Australian Visa Applications

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Australia tries to make visa applications as easy as possible, with a minimum of bureaucratic steps and red tape. The easiest visa to obtain is the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visa, which is available online for short-term visitors and business travelers. Even handier is the fact that this ETA visa takes the place of a stamp in your passport. You may apply at, or have your travel agent or airline apply for you.

Tourists need a Visitor ETA, which is free and good for as many visits as you want of up to three months duration in a one-year period. Children must have their own ETA if they are traveling under a parent's passport. Business people can obtain a Short Validity Business ETA if they plan one visit of up to three months in a one-year period. For multiple visits, a Long Validity Business visa authorizes as many visits of up to three months as you want as long as your passport is valid.

Non-ETA Visas

For other visas, applications must be filed with Australian embassies, consulates, and high commissions in the country of your residence. This includes anyone who does not fall into the tourist or short-term business categories. A business person staying longer than three months, a student studying in Australia, a media representative, a performer, or a cultural exchange person--all these must apply for Temporary Residence visas.

Non-ETA visas have a fee, approximately $65 in Australian dollars (A$65), which is $42 (US$42) in American dollars, for the tourist and business visas for stays up to three months. If business people need to remain in Australia for three months to four years, a visa will cost A$160 (US$104). Always check the up-to-date fees to make sure there are no surprises when you apply for a visa; other visas can cost nothing, or can cost thousands of dollars.

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