More information on Australian Business Visas
In most cases, American citizens who are planning a business trip will qualify for a business ETA without any issue: an ETA can easily be obtained in 24-48 hours, and it’s an electronic visa that is electronically attached to your passport and allows you to enter and exit Australia for business purposes for one year.
This kind of e-visa called ETA is essentially an Australian business visa for short stay, and is the same type of visa for both tourist and business visitors. When applying, however, you will need to specify whether you are requesting your ETA as a tourist visa or as business visa.
The concept of Australian business visa includes the following business visitor activities:
- Attend business meetings
- Negotiate contracts
- Attend conferences and seminars
Combining holiday and business
An Australian “business ETA” also allows you to combine holidays and business: one of the main Australian business visa benefits is that you can also vacation in Australia on your business trip – but no paid work is allowed with this visa. Therefore, if the purpose of your trip is actually to work in Australia, you should not apply for an ETA visa: there are other types of business visas that better fit your needs.
Conditions for the application for an Australian Business ETA Visa – 2020
In order to apply online for an Australian Business ETA in 2020:
- You must be outside Australia to apply for a visa.
- You must be free of tuberculosis when you enter Australia.
- You must not have been sentenced to imprisonment (served or not) for a total of more than 12 months.
- You must not study more than three months while in Australia with e Business ETA.
- You may not work (take employment) while in Australia with e Business ETA.
Validity of Australian Electronic Business Visas
The ETA business entry visa for Australia is valid for 12 months. However, although the visa is valid for one year, it is only intended for short temporary business entries and stays in Australia: each time you go to Australia from USA you can stay in Australia only for a maximum of 3 months. Still, you can travel to and from Australia how many times you wish during the period of validity of your business/holiday visa.
How long getting an Australian Business Visa Takes
The vast majority of US citizens applying for a Business ETA for Australia receive answers within a day or two, but sometimes it may be necessary to provide additional information to be able to process your business visa application – and in such cases the application process may take considerably longer. The processing times are in such cases at least two weeks, but sometimes longer – even for this type of short term business visas.
Extending a Business ETA Australian Visa
Technically, it is not possible to extend an Australian Business e-visa. However, it is allowed to apply for a new Australian business e-visa as soon as the old one has expired. Still, you must be outside of Australia while you are applying – so typically US business travelers apply for a new business entry visa from the US.
There may also be the possibility to apply for another type of business-related visa without leaving Australia – such as a work visa, or a business investor visa: in these cases you should contact the migration authorities in Australia well before your visa expires for further information.
If you are not sure whether an Australian Business ETA fits your needs, to ensure you get the right visa you may find it useful to know more details about:
- When is a Visitor or Business Visa for Australia needed, and by who
- Australian Business Visa Duration
- Other Temporary Australian Business Visa Options
- Australian Business Visa Application Process and Processing Time
- Australian Business Visa Requirements
- Australian Business Entry Visa Cost
- Other Business Visa Types (Non-Visitor, Non-ETA Visas)
When is a Visitor or Business Visa for Australia Needed?
If you are planning to enter Australia for business purposes and you are a US citizen – or in general you are not an Australian citizen – then you need a Business Visa in order to legally enter Australia.
If you are planning to participate in typical business visitor activities, such as routine business meetings, conferences or contract negotiations, you will likely be eligible for an Electronic Travel Authority visa (also known as “Subclass 601”) – which is essentially the Australian Business ETA we outlined in the introduction of this page.
This visa is 100% electronic: it is a business e-visa linked electronically to your passport, making it easier for you to enter and exit the country as needed. The online application process is fast and easy, and you can usually have a response on your ETA immediately.
The ETA is available for tourists or business visitors, but it is strictly NOT for work visitors: if you need to engage in paid work, you will need a different type of short term business visa.
Visitor Activities Allowed on an Australian Business ETA
Australian Business ETAs are extremely versatile, allowing you to:
- Attend conferences or seminars
- Engage in business negotiations
- Make business enquiries or explorations
You may also study as long as your studies continue for fewer than three months, and you can engage in as many tourist, sightseeing or visitor activities as desired. The Business ETA does not include professional performances, acting or commercial film-making activities though – as those are considered working activities.
American Citizens Eligible for Australian Business ETAs
Most American citizens are eligible for ETAs. To receive an ETA, you must:
- Be from an ETA-eligible country – such as the U.S.
- Be off-shore (i.e. not physically in Australia) at the time of application
- Be planning to visit Australia for short-term business purposes
- Have no major criminal convictions for which you served more than 12 months in jail
- Be free of tuberculosis at the moment of your travel into and within Australia
- Not engage in paid work while in Australia
Australian ETA Business Visa Benefits: Combining Business with Pleasure
With an Australia electronic business visa (ETA), you are fully able to combine business responsibilities and holiday fun. You can vacation, travel, attend conferences and seminars, sightsee and visit top tourist areas. You do not have to choose between a business visa or tourist visa: this Australia open business visa makes it easy to do everything you need to do for up to 90 days at a time, and it remains valid for up to a year after the date of issue, giving you plenty of options for your business holiday.
