If you want to travel to Australia, whether on vacation or to visit friends or family, you need a tourist visa. The Australian Department of Home Affairs calls these “visitor” visas. To be eligible for any visitor visa, you must be a genuine visitor (not intending to stay there indefinitely) and have enough money to support yourself throughout your entire stay and to return home. There are a few common types of visitor visas (called “streams”) that have additional eligibility requirements. You can get a visitor visa online or at an Australian embassy or consulate
Using an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) Visa
1-Review the ETA visa criteria to make sure it meets your needs. An ETA allows you to travel to Australia as a tourist, to visit family or friends, or to conduct certain business activities. As a business visitor, you can do things like negotiate contracts, make business inquiries, or take part in a conference or seminar (although you can’t get paid for your contribution to any conference or seminar).
The ETA is a multiple-entry visa, which means you can enter and leave Australia as often as you want during the 12 months your ETA is valid. However, you can’t stay for more than 3 months at a time. You also can’t extend an ETA if it expires while you’re in Australia. If you plan to stay in Australia for more than 3 months, you’ll have to apply for a different type of visa.
You can’t include family on an ETA application. Each person who is traveling must have their own ETA.
2-Determine whether you’re eligible for an ETA visa. Citizens of most European, Asian, and North American countries can travel to Australia with an ETA visa. You must also have a clean criminal record and be in relatively good health. You can confirm you have an eligible passport at https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/electronic-travel-authority-601#Eligibility.
If you have been convicted of a crime and served more than 12 months in prison, you are not eligible for an ETA. You may be eligible for a visitor’s visa. You will need to provide information about your criminal background.
To meet Australia’s health requirement for an ETA, you must certify that you are not a threat to public health and you don’t have an illness or condition that would place a significant demand on healthcare or community services in Australia during your stay.
3-Apply online through the ETA website. If you are a citizen of Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, or the United States, you can apply for the ETA passport online. In other countries, you can apply through a travel agent or at an airline service provider. Travel agents and airline service providers may charge their own fees, which vary widely.
Go to https://www.eta.homeaffairs.gov.au/ETAS3/etas to complete your application online. An ETA is free, although you will have to pay a service charge of AUD 20 to submit your application online.
The ETA application is relatively brief and shouldn’t take you longer than 10 or 15 minutes to fill out. Have your passport with you, because you’ll have to provide your passport number, the date it was issued, and the date it expires.
Tip: Unlike other visitor visas, the ETA does not require you to submit any documents for verification of identity. However, if the Australian Department of Home Affairs is unable to verify your identity based on the information you provided, you may be asked to submit documentation or apply for another type of visa.
4-Remain outside Australia if you were outside Australia when you applied. You can apply for an ETA outside Australia or at immigration clearance within Australia. If you applied from outside of Australia, you cannot enter Australia until your visa is granted.
If you apply from immigration clearance, you will have to remain in immigration clearance (or in the airport) until your visa is granted. Depending on how long it takes the Department of Home Affairs to make a decision on your application, these could be less than ideal circumstances. Generally, it’s best to apply for an ETA before you travel.
5-Get a decision on your application. You will receive an email from the Australian Department of Home Affairs when a decision is made. Typically, you’ll find out within 24 hours if your visa has been granted. Save the email and keep it with you for the duration of your stay in Australia.
In some situations, you may get a decision in less than an hour. However, it may take several days if the Department of Home Affairs needs additional documents to verify your information, or if you don’t fill out the form correctly.
If you applied online and your ETA isn’t granted, the service charge will be refunded.
Entering Australia as an eVisitor
1-Review what travel the eVisitor visa covers. You can use the eVisitor visa if you’re traveling to Australia as a tourist, to visit friends or family, to study or train, or to conduct business activities. The visa is valid for 12 months and you can enter and leave Australia as often as you want during that time. However, you can only stay in Australia for 3 months at a time.
As a business visitor, you can’t work for an Australian company or sell goods and services to the public while on an eVisitor visa.
You can’t extend an eVisitor visa if it expires while you’re in Australia. If you intend to stay in Australia for more than 3 months, you’ll need a different type of visa.
You also can’t include family members on your eVisitor visa, even if they’re included on your passport. Everyone traveling to Australia must have a separate visa.
2-Meet the criteria for eligibility. The eVisitor visa is only available for citizens of European countries. You must have a valid passport – non-citizen passports or other travel documents are not eligible. While British citizens are eligible, those with British National Overseas, British Overseas Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British Protected Person, or British Subject passports are not.
In addition to having an eligible passport, you also must have a clean criminal record and not present a public health hazard to the people of Australia. If you have a criminal conviction in any country, apply for a visitor’s visa instead.
3-Create an account on the ImmiAccount website to apply online. Go to https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Then click the button that says “Create ImmiAccount.” This account allows you to access online services provided by the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
You must have a valid email address to use the ImmiAccount website. You can create your own username and password. Make sure your password is secure since your visa application contains private identification information.
Tip: You can also apply with a paper application by visiting the Australian embassy or consulate nearest you. However, you’ll typically get a decision more quickly if you apply online.
4-Complete your application. Log into ImmiAccount and select “New Application.” From there, click on the eVisitor application from the list of choices. Once you read and agree to the terms and conditions, you can begin your application.
