There are categories of Australians and residents in Australia that need to apply for a US Visa before heading to the United States.
Following in this article, you can learn more if you need to apply for a US visa in Australia based on your purpose of entry to the US and your current situation. You will be able to learn more about how to apply for a US visa from Australia, including the requirements and tasks one has to fulfill in order to qualify.
Do Australian Citizens Need a Visa for USA?
Australians are among the 40 countries that fall under the Visa Waiver Program of the United States that permits them to travel to the US for tourism and business. Unlike many other countries, they do not need a visitor visa to enter the USA. Instead, they only need to apply online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a very simple and quick process.
The application process for an ESTA is very easy and quick. It also costs very little, only $14USD.
If you’re ineligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program or your ESTA application is denied, you will need to apply for US visa in Australia.
This tool will help you determine whether you need a visa for USA from Australia:
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Apply for US Visa in Australia
The application process for a US Visa in Australia consists of some steps that you have to follow in the correct order.
Here’s how to apply for US Visa in Australia:
- Check what type of US visa you need.
- Check where you need to apply for a US Visa in Australia.
- Complete the online US Visa application form.
- Pay the machine-readable visa (MRV) fee.
- Collect the required documents for a US visa from Australia.
- Schedule a US visa appointment in Australia.
- Attend the American visa interview.
Check what type of US visa you need
Since the US has a wide range of visa types, the first thing you should do is to check what type of visa you need to enter the US from Australia. The application process, as well as the fees and required documents, depend on the USA visa types you are applying for.
Check where you need to apply for a US Visa in Australia
If you are applying for a nonimmigrant US Visa from Australia, you will have to lodge your application at the appropriate American visa center to which the US embassy has outsourced visa submission for residents of Australia.
On the other side, if you are applying for an immigrant US visa from Australia, then your petitioner (sponsor in the US) will need to submit your application at the National Visa Center in the United States.
Complete the online US Visa application form
Complete the appropriate form depending on your American visa type. Note that the application forms differ according to the US visa type you are applying.
The application form contains questions about personal information as your full name, marital status, address, birth details, contact number and email, passport details, family information, education, and work information etc.
You can fill the DS-160 form online through:
- the Consular Electronic Application Center, or
- with the help of a specialized agent.
Pay the machine-readable visa (MRV) fee
After you answer all questions honestly, pay the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application fee and schedule an interview. You can pay a US visa fee in the following forms:
- Online Payment with Credit/Debit Card
- Online Banking Transfer or Cash at Your Own Bank
The MRV Fee for visa applicants depends on the type of US visa one applies for. The schedule is tiered as follows:
- MRV Fee – $160
- Petition Based Applicants (H, L, O, P, Q, R) – $190
- E-1, E-2 & E-3 visa applicants – $205
*Note that if you are applying for an A, G, or NATO visa for official travel, you do not need to pay the MRV fee.
Collect the required documents for a US visa from Australia
Every type of US visa has a number of standard required documents that the applicant will have to submit in order to prove they meet the criteria for a visa as set by the US authorities. Check what documents you need to submit depending on your American visa type and nationality. Then, collect all these documents according to their instructions.
Keep in mind that the whole application process for a US visa depends on these documents. The visa interview is a determinant factor in whether you get a visa or not.
To apply for a US visa in Australia, you should provide these documents:
- Confirmation page that you have completed the appropriate application form.
- Interview appointment confirmation page (if applicable).
- Passport – valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of planned stay in the US, which must have at least one blank page in order to be able to affix visa.
- One US visa photo – of 5 x 5 cm size, color and taken within the last 6 months. If you have successfully uploaded a picture to the DS-160 application form, then you are not required to submit an additional photo.
- Previous US visas (if applicable).
- ACRO – which is a police certificate you obtain from the authorities in your country that shows if you have ever been arrested, cautioned or convicted.
- Letter from an approved physician, if you have a medical condition that could have a bearing on your eligibility for a visa (the Australian embassies and consulates have a list of approved doctors, therefore check this list and carry the medical controls at one of them. If you bring a report from another doctor that has not been approved by the embassy then your application will be rejected.)
- Letter of invitation for a US visitor visa – if you are applying for a B-2 visa then this letter may also be required.
- If you have ever been rejected from entering or deported from the US, you must also submit documents in this regard, which tell the reasons behind the deportation/rejection.
Note that these are only the documents that are standardly required. Depending on the visa type you are applying for, your nationality or your current situation, you will need to submit extra documents.Depending on your situation, it is advisable that you inquire about travel insurance for your time in the United States.
Schedule a US visa appointment in Australia
Every applicant from the age of 14 to the age of 79 that applies for a USA visa from Australia must schedule a US visa appointment with the US consulate, embassy or American visa application center for an interview. Applicants under 14 and over 80 are eligible to apply by a courier since they do not have to attend an interview.
In Australia, there is one US embassy in Canberra, and three Consulates in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Schedule your interview online, or through a call center.
Attend the American visa interview
On the day of your appointment, show up on time, since if you are late they will probably cancel your appointment. Have all your documents with you, and nicely organized so you will not have a mess in your hands when you meet the consular officer.
Before you attend the interview, which in general is a meeting with a consular officer (interviewer), the embassy/consulate staff will collect, data enter and examine your application documents. You will have to give your biometrics, meaning they will scan fingerprints, and then you will have a few-minutes-short interview with a consular officer.
To increase your chances of having a successful U.S. Visitor Visa application you can use the services of VisaExpress.
Types of US Visa for Australian Citizens
The US visas are categorized in two main types, through which Australian nationals can enter and remain in the country for a limited or unlimited time, depending on the specific type of visa:
- The US immigrant visas, which enable their holder to live and work in the US
- The US non-immigrant visas, which enable their holder to enter the country for reasons like tourism, medical reasons, study, seasonal work etc.
E-3 Visa for Australian Citizens
The US E-3 visa program is also known as the Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia. The US immigration authorities have established the E-3 Visa only for the Australian citizens. Nationals of other countries are not eligible to apply for this visa.
The E-3 visa is only for Australian citizens who wish to work in the US in occupations that:
- require from the applicant to possess a higher education qualification (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral Degree)
- have a body of specialized knowledge and is practical
Though it is not specified what type of jobs qualify as specialty occupations, the jobs listed below (and similar) are included:
- political scientists
- medical practitioners
- business managers etc.
The main requirements than an Australian has to fulfill in order to qualify for this type of US visa are as follows:
- Be an Australian citizen (Australian permanent residence holders do not qualify).
- Have a job offer in the US, which must qualify as a specialty occupation.
- Have the required educational and job experience qualifications.
- If applicable, the applicant must have the necessary licenses to practice the specialty occupation.
US Visa Application Processing Time in Australia
When applying for a US visa from Australia, successful applications take no more than three to five workdays to get approved. Despite that, sometimes the application processing may take up to 6 months or even longer.
Your passport will remain at the embassy while your application is being processed. After the approval or rejection of your US visa, the embassy or consulate will deliver your passport. You cannot collect your passport by yourself.
In case of Visa Denial
In the case of denial of US visa from Australia, you will not be able to get your visa fee money back. However, you can still re-apply in the future by submitting a new application. Note that for each new application you will need to pay the US visa fee again.
In order for your application not to get rejected for the same reason again, you should present proof of changes in the circumstances since your previous application that got rejected.