In-depth information on Australian Tourist Visas
- Tourist Visas for Australia for American Citizens
- Australian Tourist Visa: How to Apply
- Tourist Visa Requirements for Americans
- Process and Processing Time of Australian Tourist Visas
- Duration and Validity of an Australia Tourist Visas
- Types of Australian Tourist Visas (Alternatives to Australian Touristic ETA)
- Re-entry, Renewal and Extension of Australian Tourist Visas
- Working in Australia with a Tourist Visa
- Getting Married in Australia on a Tourist Visa
- Australian Tourist Visa: Costs and Fees
Tourist Visas for Australia Available to American Citizens
A standard Australian tourist visa (Electronic Travel Authorization) authorizes visits of up to three months at a time and is valid for 12 months after the date of issue. Unlike traditional visas, there are no paper applications to complete, and you will have no visa labels or stamps in your passport. Instead, your tourist visa for Australia will be electronically attached to your passport.
United States’ citizens can apply for a tourist visa to Australia using their passport, and the passport number will then be linked to the visa. If you lose your passport or it is stolen before you enter Australia, you will need to re-apply for a new vacation visa.
Apart from the standard ETA tourism visa, there are a few more specific tourist visa types one can request in order to travel to Australia as a tourist: if you feel an ETA does not satisfy your needs, you will need to determine the most appropriate visa for you among other visa options.
The most common short-stay tourist visa types for Australia are:
- Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) – formally known as Australian Visa Subclass 601
- Work and Holiday Visa– formally known as Australian Visa Subclass 462
- Tourist stream – formally known as Australian Visa Subclass 600
Online Tourist Visa for Australia (ETA e-Tourist)
An e-tourist visa, which is also called an ETA, is a subclass 601 visa. You can use this visa to tour Australia, visit family or friends or study or train for short-term. Business visitors can also use this visa for short-term. An ETA tourist visa is a temporary visa that is valid for 12 months from the date of issue, and it is a multiple entry visa. For each entry, you can stay up to 3 months.
You can enter and leave as many times as you want as long as it is valid. However, the ETA cannot be extended: you must get another Australian tourist visa if you want to extend your holiday or stay longer for other reasons.
U.S. passport holders who are planning trips shorter than 90 days are almost always immediately eligible for electronic tourist visas (ETAs), which will be electronically matched to the traveler’s passport in the Australian immigration official databases.
More info on Online Tourist Visas for Australia (ETA) – updated for 2020:
- Both passport holders and travel agents can apply for ETAs.
- Overstaying a short stay tourist visa in Australia could lead to exclusion, detention and removal. If you plan to stay in Australia longer than 3 months per entry, please make sure you apply instead for the Long Term visa, subclass 600.
- Once you have your online tourist visa for Australia, you can use your e-passport at the SmartGate system when you arrive in Australia.
If you are not sure what tourist visa to apply for, we recommend you apply for this kind of visa.
Tourist Stream (Subclass 600)
The Tourist Stream visa is an alternative to the ETA tourist visa, but typically slower. Getting this holiday visa for Australia, you can visit family and friends, travel the country, and study or train for up to 3 months. This visa may be valid for between three months and 12 months, and you can request it for single entry or multiple entries. You can enter and leave as often as you want as long as the Tourist Stream is valid, but you may not stay more than 12 months during 18 months. This visa is also typically more expensive than an ETA and takes longer to process. Also, immigration office can request more documents from the applicant, for example a scanned copy of passport ID page or bank statement. In general, whenever possible we recommend applying for a Tourist ETA, for a faster – 100% online – visa release process.
Work and Holiday Visa Subclass 462
Getting a tourist visa for Australia also allowing you to work is possible: this is what an Australian Work and Holiday Visa is for, as this permits allows you to work during your stay in Australia, and to travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while working or studying.
With a work and holiday visa (often referred to also as “working holiday visa”) you can have the freedom to work to pay for your holiday, or study for up to 4 months. It is a temporary visa that is valid for up to 12 months from the date you enter the country. It cannot be extended. You can remain in the country up to 12 months, and you can leave and enter Australia as often as you like. Read more about work and holiday visas for Australia.