It’s easy to apply for your temporary business entry visa online, and most people receive a response within a day. The process can take up to two weeks if more information is needed or if your identity must be validated.
Length of Stay in Australia on an ETA Business Meeting Visa
As of 2020, an ETA business visa is valid for 12 months – hence it is a short stay visa. The visa is a multiple entry visa, which means that you can enter and leave the country as many times as you would like as long as your passport and visa are valid. More specifically, within these 12 months, you can stay in Australia for business purposes up to 90 days at a time.
If your visa activities will continue past the length of your visa’s validity, you cannot extend your ETA. However, you can apply for a new visa off-shore once your old visa has expired. You may also apply for different visa types without leaving the country.
If you need to stay longer, other types of business visas can remain valid for up to 4 years, depending on your visa activities and visa types. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may also apply for a permanent visa, for example in the form of:
- State or Territory Sponsored Investor visa, Subclass 893 – Permanent
- State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner visa, Subclass 892 – Permanent
- Investor visa, Subclass 891 – Permanent
- Business Talent visa, Subclass 132 – Permanent
Other Australia Temporary Business Visa Options
As we said, for most US business visitors, a Business ETA is the most versatile and appropriate visa, allowing them to engage in a variety of business and tourist activities. They can stay up to 90 days at a time and enter and exit as often as desired as long as the visa is valid.
However, if you want to engage in paid work during your time in Australia there are also several alternatives to the business e-visa. As an example, the Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Subclass 188) has 7 separate streams (visa types) for which you can apply.
You might be eligible for one of these business work visas if you:
- Are nominated by a state or territory agency
- Have ownership in a business or at least AUD800,000 in personal and business assets
- Are under 55
- Meet the Australian health and character requirements and sign the values statement
- Have not previously had a visa cancelled or an application refused
Australian Business Visa Application Process and Processing Time
The application process for an Australian visa is fairly straightforward. If you’re applying online, you can upload the visa information and could have your response within moments. If needed, you can also have someone help complete your Australia visa form or act on your behalf.
Check your passport to ensure that it is current. Australian government and immigration agents do not require it to be valid for 6 months upon entry, but many airlines do so – so we recommend ensuring your passport is valid for more than 6 months upon your arrival in Australia to avoid any issue.
If needed, you can arrange to have your health exams after you apply. Most visa applicants meet the health requirements with no need for further exams.
Gather your documents, including your identity documents, your visitor documents, business documents, character documents and financial records. (IMPORTANT: there is no need to pre-arrange all potentially needed documentation, as our online visa application system allows you to save and edit your application form as many times and for as long as you wish. In case an unexpected document is required you will have the possibility to save the form and complete it at a later moment).
Complete your application form, and attach all required documents. In most cases we recommend applying online, which will speed and simplify the process for you. When applying, be sure to provide current and accurate information. Failing to provide complete, accurate information can lead to processing delays or denials. If you need to apply on paper, you can use Australia Business Visa Form 1415.
Filling in the online business visa application form is easy, as you can apply online simply using the details that are in your passport:
- Enter a valid email address to start the application process
- Fill out the online form with your family name and given names
- Continue with your sex, date of birth and country of birth
- You will be asked if you have any aliases or criminal convictions
- You will then need to provide your passport details
- Upload any requested documents (e.g. identity documents and business documents)
- You’ll then need to electronically sign your consent and declaration forms
- Finally, you will have to pay for your application – via PayPal or by credit card.
Once you have applied, you will receive a notice that the visa office has received your business visa application and supporting documents. Do not make travel plans until you have received confirmation of your business visa’s approval in writing.
In most cases, ETA applicants will receive a response immediately. For some, the process can take a little longer, but the majority of ETAs are approved within a few days.
For non-eta types of business visas, the processing time is longer, and can vary based on a number of factors, including:
- Whether you provided all necessary supporting documents at the time of application
- Your response to requests for additional information
- The amount of time needed to complete necessary information checks or access information pertaining to national security
- Available spots in the migration program
As an example, your Australia business visa timeline will be significantly longer if you are applying for a Business Innovator or Investor Stream (188), which is a much more intensive process that can take up to a year. For these kind of visas, although you are not necessarily required to have an appointment for a visa interview for your Australia business visa, one may be requested.
In general, if your need is urgent, we recommend considering and Australian Business ETA. You can often have an ETA within minutes of application, and as long as you do not work during your time in the country and abide by the conditions of your short-stay visitor visa you are good to go.
IMPORTANT: If upon submitting your application you have any changes or notice any errors in it after it has been sent, contact us as soon as possible – so that your application can be timely corrected. You will also need to notify us if you want to withdraw your application or make any changes to your relationship status, phone number, address or passport.
