Do Aussies Need a Visa for USA?

Australian citizens travelling to the US do not need a visa, provided that they match the criteria for the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Australia is a member of the Visa Waiver Program, which means Aussies are entitled to apply to an ESTA instead of a visa, if they are visiting for business or tourism purposes and their stay in the US will be for less than 90 days.

How does the ESTA application work?

Citizens of Australia are able to apply for an ESTA by completing an onlineform that usually takes around 10 minutes to complete. It is recommended that applicants submit their application at least 72 hours prior to their intended trip to the US, to allow for processing time. However, in many instances, the ESTA is processed within a few hours, or even less.

Why Australians should apply for ESTA?

The ESTA application is much easier, faster and also cheaper than applying for a US visa. All you need to do is fill in the details on the form, provide your passport information and answer a few other questions, then pay your application fee and submit your application. You will then receive a response via email to confirm whether your ESTA has been accepted. If the ESTA is accepted, then it will be electronically linked to the applicant’s passport ready for when they enter the US. There is a requirement that the applicant has a machine-readable biometric passport.

If the purpose of the trip is not for tourism or business, for example, if the applicant is going to the US to study, or they are seeking employment, or they want to stay in US for longer than 90 days, they would need to apply for a US visa. As well as filling in a longer from, the application fee is more expensive and the applicant will also need to arrange and attend an interview with the US embassy as part of the process. Typically, the visa will take several weeks or months for the visa to be processed, compared to just a few hours with the ESTA.

Other benefits of using an ESTA

When Aussies get an ESTA approved, it will be valid for two years, or until their passport expires (whichever date is the soonest). During that period of time, the ESTA can be used for several trips to the US. This makes it ideal for people that might be making regular business trips to the US, or people who have family or friends that they wish to visit several times over the two years.

What could prevent an ESTA application from being approved?

There are a number of different reasons that an ESTA application could be declined, particularly if there is any indication that the person would be a security risk, or if they have certain medical conditions or history of illness. There are also questions on the ESTA form related to places that the applicant has travelled to, which could affect the application. Anyone who has previously over-stayed an ESTA could also see their application declined.





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