#WorldGrooveOnTheRoad: Is getting a Travel Visa to Australia difficult?

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The voice behind Capital FM’s The World Groove Show, which airs Saturdays from 7pm to 9pm on 98.4FM, Kui Gitei, is currently on the road in Australia and New Zealand. As a special correspondent for Capital Lifestyle, Kui, will be sharing her experience with us, exclusively.

 

By Kui Gitei of The World Groove Show

A lot comes to mind when you think of Australia. From one of the world’s most distinct structures (The Sydney Opera House), to some of Mother Nature’s finest work (The Great Barrier Reef, The Outback etc.) and, if you grew up in the 90s, the TV show Neighbours.

Australia is one of those places I’ve always been curious about, and the opportunity to visit comes at a time when I really needed a break from the monotony of a regular eight to five job.

I  assumed the whole process of getting there would be rather tedious, but it actually wasn’t. You’re required to apply for the travel visa online via http://kenya.embassy.gov.au/nair/visaapplication.html, and upon filling in your details, an appointment date for the visa interview will be sent to you.

The interviews are done at the Australia Visa Centre located at Nairobi’s Nine West Building in Westlands (the UK and Belgium visa interviews are done there as well). It cost me Ksh 15,200 for a business visa, and it takes an average of 28 days to receive a response (if granted, the visa is sent online, and you are allowed to appeal if the visa is not). You also need a Yellow Fever Certificate.

There are no direct flights from Kenya to Australia, but you can connect from many major hubs across the world. I made the connection from Dubai to Perth, a 10 hour flight across the Indian Ocean. The Australian Customs and Border Control Office is very particular about what you can bring into the country; and failure to declare food, grain or medicine can attract a fine of about 400 AUD. We Kenyans love to travel with our homegrown, world-famous tea leaves to bequeath our hosts as gifts, which cost me about an extra hour of thorough inspection at customs.

The Australians are however very friendly and generally laid back, and I can’t wait to see what Aussie has to offer!

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