How to Apply for a U.S Visa From Australia?

Australians that wish to visit the US for other reasons aside of traveling, need to obtain a visa in order to be allowed to enter.

///How to Apply for a U.S visa in Australia
How to Apply for a U.S visa in Australia 2018-11-30T09:49:05+00:00

There are categories of Australians and residents in Australia that need to apply for a visa to US before heading to the United States.

Following in this article, you can learn more if you need to apply for a visa based on your purpose of entry to the US and your current situation. You will be able to learn more 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 38 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.

Who Needs to Apply for a US Visa in Australia?

Before starting to check what you need to do for a visa for USA from Australia, ask yourself “Do I need a visa for USA from Australia?”

Note that you will need to apply for a visa to Australia before heading to the US, if you belong to one of the following categories of travelers:

  • You are an Australian passport holder but:
    • You were previously rejected from entering the US with an ESTA
    • Your ESTA application was rejected
    • Your purpose of entry to US is other than tourism or business
  • You are a non-Australian national residing in Australia, who is the national of:
    • A country that does not fall under the US Visa Waiver Program
    • A country that falls under the US VWP but:
      • You were previously rejected from entering the US with an ESTA
      • Your ESTA application was rejected
      • Your purpose of entry to US is other than tourism or business

If you are unsure whether you are eligible for a US Electronic Travel Authorization, use our ESTA Eligibility Checker to find out!

US Visa Types for Australians

The US immigration authorities have established a wide number of visas according to the reason behind one’s purpose to enter the country.

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 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:

  • engineers
  • political scientists
  • medical practitioners
  • business managers etc.

The main requirements than an Australian has to fulfil in order to qualify for this type of visa are as follows:

  • The applicant needs to be an Australian citizen (Australian permanent residence holders do not qualify).
  • The applicant must have a job offer in the US, which must qualify as a specialty occupation
  • The applicant must have the required educational and job experience qualifications
  • If applicable, the applicant must have the necessary licenses to practice the specialty occupation

US Visa Required Documents for Australian Residents

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. Some of the commonly required supporting documents for a US visa are as follows:

  • 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.

Application Process 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. To apply for a US visa in Australia, you will go through these simple steps:

  1. Check what type of US visa you need.
  2. Check where you need to apply.
  3. Complete the online application form.
  4. Pay the machine readable visa (MRV) fee.
  5. Collect the required documents for a US visa from Australia.
  6. Schedule a US visa appointment.
  7. Attend the 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 visa types you are applying for.

Check where you need to apply

If you are applying for a nonimmigrant US Visa from Australia, you will have to lodge your application at the appropriate visa center to which the US embassy has outsourced visa submission for resident 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 application form

Secondly, complete the appropriate form depending on your visa type. Note that the application forms differ according to the visa type you are applying.

After you correctly fulfill the form, click ‘submit’ and then print the confirmation page. Take this page with you when you attend the interview.

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.

There are also a couple of questions on security and background information, which include questions:

  • If you have a communicable disease of public health significance such as tuberculosis, a mental or physical disorders
  • If you have you ever been a drug abuser or addict, been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, even though subject of a pardon, amnesty, or other similar action, violated, or engaged in a conspiracy to violate, any law relating to controlled substances

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
  • Cash

The MRV Fee for visa applicants depend on the type of 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

Check what documents you need to submit depending on your 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.

Schedule a US visa appointment

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 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 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.

US Visa Application processing time

When applying for a US visa from Australia, successful applications take no more than three to five workdays to get approved. Despite of 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 visa, the embassy or consulate will deliver your passport. You cannot collect your passport by yourself.

In case of Visa Denial

In case of Visa Denial for 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 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.