What Is the Electronic Travel Authority (eTA) for Australia?
The Australian ETA (also known as the Subclass 601 Visa) is an electronic permit, allowing the holder to travel to Australia for tourism, a family visit, or business purposes. You can apply for an ETA entirely online from your home. It is much easier and quicker to obtain than a visa as it is entirely online, there are barely any document requirements, and you will have it within 24 hours. Your ETA application is saved on an online database and is linked to your passport number, so you don’t need to take any trip to the Australian Embassy and get a stamp.
Who Can Get an ETA for Australia?
You can only apply for an ETA to visit Australia if you are from one of the following countries:
- United States
- Brunei Darussalam
- Hong Kong (SAR PRC)
- South Korea
If you are from an EU country, then you can apply for the eVisitor Visa instead, which is similar to the Electronic Travel Authority. If you are from a third country, then you will have to get a regular Australian tourist visa.
What Documents Do I Need for the Australian Electronic Travel Authority?
To apply for an ETA, you will simply need a passport (which must be valid for at least another six months), an ID Card, and a credit/debit card to pay for the application fee.
If your application is sent for “further processing”, then you will have to submit additional documents.
How do I Apply for an Australia ETA?
You apply for an ETA visa through the official website of the Australian government. You will have to:
- Go to the ETA website.
- Select your current residence and reason for travelling (tourism or business).
- Enter your passport details and personal information.
- Enter the purpose of your trip.
- Pay the ETA application fee.
- Enter your email address, so they can contact you about the outcome of your application.
If your application is successful, you will receive an email along with your visa grant number, the duration of your ETA, and the date from which it starts.
Note: You may also apply for an ETA through a travel agency or visa application agency in your country, if one is available. The agency will still use the official website to launch your application.
How Long Does It Take to Get an ETA?
The application process itself only takes a few minutes, and you will hear whether your application has been approved within the same day via an email. In the meantime, you can check the status of your ETA on the same website you applied.
If there is a problem with your application, you may also hear back for one of the following reasons:
- Your application is sent for further assessment. You can use the Check ETA option to see whether a decision has been made yet.
- You have to go to the closest Australian visa office to make a new application in person.
What Can I Do With an ETA?
If you receive an ETA, you can travel to Australia multiple times and stay there a maximum of three months per trip. During this time, you can:
- Visit Australia as a tourist.
- Visit family and friends.
- Conduct business. This means you can attend business meetings, trainings, negotiations, seminars, sign or review a business contract, etc. You cannot work and be paid from an Australian or Australian-based employer or sell goods and products.
- Take up a short-term study course (no longer than three months).
How Much Does an ETA Cost?
When applying for the Australian ETA, you will pay only an AUD 20 service fee using your credit or debit card. The website accepts the following payment methods: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners Club or JCB.
How Long Can I Stay in Australia with an ETA?
An Australian ETA is valid for 1 year, during which time you can enter Australia as many times as you want and stay for up to three months per trip.
Can I Extend the ETA?
If you want to extend your stay in Australia without leaving the country, you will have to head to the nearest Australian Immigration Office and request to apply for an ETA (Visa 601). You will have to do so at least two weeks before your current ETA visa expires.
If you are outside Australia and your ETA has expired or is about to expire, you will have to apply for a new one.
Who Issues an ETA?
The authority in charge of assessing and making a decision on your ETA is the Australian Department of Home Affairs. Even if you apply through a visa agency or office, the application is still forwarded to the DHA who makes the final decision.
What If My ETA Australia Application Requires Further Processing?
Sometimes, the Department of Home Affairs may ask you to provide additional information and documents before they issue your ETA. You will receive an email notifying you that your application has been sent for further processing, in which case you have to complete the “Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) Request for further processing form” (see here) and submit supporting documents.
The documents and information you may be required to submit are:
- A copy of your passport personal information page (the page with your name and picture).
- A copy of the front and back of your national identity card.
- Proof that you plan to visit Australia temporarily for tourism or business visitor activity purposes only.
- Information about why you plan to visit Australia
- Proof of your intended stay and your planned activities, such as accommodation reservations or a booked flight. You do not need to finalize the payments, a reservation is enough.
- A list of your immediate family members (spouse/partner, children, parents and siblings).
- A list of your travel companions, which includes their names, birth dates, and how you are related.
- A list of family or friends you have in Australia, which includes their names, birth dates, and residential status.
- Your bank statements from the past three months.
- Proof of employment or other commitments, which prove you intend to return home after your trip to Australia, such as a letter from your employer.
What If My ETA Application Is Rejected?
If your Australian EAT application is denied, you will have to contact the nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate to learn your options. The Department of Home Affair should include the reason why you did not receive a visa in your rejection letter along with how you can proceed.
What If I Made a Mistake During My ETA Application?
If you make a mistake during your application, then you can simply correct it. You should always review your answers before you move on to the next section. However, if you do not notice you have made a mistake until after your application has already been submitted, then you will have to start another application. This means you may also have to pay the AUD 20 processing fee once again.
How Can I Show I Have an ETA?
When you arrive in Australia, you have to show your passport to the immigration officers at the border. Your ETA is saved on an online database, which they can check through your passport number. However, after you receive your email confirmation for the ETA, you must save a copy of the email and keep it with you when you travel. You could be fine with simply an electronic copy but printing it doesn’t hurt.
You can also use the Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service to check the conditions and details of your ETA and give proof you have an ETA.
Does the Australian ETA Go on My Passport?
No, you do not get an ETA stamp on your passport. The ETA is electronically stored on an online database and linked to your passport number. This is why it is important to enter your passport details correctly – if you have made a mistake, you may be denied entry to Australia.
Can I Cancel an ETA and Get a Refund?
No, once you have submitted your application and paid the fee, you cannot cancel it and request a refund. The payment is non-refundable, regardless of whether you get an ETA or not.