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Travel in Australia and New Zealand

Understanding Australia's Entry Requirements

Before traveling to a different country, it's important to fully understand any entry requirements that may exist. After all, the time to know that you need a visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is before you arrive at the country's borders. If you're planning a trip to Australia, whether for a short trip or a longer stay, here is some information about the country's entry requirements that will help you plan ahead.

What You Should NOT Bring into Australia

Knowing what you should not bring into a country is extremely important. In the case of Australia, be aware that the country has very strict quarantine laws when it comes to bringing many products across the border. These quarantine laws apply to items such as fruits and vegetables, seeds, some animal products, and many fresh and even packaged foods. If you have snacks with you that you've been consuming during your flight to Australia, be sure to avail yourself of the amnesty bins you'll find in the airport arrival area.

It's also important to note that Australia has strict requirements in regards to firearms, steroids, and many other drugs. If you have drugs you need to take, be sure to do your research before taking your trip to make sure you won't run into any problems at the border.

Entry Requirements

If you're traveling to Australia and are not a citizen of New Zealand, you'll need to have an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or a visa in order to gain entry. If you're a national of the United States, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK, Ireland, South Korea or most of the European countries, an ETA is often the best approach to take. An ETA will allow you to stay in the country for a period of time less than three months. It also remains valid for a year, allowing the opportunity for multiple entries over that time if required. You can apply online for an ETA directly through www.eta.immi.gov.au. The cost of buying an ETA directly is AUS$20. You can also purchase an ETA through an airline or travel agent when you are booking your flight, although there will be a small fee included. Because of the computerized nature of ETAs, they can save you a lot of traveling hassles.

If you are a citizen of a country where an ETA is not valid, you can apply for a tourist visa. A tourist visa will also be required if you plan to stay in Australia for longer than three months. A tourist visa costs AUS$100, and is good for a three to six month time period. You can easily procure a tourist visa online at www.immi.gov.au. If you're planning to stay in Australia for less than three months but feel that there's a good chance your stay may be extended beyond that time frame, it's a good idea to get your tourist visa in advance. By doing so, you'll avoid the higher cost of getting an $AUS125 extension once you're in Australia.

When getting a holiday visa, there is a condition of having enough funds to support yourself throughout your entire stay (minimally AUS$1,000 a month,) plus enough money to get home.

There are also working holiday visas, which are good for a twelve-month period, available to citizens of some countries. If you are interested in a working holiday visa, you'll need to make sure you qualify for one. These visas, which cost $AUS195, must be arranged for in advance. For younger travelers aged 18-30 who wish to travel and work in Australia for a period of time not exceeding four months, the Special Youth Program can also be an option. If you're planning to work in Australia in any capacity during your stay, it's best to make inquiries in advance in order to get all the necessary facts and requirements.

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