It’s that time of year again and Santa Claus is coming to town. According to his well-documented flight plan, he will start his Christmas journey at the International Date Line visiting the South Pacific islands, then New Zealand and then Australia.

This has sparked an ongoing conversation in our office – what visa will Santa be entering Australia on?

First we needed to gather the relevant information to be able to assess his options:

Passport Details: Santa’s country of birth is not clear – some say Netherlands, while others say Germany. His current residence of the North Pole does not technically sit within any country as it sits in International Waters. The closest land is a Canadian territory, followed by Greenland. However, Russia, Denmark and Canada have all staked claims at some point or another. It’s also debatable whether Santa Claus is in fact his legal name, given that he has multiple aliases such as St Nicholas and Father Christmas. We’d need to see the passport to be sure, but for the purposes of this assessment we are going with Santa Claus and The Netherlands.

Age: Santa is believed to have been born in the year 270AD, so he is estimated to be around 1,749 years old.

Family Composition: Santa is married to Mrs Claus. Rumours that he has been caught kissing Mummy under the Christmas tree appear to have not affected his marriage. He is also believed to have grown up children and is thought to have adopted some elves along the way as well. The family will not be travelling with him for the purposes of this trip.

Health: Given his age Santa seems to be in pretty good condition. Apparently he does tend to overindulge on the cookies and milk that kids leave out for him, which may result in a future burden on the healthcare system at some stage. We’ll let this one slide as long as he has health insurance.

Character Issues: Where do we start here? The list of possible crimes is long: break and enter, trespass, exploitation of elf labour, flying without a pilot’s licence in restricted air space, and entering countries without a valid visa. We are going to need to see the Police Clearances… for ALL of the aliases.


So what visa for Santa:

Working Holiday? No, although citizens of the Netherlands do qualify for Working Holiday visas, Santa is well above the upper age limit of 30 years old.

Family based visas? No, no member of Santa’s family is an Australian citizen so this is not available to him.

Temporary Skills Shortage Visa or an Employer Sponsored Visa? No, while Santa has extensive experience in his field, his occupation does not appear on the Short Term or Medium Term Skilled Occupation Lists. He would also struggled to find an Employer willing to take him on given that he really only works for one day a year.

Visitor Visa? Santa is not only going to be here for tourism purposes or business meetings, so we’d have to pick the right stream. The Business Visitor stream allows the applicant to make a short visit for business visitor reasons, but they can’t work or sell goods or services. Since he is officially working, the Visitor Visa may not be the most appropriate.

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) might be the best option for Santa since he will only need to be in Australia for less than a day, and the work he is carrying out is definitely considered highly specialised.

If Santa Claus wanted to stay in Australia on a permanent basis, he could also consider a Distinguished Talent Visa since he can be of any age for this visa, and he is internationally recognised as having superior abilities in his field.

Problem solved. Now about the reindeer entering Australia… that’s one for another time.