrics along with their application, unless otherwise excluded or exempted from doing so under Australian Government policy. Those applicants exempted are detailed further below.

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 will 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 a letter requiring 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 fully or partially exempt from providing biometrics under Australian Government policy. Applicants fully exempt from providing biometrics include diplomatic representatives and their dependants, and government officials acting as a representative of a foreign government. Applicants who may be partially exempt from biometric collection 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.

We would appreciate your assistance in helping promote this new requirement for applicants seeking a visa to Australia. Should there be any questions from your clients, please direct them to Australian High Commission Pretoria.


Kind Regards

Department of Immigration and Border Protection
Australian High Commission
Pretoria, South Africa