Additional type-independent Australian Tourist Visa Information:
- Regardless of the type of 2020 Australian tourist visa or ETA you need, it is highly recommended that you get health insurance to protect you during your time in Australia. You will be responsible for any healthcare costs that you incur while you are in Australia, and proper insurance coverage will help reduce your financial liability.
- Visas are electronically linked to your passport. There is no need for stamps or labels.
- Simplify the process by applying for your ETA tourist for Australia directly online as soon as possible.
Australian Tourist Visa for US Citizens: How to Apply
U.S. citizens need visas to travel to Australia. An Australian tourist visa requested from the USA via Electronic Travel Authorization will allow you to enter Australia for up to 90 days at a time for a year from the date of issue. After the first visit, subsequent visits are at the immigration officer’s discretion.
Getting a Tourist Visa to Australia from the USA
In order to get a tourist visa to Australia from USA you must have a valid passport (valid for at least 6 months upon entering Australia in order to comply with the requirements of most airlines flying to Australia – even though not strictly required by Australian Immigration Office) and obtain your US tourist visa to Australia before arriving in the country.
You may also need to complete a medical exam depending on your condition (any medical requirement – if needed – will be specified during the online application process). Visitors may also need to provide financial information upon request to receive their tourist visa. Also in this case, any requirement – if needed – will be specified during the online application process.
It is easy to apply for a tourist visa to Australia from the USA online: simply choose the right visa for your needs and follow the instructions on-screen. Most visa requests are processed and approved instantly.
Australian Tourist Visa Requirements for Americans
The conditions and eligibility for visas can vary based on the type of visa. Most U.S. citizens are eligible for ETAs as long as they hold valid passports.
US Passport Validity and Photo Requirements
We strongly recommend that your US passport be valid for at least 6 months upon entering Australia. This is why if your passport is due to expire soon or during the time you will be travelling, you may need to get a new passport before applying. Australian tourist visa photo requirements are similar to passport photos. Please ensure your photos are accurate and current.
Documents Required to US Citizens for an Australian Tourist Visa
The document checklist can vary based on the type of visa requested: with an ETA, you will only need your passport, and the ETA permit will be electronically attached to your passport.
For other visa types, you may be asked for other identification, including the biographical pages of your passport, travel documents and the IDs of your fellow travelers. Other required documents may be requested if authorities are not satisfied as to your identity.
Funds Required for an Australian Tourist Visa
When travelling to Australia, you may be required to show proof of funds. This can include displaying a minimum bank balance on your bank statement, audits, taxation records or other proof of satisfactory employment and income. After the application is processed, in the rare case a bank statement is required by Australian Immigration in order to verify your bank balance, an immigration officer will contact you.
Medical Requirements for an Australian Travel Visa
If you are applying for a non-ETA Australian visa and plan on staying in Australia for more than 6 months, you might be required to complete a health check and a chest X-ray. This can extend your visa application process up to 20 days. You are more likely to be required to complete a medical test if you are from a high-risk area or are over 75. In these cases, Yellow Fever is the only vaccination requirement.
Australian Tourist Visa Age Limits for American Citizens
For US passport holders willing to travel from USA to Australia there is no age limit on tourist visas. Of course, anyone who is travelling to Australia without an Australian passport will need a visa on arrival – and for a child under 18, the ETA will be based on the child’s passport. This means children will need separate ETAs, using details from their passports (children who are on their parents’ passports also need their own ETAs, but the information from their parents’ passport will be used).
Process and Processing Time for Australian Tourist Visas
Visa processing time for an Australian ETA Tourist Visa (Subclass 601)
The Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is the most commonly used Australian Tourist Visa. The process can be completed online and requires no extra application forms, no visa labels and no passport stamps.
