Visitors Guide
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Genaral Info

An Australian Government guide for intending visitors to Australia - included is important information about visas, Customs clearance, Quarantine, health issues, communications equipment and other issues which impact on all visitors to Australia.

The Australian Government welcomes all intending visitors to Australia. Intending visitors to Australia will find this website contains essential information about visa, Customs, quarantine and other requirements applying to all visitors to Australia.

The information on this website will help you enjoy Australia's your visit to Australia and its many beautiful and unique tourist attractions.

To help you plan a successful visit, there are some laws we need to advise you about. Before visiting Australia, you should:

Red Dot obtain a visa/Electronic Travel Authority, unless you are a citizen of New Zealand;
Red Dot arrange for health insurance, including ambulance coverage; and
Red Dot be aware that you may not be allowed to work in Australia during your stay.

Australia has strict laws to protect its citizens and natural environment. Penalties may be imposed if you breach those laws by importing:

Red Dot illicit drugs;
Red Dot animal or plant material;
Red Dot firearms, weapons or ammunition;
Red Dot protected wildlife and products made from them;
Red Dot some food items; and
Red Dot some medicinal products, including performance enhancing drugs.

The Government of Australia is pleased to welcome you to our country, and hopes your trip is enjoyable.

Note: The information on this website was correct in March 2000, but the Australian Government reserves the right to amend this information at any time.

Travelling to Australia

new  Apply for a visitor or business visa - click here.

General visa requirements

Anyone who is not an Australian citizen needs a valid visa/Electronic Travel Authority (ETA - see below) to enter and spend time in Australia.

Before travelling to Australia

With the exception of New Zealand citizens travelling on New Zealand passports, all foreign nationals must obtain a visa/ETA before travelling to Australia. (New Zealand citizens are issued with a visa on arrival in Australia.)

Visas are available from Australian visa offices such as Australian Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates. They are also available, in ETA form, from travel agents and airlines in certain countries.

Please note that:

airlines may refuse to allow travellers to board their aircraft without valid visas/ETAs and passports;
it is recommended that intending visitors first obtain a visa/ETA before purchasing airline tickets or entering into any other financial commitments dependent upon entry to Australia;
Visas/ETAs are issued subject to a range of conditions; and
tourists are not allowed to work during their visit to Australia. Penalties apply to tourists who breach this 'no work' condition.

Types of visas

The type of visa you will need depends on how long you wish to stay in Australia and what you want to do during your stay.

Short Stay Visas (for up to 3 months). Australia provides short stay visas in two forms - the Electronic Travel Authority and the non-electronic 'label' visa, as described below.

Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)

An ETA is an electronically stored authority to travel to Australia for a short stay and no visa label is placed in the passport.

ETAs are available from participating travel agencies when making travel arrangements, or though participating airlines, as well as at Australia visa offices overseas.

ETAs are available to holders of the following passports approved for ETA: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, AUK-British Citizen, UK-British National (overseas), USA and the Vatican.

Note that holders of Taiwan passports can only be processed for an ETa if resident in and applying in Taiwan. Holders of UK passports which indicate their nationality to be British National (overseas) cannot be processed for an ETA by a travel agent or airline outside Hong Kong.

ETAs are available for tourism and short stay business purposes. Tourist ETAs and short validity, single entry business ETAs, are free of any Government charge. There is a charge for long validity business entry ETAs.

Non-electronic 'label' visas

If you do not hold a passport approved for ETA, you will need to apply for a 'label' visa. There are two main types of short stay 'label' visas.

Tourist visas - usually provide for a stay of up to 3 months on each visit. However, in limited circumstances it is possible to obtain a tourist visa for a stay of more than 3 months. A tourist visa does not permit you to work in Australia. A non-refundable Australian Government application fee is charged.

Short stay business visas - provide for a stay in Australia of up to 3 months for business purposes. This visa allows you to take part in meetings or conferences on behalf of your business in your home country, and also allows you to take part in some short-term projects or events. If in doubt, the purpose of the visit should be discussed with the Australian visa office overseas. A non-refundable Australian Government application fee is charged.

Temporary residence visas

The business ETA and visa is available to people intending to come to Australia temporarily to undertake some highly-skilled activities involving very short term projects or events. This applies only to visits of up to 3 months.

For people wanting to come to Australia for more than 3 months, there is a range of temporary residence visas available. Sponsorship from an Australian organisation or prospective employer may be required. There are temporary residence visas available to cover the following:

sport - for amateur or professional sport people with an established reputation in their field of sport, who have been invited to take part in competitions or training programs or undertake coaching;
media and film staff - for correspondents and other professional media staff posted to Australia by overseas news organisations, and photographers and film and television teams making documentaries or commercials exclusively for overseas markets;
entertainment/cultural - for people involved in the entertainment industry and in cultural events and activities. The need to protect the employment of Australians in the industry is taken into account when visa grant is considered;
study - for people who want to undertake registered courses on a full-time basis;
working holiday maker (WHM) - for young people from countries with which Australia has reciprocal WHM agreements, who wish to holiday in Australia for an extended period and to supplement their funds through incidental work;
employment - for employers to recruit key personnel and overcome temporary skilled labour shortages.

For further visa and entry information, please contact an Australian visa office
or visit the website

Visa expiry

Don't overstay your visa! If your visa is about to expire, you should leave Australia or seek advice from a Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs office.


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Last modified: 04/05/04