This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are 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.