To be eligible for and maintain your instant Australian tourist visa, you must abide by specific conditions, including – in order:
- Being free of criminal convictions
- Passing a health check as required
- Departing within the required time period
- Not working during your time in Australia
- Not engaging in study or training for more than three months
In general, the Australian tourist visa processing time for a Tourist Stream Visa (Subclass 600) can take from 48 hours to more than a month. A Tourist ETA though – which is the most common type of tourist visa – has a much lower estimated waiting time, as it is much faster to process. An ETA e-visa for tourists can often be requested and issued just days before your planned visit. It is a 100 percent secure, paperless process, and the visa will be electronically linked to your passport just moments after it has been issued.
However, we always recommend to request your Touristic ETA Visa at least a few weeks before departure, to avoid any risk. Don’t worry though – with an ETA, you can also track your application online via an online tracking system.
Australian Tourist Stream Visa (Subclass 600) Processing Time
The amount of time taken for an Australian tourist visa to be processed can vary based on how promptly you supply the supporting documents, your response to requests for further information, how long it takes to verify your information and peak processing times.
Also, the Australia tourist visa process is quite straightforward:
- Check that your current U.S. passport is valid.
- Apply for your visa.
- Wait for verification of receipt.
- Wait for notification of your status.
If the Australian tourist visa procedure was successful, you will be granted a visa. You can keep track of your progress using the online Australia tourist visa tracking system.
The maximum processing time for a conventional Australian tourist visa (Subclass 600) is about a month, with the waiting time ranging from 20 to 33 days in the vast majority of cases. For fast-tracked visas or ETAs, the waiting time can be mere minutes or days, especially if you have all the necessary documentation to complete the verification time.
Finally, as far as Work and Holiday Visa Processing Times are concerned, we recommend you check the dedicated page on this site.
Duration and Validity of an Australia Tourist Visa
Tourist visas are valid for varying periods of time, depending on the type of visa.
The ETA is a 12-month tourist visa. It is a popular visa, but it is limited regarding the length of stay and only allows visitors to remain in Australia for 3 months or 90 days at a time. You can enter as often as you like as long during the one year the tourist visa is valid.
For a visit of longer duration or if you want to stay more than 3 months during any period, you will need a different Australian visa. The tourist visa stream (Subclass 600) has a length and duration that can vary based on the purpose of the stay. In most cases though, Australian tourist visa validity lasts at least 12 months.
As an example, the Australian e600 visitor visa is a 6-month tourist visa for Australia. It also allows you to stay in the country up to one year depending on the reasons for your visit. You can also enter and leave the country as needed as long as the visa is valid.
The subclass 870 visa instead is a longer-term 3-year tourist visa specifically designed for parents. With it, parents can stay in Australia for 3 or 5 years and no more than 10 years. This allows them to enter and re-enter Australia as needed to visit their stepchildren, adopted children or biological children more conveniently and affordably.
Whether you are planning an Australian trip that lasts 2 weeks, 90 days or even a year, there is a visa designed to suit your purpose. Check and apply online to find the right one for you or to explore samples of tourist visas.
Types of Australian Tourist Visas (Alternatives to Australian Touristic ETA)
There are several types of tourist visas in Australia that may apply if you do not qualify for a Tourist ETA or if the ETA does not suit you needs, such as a work and holiday visa or other types of Australian visas for tourism. Here they are:
Australian Tourist Stream Visa (Subclass 600 – Application form 1419)
The Australian tourist visa stream Subclass 600 (to which people apply using form n.1419) is a 6-month tourist visa for Australia. It also allows you to stay in the country up to one year depending on the reasons for your visit. You can also enter and leave the country as needed as long as the visa is valid.
Australian Visiting Academic Visa
The former Australia Tourist Visa 419 is closed to new applications for 2020. However, the Tourist Visa Subclass 408 may be an alternative. This visa, which is also called the Temporary Activity Visa, allows you to participate in special approved programs, including:
- Gap year volunteer work
- Cultural enrichment programs
- Youth exchanges
- Community programs
- School language assistants
This visa is valid for up to 12 months.
Australia Tourist Visa 771 (Australia Transit Visa)
Also known as the Australian Transit Visa, this visa allows people to spend up to 72 hours in Australia to “pass through”. With this visa, you may not spend more than 72 hours in the country.
