American citizens along with citizens of 8 other countries traveling to Australia are eligible to apply for an electronic travel authorization or ETA. There are several ways to apply for and obtain an ETA. It can be done online through Australia’s Online Visa website, airlines, travel agents, and Australian visa offices.
The Australian Home Office lists several types of visas that can be obtained depending upon the specific reasons a person has for traveling to the country. All foreigners traveling to Australia must meet certain requirements in order to be granted a visa. If you are applying for an ETA visa, you must be traveling specifically for tourism or business purposes.
To qualify for an ETA or other Australian visas, you must:
- They must have a passport that is valid for at least 3 months from the date when they arrive in Australia
- They must not be suffering from a disease or condition that may become a public health threat to the Australian population
- They must not be suffering from any disease or condition that will require costly health care or community services
- They must not need health or services that will deny Australians and permanent residents of the same
- They must not have a criminal record and must not have served cumulative jailtime of more than 12 months
- They must have a good character that can be proven through official documents
You may be required to submit yourself to medical examinations to ensure compliance with Australia’s health requirements needed for entry into the country. You may also be asked to provide documentation as proof of your good conduct, this can include a letter from an employer or a police certificate (also called a penal clearance certificate). If it is perceived that you may be a risk to the Australian public because of your criminal record, your visa application will be rejected by the Australian Home Office.
Do U.S. Citizens Need a Visa for Australia?
As a U.S. citizen you will be required to obtain an electronic travel authorization or ETA in order to be allowed entry into Australia. The process of applying for an ETA is very simple and can be completed online.
The ETA allows you to stay in Australia for 3, 6 or 12 months depending on the duration for which you applied and were approved for on your ETA. You can use your ETA for multiple entries into Australia as long as your visa and passport are still valid during each entry.
How Long Does It Take to Get the ETA?
Once you submit your application for an ETA, it can take up to 24 hours for you to receive it. It may take longer than that if there is any additional processing or paperwork required on your application or if you need to undergo a medical exam. You can always check the status of your application online through the Australian Home Office’s website.
How Do I Apply for an Australian Visa from the USA?
In order to apply for an Australian ETA online, you need to visit the Australian ETA website. When you go to the main page, you will see a green button towards the center that says, ‘Australian Visa Application’. Click on that and it will take you to a page where you will have to provide your personal and passport information. Be as accurate as possible when filling out the information, as any discrepancy discovered between the information you provide on the form and your passport can render your visa invalid.
You may even be barred from entry to Australia if that is the case. Next, you will be asked to provide a valid email address, phone number, and credit/debit card information. Your credit/debit card will be charged a processing fee for the application that you submit.
Once your application has been submitted, it will be processed by the Australian Home Office. If you are granted a visa, the ETA will be sent to you via email. You should keep an electronic copy on your handheld/mobile device and you should take a printout of the ETA with you to the airport. You will need to present it to the Australian Border Force along with your passport in order to gain entry into Australia.
When you are on your way to Australia, you will also be asked to complete an Incoming Passenger Card or IPC onboard the airplane, which will ask you among other things, your address and contacts in Australia. You will also be required to declare certain items and cash to customs before you land at the airport.
Once you are cleared by customs, your ETA will allow you to travel to and within Australia. It is valid for multiple entries into Australia. However, if your passport expires whilst you are in Australia, your ETA will become invalid and you will not be able to renew it from within Australia. You will have to leave the country at that point.
Working in Australia whilst on an ETA visa is strictly prohibited and you are also required to let the Australian Home Office know if your phone number or email address change whilst you are in Australia.