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US citizens enjoy visa-free access to 155 countries, but Australia isn’t one of them. However, US citizens are one of eight nationalities that can apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) online using the Australian government’s website. An ETA allows multiple entries of three months or less during a one-year period.
The ETA application process takes about five minutes to complete, and you could be instantly approved. Here’s a quick overview of the process.
Step 1: Select whether you need a Tourist ETA or a Business Visitor ETA, and certify that you are currently located outside Australia.
Step 2: Enter your passport details, whether you have an alias and whether you have a criminal record. Anyone with a criminal record can’t apply for an ETA.
Step 3: Enter your address, phone number and email. Select whether you wish to receive communication by SMS and declare whether you hold any other passports.
Step 4: Confirm your information.
Step 5: Pay the online service charge of AUD $20 (about $15) using a credit card. I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve since it has no international transaction fees — but unfortunately the charge didn’t code as travel.
You can pay agencies to apply on your behalf, and some airline customer service agents will charge you to apply on your behalf at check-in, but it’s so quick and simple that it’s no hassle to do it yourself.
The Australian government’s official line is that you shouldn’t book travel before getting an approved ETA, but considering no ETAs were denied between July 1, 2016, and December 31, 2016, you’re probably safe waiting until shortly before your trip. This could allow you to use one ETA for multiple trips within a one-year period. Most ETA applications are approved immediately and those that need additional processing are usually handled within 24 hours.
Featured image by Gallo Images / Getty Images.
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