Getting a Tourist Visa for Australia

An aerial view of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Australia

So you want to visit Australia? Whether you’re drawn to the world’s biggest island’s for its extraordinary range of wildlife, beautiful coastlines or vibrant cities, the first question to ask yourself when planning a trip down under is:

Plan your trip?

Avoid hidden fees in the exchange rate while withdrawing from millions of ATMs abroad, paying in restaurants and shops, and buying your accommodation and flights using the Wise Card. You can hold up to 40+ currencies at once to spend in in over 150 countries, and convert them in real time with the free Wise app.

Need help planning your trip from start to finish? Check out these helpful links:

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy. You can also read our content/editorial policy here.

Do I Need a Visa to Go to Australia?

Yes, unless you are from Australia or New Zealand, you need to get a visa before you travel to Australia.

There are different types of visas depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit.

In this article, we’re going to assume that you are travelling for tourism. That could be anything from visiting friends and family to sightseeing, surfing, camping, taking a road trip along the coast (remember we drive on the left side of the road), going on a walkabout, island hopping, scuba diving, chasing waterfalls, whale watching… you get the idea.

So before you start planning your itinerary through Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Magnetic Island or other top spots, you are going to have to do the slightly boring (but completely essential!) work of getting your Australia tourist visa.

The good news? You can do it all online! We’ll explain how to get your travel authorisation quickly and easily so you can spend more time planning the fun parts of your trip.

Let’s hop to it!

Sydney Opera House lit up with graphic designs by New York artist Laurie Anderson, during the Sydney Vivid Festival. Photo taken: Sydney, Australia.

Types of Visas to Visit Australia

There are two types of Australia tourist visas you can get online. The one you need depends on what country you are from.

To get technical, some people need the eVisitor (Subclass 651) visa, while others need the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA, Subclass 601).

A simple way to figure out which one you need is to visit Byevisa is an online evisa provider that explains what you need to know about your travel authorisation in simple English (bye bye, bureaucracy and jargon!) and guides you through the application process.

In a nutshell, the two types of authorisation are very similar. In both cases, you can apply online and get the confirmation in your email inbox, so you don’t have to go anywhere in person.

Adelaide Australia - People walking along the Rundle Mall in Adelaide CBD at sunset viewing towards West. Rundle Mall is the premier shopping area of South Australia

How Long is an Australian Visa Good For?

Both the Australia visitors visa and the ETA are valid for 1 year from the date of issue.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can stay in the country for a whole year. C’mon, that sounded too good to be true, didn’t it?

The reality is actually still quite good though! You can visit for up to 3 months at a time, and you can go for as many trips as you want during the 12 months that the travel pass is valid (or until your passport expires, whichever comes first).

This long validity period gives you a lot of flexibility for planning your trip. You can get your travel authorisation far ahead of time if you want to get it out of the way, maybe even before you finalise your travel dates.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 26 APRIL 2017 - HDR Image - Sydney harbour bridge and opera house. Iconic and world famous landmarks of Australia

Visa Requirements for Australia

So what do you need to apply?

You’ve got to have:

  • A valid passport.
  • A working email address.
  • A credit card, debit card, or PayPal account to pay for the online application.

You can’t have:

  • The intention to work or seek employment in Australia. These types of authorisation are for tourism or short business visits only.
  • A criminal conviction in which you were sentenced to a term of imprisonment lasting 12 months or more.
  • Tuberculosis or Yellow Fever. If you’re travelling from a country at risk of Yellow Fever, you need a vaccination certificate.

That’s pretty much it! Children of all ages are also required to get their own authorisation, so don’t forget to apply for them, too.

Australia Visa Application Process

The application is done completely online from start to finish.

This is great because unlike the visa process for other countries, you don’t have to travel to an embassy, wait in long queues, fill in forms by hand or attend a nail-biting interview.

You just fill out a form online, make your payment, and wait for the confirmation to appear in your email inbox.

What’s the application form like?

It asks for simple things, such as:

  • Your first, middle and last names.
  • Your date of birth.
  • Your nationality.
  • Your passport number.
  • Your passport issue and expiration dates.

The most important thing to remember is to enter all the information EXACTLY as it appears in your passport.

Also, before you apply, make sure to check when your passport expires. Your travel authorisation will be linked to this specific passport, so you want to make sure it will still be valid when you travel. If your passport is set to expire soon, apply for a new one and wait for it to arrive before you apply for the Australia visa.

CALOUNDRA, AUS - Hot sunny day at Kings Beach Calundra, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Frequently Asked Questions About Australia e Visas and Travel

That about covers the basics of getting the authorisation you need. We’ve included some common questions and answers below in case you’ve still got more on your mind.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Visa to Australia?

It can take as little as 1 hour to receive the confirmation in your email inbox. If you use the Byevisa service, you can choose how fast you want to get your authorisation.

How Much is an Australian Visa?

The cost of the visa itself is free, but there is a fee to apply online.

Fees start from around 20 Australian dollars, so it’s pretty easy on the wallet.

What Should I Pack for Australia?

You will definitely need your valid passport and your visa, which is linked electronically to your passport. Don’t forget to take your driver’s license if you’re planning to rent a car.

You should also bring a plug adapter, camera, waterproof phone carrier, sunscreen and insect repellent, comfortable shoes, sunglasses (or sunnies as we call them!), and layers, layers, layers!

At the airport you will find that there are strict restrictions on certain items as the country is very careful about invasive species. So to avoid any issues, do not bring any food, seeds, animal products, etc. All wooden and bamboo items must be declared and inspected. You can find more information on the government’s website.

Australia International Travel Airports 

If you’re wondering where to fly into, Australia’s biggest airports are in:

  • Sydney (airport code SYD)
  • Brisbane (BNE)
  • Melbourne (MEL)
  • Perth (PER)
  • Cairns (CNS)
  • Adelaide (ADL)
  • Darwin (DRW)
  • Gold Coast (OOL)
Vineyard in Australia's Hunter Valley

The Fun Part!

Now that you’ve got the practical travel essentials out of the way, it’s time to start planning where you want to go and what you want to see. Check out our Australia Travel Guides for inspiration.


  • Samantha King

    Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.