You have the option to save your application and finish it later. It’s a good idea to save periodically so you don’t have to worry about losing information if something happens.
5-Attach all required documents. Your application will tell you what documents are needed to support the information you provided. If you don’t have digital copies already, you can scan paper documents to include with your application.
The website accepts most common file formats, including .doc, .docx, .txt, and .pdf. If you upload PDFs, make sure they’re not encrypted.
You can submit up to 60 documents if necessary to support your application. Most documents can have a file size of up to 5MB. Identity documents can have a file size of up to 500KB each.
Tip: Once you attach your documents, you have 30 days to submit your application. After that, ImmiAccount will delete your documents and you’ll have to attach them again.
6-Submit your application. Once you’ve completed your application, its status will read “Ready to submit.” Review your application carefully to make sure there aren’t any typos or errors and you didn’t leave anything out. Then click on “Submit Application.”
There are no fees to apply for an eVisitor visa, either online or using a paper application.
You can use your ImmiAccount to check the status of your application, as well as update your application if any of the information you provided changes while you’re waiting for a decision.
7-Provide biometrics if required. The Australian Department of Home Affairs will contact you if you need to provide biometrics for your visa application. Go to an Australian Visa Application Center (AVAC) or an Australian Biometrics Collection Center (ABCC) in your home country to have your photo taken and your fingerprints collected.
To find the nearest AVAC or ABCC, go to https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/contact-us/offices-and-locations/offices-outside-australia and select the name of your home country from the drop-down menu.
- You may have to wait longer if the Department needs more information or documents from you, or if your identity is difficult to verify.
- If your eVisitor visa was not granted, you’ll receive a notification explaining why. That notification will give you instructions on how you can get a review of that decision.
Applying for a Visitor’s Visa
1-Choose a visitor’s visa if you are not eligible for an eVisitor or ETA visa. Even if you are not eligible for an ETA or eVisitor visa, you may still be able to visit Australia. The regular visitor’s visa is more expensive than either the ETA or the eVisitor and takes longer to process.
For example, if you have a past criminal conviction, you are not eligible for an ETA or eVisitor visa, even if you have an eligible passport. However, you could still apply for a visitor’s visa.
You still would not be eligible for a visitor’s visa if you have a substantial criminal history, have been convicted of escaping immigration detention, of convicted of committing a separate crime while in immigration detention.
Applicants for visitor’s visas must meet the basic health requirements, take a medical exam, and have their own medical insurance to cover them for the duration of their trip to Australia.
Tip: Because the ETA and eVisitor visas only allow you to stay in Australia for up to 3 months at a time, a visitor’s visa is also appropriate if you want to stay for a longer period of time. A visitor’s visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to 12 months.
2-Gather the required documents. You will need documents to verify your identity as well as documents to support your claim that you are a genuine temporary visitor. These documents could include bank statements showing that you have enough money to stay and leave Australia, a letter from your employer, or proof that you own a home or other major assets in your home country. You also must provide character documents, such as a police report or military service record.
If you are going to visit friends or family in Australia, they can write a letter explaining how long you’ll be staying and if you’ll be staying with them. This can help support your claim that you are a temporary visitor. However, you don’t need a sponsor to get a visitor’s visa for Australia.
3-Create an ImmiAccount if you want to apply online. Go to https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login and scroll down to create an account. From your ImmiAccount, you can complete and submit your visa application digitally.
You can attach digital copies of your supporting documents to your application. If you have paper documents, you can either scan them and attach them digitally or make arrangements to take them to the nearest Australian embassy or consulate.
4-Complete Form 1419 if you want to submit a paper application. If you don’t have consistent internet access, you can fill out a paper application and submit it to the nearest Australian Visa Office. Your application must be filled out in English, either typed or written in block letters with a blue or black pen.
You can download a copy of the visa application at https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/form-listing/forms/1419.pdf.
5-Submit your application and supporting documents. Once you’ve completed your application, submit it to the Australian Department of Home Affairs along with your supporting documents and application fee. As of 2019, a visitor’s visa costs AUD 140.
You can pay your fees online using a major credit card, PayPal, UnionPay, or BPAY. If you’re mailing in a paper application, you must pay your fees through ImmiAccount before you submit your application. Your application will not be processed until your fees are received.
If you want to submit a paper application, you can do so either through the mail or in person at the Australian Visa Office nearest you. To get an address and contact information for the office in your country, go to https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/contact-us/offices-and-locations/offices-outside-australia and select the name of your country from the drop-down menu.
6-Complete your health examination if necessary. Not all visitor’s visa applicants need a health examination. However, you may need one depending on the country you’re applying from, how long you plan to stay in Australia, and what you plan to do there. If a health examination is required, you’ll get a HAP ID that you must use when you arrange your examination.
If you apply online, you can check your health assessment on ImmiAccount to determine if you need a health examination. If you do, there will be a health examinations link under your health assessment.
If you apply with a paper application, your case officer will contact you with information on how to complete your medical exams.
Tip: You may also be asked to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photo of yourself). The Department of Home Affairs will notify you if this is necessary. Biometrics are collected at the Australian Visa Application Center (AVAC) or an Australian Biometrics Collection