An Australian visa for United States passport holders is electronically processed. You need not mail any documents for this purpose. Please read below for more information.
US citizens are eligible for two types of tourist visas. The first one is Short-Stay Electronic Travel Authority (ETA, subclass 976), and the Long Stay Tourist Visa (subclass 676).
Short Stay Electronic Travel Authority (ETA, subclass 976)
ETA is the most advanced visa authorization in the world. It replaced the need for stamps and application forms. It is an electronically stamped authorization and you will no longer need paper documentation for entry in Australia.
This visa allows you to stay in Australia for three months on each arrival, within twelve months from the time the visa was granted. Your passport number will be linked to this ETA, and that is the same passport that needs to be used to travel to Australia.
Validity rules and conditions apply under this visa. Should you not meet the following, your visa may be cancelled or subjected to penalties.
You must not engage in any study for more than three months. Working while in Australia is also prohibited, but limited volunteer work may be acceptable. You must be free from tuberculosis at the time of entry. If you are under the age of 11 and will need to attend class for more than four weeks, you will be required to pass a chest x-ray examination to do so. Additionally, when found criminally convicted, you can be refused entry to the country.
Long Stay Tourist Visa (subclass 676)
This visa is designed for passport holders not eligible for ETA, or for those who would want to stay in Australia for more than three months. It entitles you to stay in the country for up to twelve months and as single- or multiple-entry visa to Australia as well.
Unlike the ETA, processing time for this type of visa is 20 days, and you are required to submit documentation which can significantly delay this time frame. The same conditions apply as in ETA, with the additional conditions of a ‘no further stay’ clause and the need to depart the country within the validity of your tourist visa.
In addition to the requirements that were aforementioned, staying in the country for more than six months may require you to undergo a chest x-ray examination. If you are over the age of 70 as well, you will need to submit proof that you are covered by your personal health insurance while you are in Australia. You will also be required to have an examination by a certified doctor to determine if you are indeed fit to travel.
You must also be able to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself within the six to twelve month stay in Australia. You may be required to submit bank statements, pay slips, and taxation records as well.
Fees and Charges
There are no charges that apply for ETA. Subclass 676 has a AUD 105 charge which can be paid for via credit card.
Short Stay Business Visa (ETA subclass 977)
This allows for people to go to Australia for work reasons, and stay in the country for up to three months. This may be to attend conferences, close business deals, or go on an exploratory business visit. ‘Business’ as defined by the Australian immigration does not include acting, filmmaking, or any work related to musical performance.
The visa conditions operate on much the same rules as the tourist visa class. In addition to those, you must not have any criminal convictions at the time of travel, and entry to the country. You must likewise depart within the validity of the visitor visa.
Long Stay Business Visa (ETA subclass 956)
There is also the Australian Long Validity Business Visa (subclass 956), which allows businessmen repeated trips to Australia. This is for those who need to regularly travel to the country. This, however, may cost more than the short-term business visa.
Fees and Charges
There is no visa charge for subclass 977. However, a AUD 20 service fee applies. For the subclass 956, there is a AUD 90 charge for application.
You may find information related to your visa application in the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship website: www.immi.gov.au/e_visa/
The Australian Government: Department of Immigration and Citizenship
Australian Travel Visa Advisor