ESTA for Australian Citizens
Citizens of Australia are able to apply for an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), as Australia has been part of the VWP since 1996. Australian citizens can benefit from the much faster and simpler processing of ESTA compared to applying for a traditional US visa.
ESTA Requirements and Important Information
- A valid, biometric passport is required
- ESTA valid for visits of up to a maximum 90 days
- For travellers either arriving by sea or flying to the US
- ESTA is valid for two years, or until passport expires
- Use for tourism, business, medical or transit
- Children require their own ESTA
- Allows multiple visits to the US
Benefits of Applying for ESTA for Australian Citizens
Australian citizens are eligible to apply for an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program, which includes a set of countries that have been approved by the US government. Since 1996, Australian citizens have been able to use an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), simply by completing an ESTA form. The ESTA application form is an online form that comprises of a set of questions that are used to determine whether the applicant is approved to visit the US under the conditions of the ESTA.
The information supplied for the Australian citizen’s ESTA application is reviewed by the authorities to assess whether the applicant is deemed to be a risk to the US. For example, they will be screened for links to terrorism, as well as have any other criminal activity scrutinised.
Before the ESTA was available for Australian citizens to visit the US, they would require a visa, which takes considerably longer to obtain. Usually, a visa will only be granted if the applicant visit the US Embassy and has an interview to decide whether their visa will be approved.
How to Apply for ESTA
Australian citizens can complete the online ESTA form that will take less than 30 minutes to complete. They will need to provide their passport details, personal information and answer the eligibility criteria questions. It is advised that the application is made at least 72 hours before the person is due to travel to the US. This is because the processing time could be delayed, this has happened before where the system has crashed and travellers were unable to take their intended flights.
As well as having a valid passport, applicants need to have a valid email address for correspondence regarding the application and a payment card to use for the payment of the application fee.
Important Advice for ESTA Application
Any errors on the application could result in it being refused or delayed, so it is very important to take your time and be careful when providing information like your passport number to avoid mistakes. If you have adequate time, it is better to apply for your ESTA several weeks in advance of your travel plans for the US, as this will give you more time to resolve any issues and re-apply if necessary.
What to do if ESTA is Declined
If your ESTA application is declined, you may still be able to apply for a visa to enable you to travel to the US. Explore the different types of US visas and their requirements to determine whether you are eligible to apply for one and then start the application process by scheduling an interview with the US Embassy.
The address of the US Embassy in Australia is:
US Embassy Canberra
There are also consulates in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Benefits of ESTA for Australian citizens:
- Quick processing time
- Can visit US for tourism, business, medical or transit
- Valid for visits of less than 90 days
- Application quick to complete
- Form can be completed on mobile or desktop
- Able to use for multiple visits to US