Re-entry, Renewal and Extension of Australian Tourist Visas
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about re-entering Australia with a tourist visa, about extending your stay in Australia as a tourist or about renewing your tourist visa while you are in Australia.
Is the Australian tourist visa multiple entry?
The Australian ETA is good for 90 days at a time, also allowing multiple-entries. This means that within one year sinve when the ETA Tourist visa has been issued you can enter, leav and re-enter Australia as many times as you wish – as long as each entry lasts a maximum of 90 days.
However, if your current visa is due to expire while you are still in the country, you will need to apply for an Australian tourist visa renewal, via a Long-stay tourist visa application.
What happens if I stay too long and my Australian tourist visa has expired?
Overstaying your stay with a tourist visa in Australia will result in your becoming an “unlawful non-citizen” – which can lead to detention and removal from the country. Worse, it could interfere with your ability to re-enter Australia on a tourist visa in the future. If you overstay your visa by more than 28 days, you could even become excluded and prevented from re-entering Australia on a tourist visa for as long as 3 years. Don’t do it.
Can I change my Australian visa once I am in the country?
No, you cannot change your visa type, such as an Australia tourist visa multiple entry, once you are in the country. However, you can apply for a further stay via the Long-Stay Tourist Visa, subclass 676.
What are my other options for extending my tourist visa?
Because the consequences of an Australia tourist visa overstay can be so serious, it is critical that you apply for a tourist visa renewal or extension as soon as possible and before your visa has expired. Applying online is fast and convenient.
Working in Australia with a Tourist Visa
If you are planning to travel to Australia with a ETA Tourst Visa, you must know that it is not legal to work with an ETA. ETA-visitors have no right to “work”. However, they can do volunteer work or engage in other business activities, such as business meetings, conferences or seminars. Of course, you can stay in Australia on your tourist visa while looking for work, but once you found it you should obtain a different kind of visa in order to legally maintain your work.
However, working on a “tourist visa” in Australia is fairly common – especially for those who wish to work to pay for their holidays. If you want to legally work in Australia during your holiday though you will need a special, dedicated visa – not an ETA. This visa is called “Work and Holiday Visa” (often referred to also as “Working Holiday Visa”).
You can do any kind of work or jobs while on a tourist visa in Australia. However, your Work and Holiday Visa must be used within one year of the date it is issued, and it will be active for 12 months from the date you enter the country.
A working holiday visa cannot be extended: if you choose to stay longer, you must apply for a new visa. Additionally, you cannot bring dependent children or other family members with you, and you must pay taxes from anything you earn during your tourist visa working days.
The cost for a work and holiday tourist visa is of USD 549 as of 2020, but additional costs may also arise, including costs for police certificates, biometrics and health checks. Processing time can take from 13 to 22 days but may take longer if more information is needed or for verification purposes. Private health insurance coverage is highly recommended during your stay in the country. Read more about Work and Holiday Australian Visas for US Citizens here.
Getting Married in Australia on a Tourist Visa
According to Australia Marriage Law, you do not need to be an Australian resident to get married in Australia. You simply need the tourist visa (e.g. visa subclass 651) and you must file a Notice of Intended Marriage form along with any other requested documents.
If you are planning on getting married in Australia on a tourist visa, your celebrant can help ensure you meet all necessary requirements, including that you:
- Are not married to anyone else
- Are not marrying to a closely related family member
- Are at least 18 years old
- Freely consent to the marriage
Notice that if you plan to live in Australia after marriage, you might need to apply for permanent residency as needed.
Australian Tourist Visa: Costs and Fees
In order to obtain your Australian Tourist Visa, you will need to pay an application charge when applying for your visa – plus all costs related to the visa release. The total Australia tourist visa cost can therefore vary based on the type of visa and when you apply. Both paper applications and e-visas such as ETA tourist visa costs must be paid online, and forms of payment accepted are credit cards and PayPal.
While there are no Australia tourist visa fees associated with the ETA, there is an online service charge of USD 69.
The cost of a Work and Holiday visa is instead of USD 549.
The visa application fee may change periodically: if the Australian immigration tourist visa fees increase between the date of the application and the date of the receipt, the new fee will apply.