What is an entertainment visa?

If you intend to engage an international act or individual talent to work in the entertainment industry in Australia, you will need to obtain an Entertainment Visa.

If you intend to engage an international act or individual talent to work in the entertainment industry in Australia, you will need to obtain an Entertainment Visa for them.

You will need to obtain an Entertainment Visa regardless of whether the person is a performer, a production crew member or support staff (i.e. part of the entourage). But what exactly is an Entertainment Visa and how do you get one to work in the entertainment industry in Australia?

What is an Entertainment Visa?

A visa is a formal permission for a non-Australian to travel to and enter Australia.  However, not all visas are equal!  The kinds of activities a non-Australian can lawfully undertake once in Australia will depend on the type, category and subclass of visa they hold.  

An Entertainment Visa in Australia is the Temporary Activity (408) Visa (Entertainment Activities stream).

What Can a 408 Temporary Activity (Entertainment) Visa Holder Do?

Types of activities an Australian Entertainment Visa holder can undertake while in Australia include:

  • Performing or appearing in a film or television production
  • Performing other than in film or television production

This could include performing in a live theatre production, at a concert or music festival or even undertaking a stand-up comedy tour!

  • Working in a production role other than as a performer

Lighting designer? Sound engineer? Guitar tech? Production Manager? Auto-tune guy? You’re covered! (Just so long as you don’t perform!)

  • Working as support staff for an entertainer or group of entertainers

Part of an entourage? This is for your personal assistants, personal trainers, chefs, make-up artists, stylists and whoever else might be part of your posse.

  • Working on a documentary or commercial for an overseas market

This covers documentary presenters and international celebrities appearing in commercials.

How Long Can a 408 Temporary Activity (Entertainment) Visa Holder Stay in Australia?

If you are granted an Entertainment Visa, your visa grant notification will specify exactly how long you may stay in Australia – generally up to a maximum of 2 years.  The Department of Home Affairs will determine the length of the visa based on the activity you are approved to undertake.

Who Shouldn’t Apply for an Entertainment Visa?

If you fall into one of the following categories, you may need to consider applying for a different visa or a different Temporary Activity visa:

  • Personnel undertaking promotional activities or events but not performing
  • Visual artists
  • Authors presenting their work at a writer’s festival
  • Dance choreographers
  • Reality show contestants not receiving a salary
  • Competitors in dance, music or online gaming competitions

How Much Does an Entertainment Visa Cost?

Entertainment visas cost from AUD$310 per applicant as at 1 July 2020.

Other Things to Consider

  • Applicants who apply for an Entertainment Visa outside of Australia and intend to stay for less than 3 months need a supporter.
  • Applicants who apply within Australia or who apply outside of Australia but intend to stay for more than 3 months need a sponsor.
  • Applicants may need to consult with Australian unions such as the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance or the Musician’s Union of Australia prior to applying for a visa.
  • Applicants must pass the character requirements set out in section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

Processing Times

Entertainment Visa applications can take around 3 months to process, although processing times do vary – if you’re trying to get one sooner, then you should definitely engage the assistance of a entertainment industry migration agent and/or Entertainment Lawyer!

Where an applicant has been charged or convicted of a criminal offence, the application may be referred to the Visa Applicant Character Consideration Unit (VACCU) which can increase processing times even further.

Remember, it’s always best to submit Australian Entertainment Visa applications as soon as possible.

Need Assistance?

We have Entertainment Visa specialists who can assist you with your Entertainment Visa needs. If you need assistance with an Entertainment Visa matter, get in touch or email us at info@creativelawyers.com.au.

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