Do You Need a Visa to Visit Australia?
It takes more to visit Australia than just a plane ticket.
All travelers planning a trip Down Under will require some kind of advance permission. Many can apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which admits visitors to Australia for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days.
Citizens of Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States may apply for an ETA online. Citizens from other countries must apply for their ETA or visa through a travel agent, airline, or at an Australian visa office. The average processing time for an ETA is less than one day.
An ETA is a type of electronic visa that doesn’t require a label, stamp, or sticker in your physical passport. It costs $20 AUD to apply online (that's a little less than $15 USD). Travelers from the U.S. who have a valid ePassport (a passport containing an electronic chip) may also use Australia’s automated border processing system, SmartGate, when they arrive for no additional fee.
Though Australia typically does not require travelers requesting a tourist visa to submit to medical screening, the country has notably strict health restrictions for entrance at the border. Permanent residents, as well as temporary visitors who will work or study in Australia in any medical capacity, are tested for tuberculosis, if over the age of 11, as well as HIV/AIDS and a chest x-ray, if over the age of 15.
Visa applicants who have active tuberculosis will not be allowed into the country unless they undergo treatment and are declared free of the disease. Visa applications who are HIV positive are admitted on a case-by-case basis.
Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection website states that decisions “will be made on the same grounds as with any other pre-existing medical condition. The main factor to be taken into account is the cost of the condition to the Australian community for health care and community services.”
Visitors who overstay their visas — even for a short period — may be detained or deported by Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection.