The ETA, or Electronic Travel Authority, for Australia is a document that grants travelers from certain countries permission to enter Australia.
It is electronically linked to the visitor’s passport, and is designed for short-term stays in the country.
An ETA allows the Australian government to track who is in the country at any given time. This allows them to make every effort to ensure that the country is safe, that the people in the country at any given time are responsible, and may help them contact travelers in case of an emergency.
See also Australian Visa Types Explained.
Who is eligible for an ETA for Australia?
People seeking to enter Australia on an ETA need to be coming for one of two purposes:
- Tourism, including sightseeing, short-term visits to family and friends, and similar activities
- Business visitor activities, including negotiating a contract, going to a conference, or making business inquiries
This visa does not permit the holder to hold a job of any kind, including working for themselves. It is also not suitable for people who want to attend a long-term academic program or who are looking to emigrate to Australia.
In addition, people applying online for an ETA for Australia need to hold a passport from one of the following countries:
- The Republic of South Korea
- Brunei – Darussalam
- Hong Kong
- United States
Travelers from countries that are not on this list will need to apply for their ETA in-person at an Australian visa office, an airline, or a travel agent. Visitors from countries that are not eligible for the ETA will need to apply for another way to enter Australia.
How to get an ETA for Australia
The easiest way to get an ETA for Australia is to apply for it online at natvisa.com. Most travelers from the above countries will be eligible for this application process, though some may need to go through a visa office, a travel agent, or an airline to get their ETA.
Travelers should create an account, then begin filling out their ETA application. They will need to make absolutely sure that every detail they enter on the application matches the data on their passport exactly. If they make a mistake, they may not be granted an ETA or they may need to reapply with accurate information.
Visitors who want an ETA must currently be physically located outside of Australia. People inside the country cannot apply for this type of travel permission, though under certain circumstances they may be able to apply to extend a current ETA.
What travelers need to get an Australian ETA
Before travelers apply for their ETA for Australia, they will need to make sure they have:
- A valid email address. This is where they will receive notification of an approved ETA, as well as get other correspondence from the Australian government about their travels, etc.
- A valid credit card. This will only be used to pay the application fee for the Australian ETA. The website accepts Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, American Express, or JCB.
- A valid passport, with validity extending at least six months beyond the date the person plans to arrive in Australia.
What the ETA Application asks for
Travelers will be asked to complete a number of questions. They will need to get the following information from their passport:
- The passport number
- The country where the passport was issued
- Their family name and all given names
- Their nationality
- Their date of birth
- The date their passport was issued
- The date their passport expires
- The issuing authority for their passport
The application will also ask them when they plan to enter Australia, how long they plan to stay, what they want to do in the country, and a few more details.
If the applicant plans to enter the country for a business inquiry, they will need to provide information about who they are meeting with, what conference they are attending, etc.
Travelers who need to apply for their ETA in person should bring the information listed above with them, and be ready to fill out the same application data.
*Note that, because of COVID-19, Australia is no longer permitting travelers to apply for an ETA via their online process. Instead, they can apply through an airline, an Australian visa office, or a travel agent. Some travelers may be able to apply for an ETA via the Australian travel app, which is in the pilot stages.
The conditions of the Australian ETA
Travelers who want to enter Australia on an ETA will need to be aware of the conditions under which the authorization is offered.
Visitors are responsible for knowing that:
- The Australian ETA is valid for 12 months. Travelers can enter and leave Australia as many times as they need to within that period. If the visitor’s passport expires before 12 months, the ETA will only be valid as long as the passport is valid.
- Their Australian ETA is valid for stays of up to three months. Visitors who need to stay in the country for more than three months may leave and come back into the country, as long as their ETA is still valid.
- Visitors entering Australia on an ETA must not sign up for academic programs lasting longer than three months. If they want to study for longer than that, they can apply for another type of travel permission.
- Everyone who enters Australia must not have tuberculosis.
- Travelers who apply for an ETA for Australia must not have criminal convictions that have netted them more than 12 months of incarceration. These 12 months can be combined over more than one sentencing. Note that the Australian government cares about how long the sentence was, not whether it was actually served.
- It is every visitor’s responsibility to know what they are and are not permitted to do in Australia on an ETA.
Visit Australia now
If visiting Australia is on your bucket list, you can start the process by applying for an ETA now.
Before you know it, you will have your travel permission in hand and will be able to visit Australia and make your dreams come true.
Check out the below posts for some Australian travel inspiration:
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