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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Chase Sapphire Reserve

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.

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.