Australian Business Visa Requirements
Business travelers must meet health requirements, character requirements and have stable finances. Also notice that the questions asked and conditions of the visa application may extend not just to the visa holder but also to family members who are not coming to Australia.
US business travelers must be genuine US visitors intending to stay only temporarily in the country. Depending on the kind of business visa you picked, you must agree to follow the conditions set forth in your visa and adhere to the stay period outlined by the business visa rules, which can vary depending on whether you are a:
- Business ETA Traveler
- Business owner
- State or territory-sponsored business owner
- Senior executive visa holder
- State or territory-sponsored executive visa holder
Generic Visa Requirements for Business ETA (Conference, Business Meetings, Seminars)
In general, the requirements for an Australian business visa ETA are similar to the requirements of any visitor visa:
- You must apply for your visa off-shore
- You must be free of tuberculosis when you enter Australia
Once you enter Australia, the Australia Business Visa Conditions state that US business visitors can:
- Make business enquiries
- Investigate or negotiate contracts
- Conduct activities as part of an official visit
- Participate in seminars, trade fair or conferences
And they cannot:
- Work or take paid employment while in the country
- Study more than three months during their time in Australia.
Documents Required to Apply for an Australian Business Visa (ETA)
In order to safely enlist for your Business ETA, you may need several documents to prove your identity and business status, including:
- A national identity card
- Proof of name change – if applicable – such as a marriage certificate
- An invitation from your host organization – if applicable
- Conference or seminar registration details – if applicable
- A letter from your employer or Australian business contacts – if applicable
- Proof of employment and professional qualifications – if applicable
- Evidence of your company’s status, such as an annual report – if applicable
- Evidence of prior contact with Australian businesses – if applicable
You may also need to provide evidence of your status as a temporary visitor, including:
- Pay slips, tax records, credit limits and bank statements
- Your plans for your stay and return trip
- Proof that you are enrolled in school, college or university in your home country
- Proof that you have family in your home country
- Evidence that you are legally allowed to return to your home country
- Evidence that you own assets or property in your home country
(Australian business visa photo specifications are the same as those for passport photos. If your photo is not current, clear or focused, you may have difficulty at automated borders.)
IMPORTANT: there is no need to pre-arrange all potentially needed documentation, as our online visa application system allows you to save and edit your application form as many times and for as long as you wish. In case an unexpected document is required you will have the possibility to save the form and complete it at a later moment.
Other Australia Business Visa Conditions and Restrictions
There is no age limit for most Australian business visas, including temporary business visas. However, for business visas intended for permanent residency, the age limit can range from 45 to 50.
The Australian business ETA is valid for up to 12 months.
Australian Business Entry Visa Cost
The Business Visa charges can vary depending on what type of visa you need.
The standard Australian ETA Business visa has no fees and a 69USD surcharge.
The Business Visitor Stream, Subclass 600, has an AUD145 cost per applicant.
The Frequent Traveler Stream visa, Subclass 600, has a base AUD1,065 price per applicant.
In the case of ETA, applying and paying for your visa online makes the process fast and easy, and you can often have a response the same day you apply.
Other Business Visa Types (Non-Visitor, Non-ETA Visas)
US business owners and business travelers in general have several alternative options for business entrepreneur visas in Australia.
If the business e-visa / ETA is not the right choice for you or if you are planning on working during your time in the country, you may be eligible for a Business Skills visa, which is valid for 4 years and offers a pathway to permanent residency.
There are four categories for the business skills program, including:
- The Business Owner visa for those who own or partially own a business
- The Business Visa Investment, for investors or those who wish to invest in Australian businesses
- The Business Talent Visa, for those who are sponsored by an Australian state or territory government and which requires a letter of invitation
- The Business Immigration Visa, which offers permanent residence through business skills and can be used to start a business in Australia
(Note that to be eligible for a business owner visa, you must:
- Be under the age of 55
- Score at least 65 on the points test
- Have had an ownership interest in an established business with at least AUD 500,000 turnover in two of the previous four years
- Own an interest in your nominated business
- Have a successful career
- Be genuinely interested in owning and maintaining a management role in Australia)
Unlike the Business ETA e-visas, obtaining an Australian long-term business visa is not an automated process. If you are interested in a visa as a business analyst, business development expert or other business owner or investor, you will need to discuss your travel and migration options, you will need to complete the application on paper and provide all necessary documents and evidence as well as discuss your needs with a visa officer. You will also typically need to submit a business proposal plan to the State.
The long-term business visa migration to Australia terms and conditions sure sound complex, but the good news is they will not necessarily apply to your spouse. If you have a long-term business visa, your spouse can take normal employment as desired.
The cost of a long-term business visa can vary based on whether you are starting a business in Australia, investing or have a provisional or permanent visa. Typically, it ranges from AUD 2,450 to AUD 4,045.