Australia Passport Requirements
by Yu Qing
Are you excited about your trip to Australia? Home of the Great Barrier Reef and Nicole Kidman, Australia has a great deal to offer tourists. To make sure your vacation goes smoothly, make sure you have thought through the logistics of getting to Australia. This guide will take you through Australia passport and other entry requirements.
The first entry requirement for travel to Australia is an up-to-date passport. American citizens get passports from the U.S. Department of State. If you are applying for the first time, go to the Department of State website (link can be found in the Resources section) and print out the "Application for a U.S. Passport." After you fill out the application, gather your proof of citizenship (one of the following: a previously issued passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or a certificate of citizenship) identification (one of the following: a previously issued passport, naturalization certificate, driver's license, government ID, military ID), and two passport photos. Finally, you need to apply in person at a local acceptance facility or passport agency. If you are leaving for Australia in less than two weeks, you can make an appointment at al passport agency and forgo the long waiting period.
In addition to a valid passport, Australia also requires an Australian travel visa. You can apply for various travel visas---from a tourist visa to a student visa---at an Australian consulate. To find locations, visit the Australian government website (link included in the Resources section).
An Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) can replace the travel visa. You can apply through the Australian Travel Authority website (link found in Resources section).
Those exempt from obtaining a travel visa or ETA prior to arriving in Australia are Australian and New Zealand citizens.
Customs and Quarantine
Before you can begin your vacation, you will likely be checked for items that are restricted by Australian customs laws. The laws strictly prevent drugs, steroids, firearms, weapons and protected wildlife. Moreover, do not bring fresh fruit, food, seeds, skin or feathers in your luggage. Having an idea of Australian customs laws will prevent unhappy experiences at the airport.
Australian authorities also have the right under the 1908 Quarantine Law to prevent entry into Australia if diseases pose a threat to Australian welfare. If there is a health emergency with a communicable disease, Australian officials may subject tourists to strict health screening.
Make sure you are aware of the allowed timeframe for your Australian travel visa or Electronic Travel Authority. Depending on the nature of your travel, the duration of your travel visa will vary. The allowed duration for a visit with an ETA is three months.
Be forewarned that those overstaying the duration of their travel visa or ETA may be subject to detention, exclusion and removal.
It is prudent to register with your country's embassy upon arrival in Australia. Registering with your embassy will make it easier for the embassy to contact you should emergencies occur. Your country may offer the option of registering online. American citizens can do this at the U.S. Department of State website. If your country does not offer online registration, or if you lack Internet access, register upon your arrival in Australia at the nearest embassy.