Foreign visitors need a legal authorization to enter Australia. Citizens of a few eligible nations can apply for the Australia ETA or eVisitor for short-term stays related to tourism and business. Travelers from other countries who are visiting for tourism and business can apply for a visitor visa subclass 600.
Australia also offers different types of visas for long-term stays, frequent visits and permanent residency to foreigners.
Regulations on Importation
A passenger can import goods free of duty if they carry them themselves. Travelers aged 18 years and over can bring general goods not exceeding AUD 900, while the limit is AUD 450 for persons under 18 years of age. These goods can range from gifts, souvenirs, cameras, electronic equipment, leather goods, perfume concentrates, to jewelry, watches and sporting equipment. Personal goods are duty-free if they have been owned and used by the passenger overseas for 12 months or more, or if they are imported temporarily, albeit a security deposit may be required by Customs. The free import policy also extends to alcohol, with a limit of 2.25 liters of alcohol per person aged 18 years or over, and tobacco, limited to 25 cigarettes or 25 grams of cigars or tobacco products per person aged 18 years or over.
No importation goes without notice. Be aware there are penalties for not declaring prohibited and restricted goods and for making false declarations on your incoming or outgoing passenger card.
Regulations on Arms and Ammunition
Import of any kind of firearms, weapons and ammunition including real and replica firearms and BB air guns, knives and electric shock devices requires declaration. Special permits and police authorization are needed for some items. Weapons and ammunition can be packed as checked luggage with the approval of the airline.
Regulations on Wild Fauna and Flora
The importation of endangered species and their products, whether plants or live animals, is regulated or outright forbidden under CITES.
Additional Regulations Information
There are specific restrictions on the import of some goods. Importation of certain drugs and medicines, fruits, food, firearms/weapons, and intellectual property may need import permits. Similarly, restricted medications are allowed only if they have been prescribed to the passenger.
All food, plant material and animal products must be declared on the Incoming Passenger Card and inspected by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service upon arrival in Australia. Quarantine risk goods might undergo treatment or documentation procedures prior to entry. These goods can be quarantined, seized, returned to the country of origin, or destroyed.
Regulations for Crew members
Crew members need to fill out the ABF Form B465, titled Crew Declaration.
Regulations for Pets
Pets from AQIS approved countries are allowed into Australia. Pets have to travel as manifested cargo, not as accompanied or unaccompanied baggage. The travel container must accord with the standards specified in the container requirements of IATA live animals regulations. The container must be proof against nose or paw penetration. The importation of five dangerous dog breeds is absolutely forbidden under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956.
Regulations for Baggage Clearance
Baggage is cleared at the first port of entry in Australia. Exceptionally, transit passengers' baggage with a destination outside of Australia is exempted if passengers do not leave the transit area. Passengers traveling from Norfolk Isl. and transiting in mainland Australia must proceed to Australian Border Force control and collect their baggage.
Last updated on Aug 17, 2023
International travelers who are planning to visit Australia anytime soon should know that they need proper authorization from the Australian government to do so. Based on the purpose of the visit, duration of the stay, and nationality, foreigners can get different types of visas. Here’s what foreign travelers need to know to visit Australia.
For example, Americans are eligible for the Australian Electronic Travel Authorization. Canadian citizens are also eligible.
Foreigners who wish to work or want to go for a working holiday in Australia need a work visa and students who want to pursue higher education and enroll in courses that are longer than three months need a study permit visa.
Australia has various visa programs for foreigners who want to travel to the country.
The Australia ETA is a visa waiver granted to citizens of eligible foreign countries. Travelers visiting Australia on an electronic travel authorization can stay in the country for three months at a time. The purpose of the visa is tourism and business meetings and visitors on this visa cannot engage in paid employment or profitable activities.
See here for a guide on how to get the ETA for Australia.
Foreigners from ETA-entitled countries can apply for this visa waiver through the official mobile application of the Australian government. The Australia eVisitor is a visa waiver granted to travelers of eligible countries to visit Australia for the purpose of tourism and business. This is usually issued to citizens of European countries.
Travelers eligible for the eVisitor can log in to Australian Immigration’s official website by creating an ImmiAccount.
Australia visitor visa subclass 600 is issued to travel enthusiasts from all visa-required foreign countries. Visitors from these countries can apply for the visa using their ImmiAccount. However, they may need to undergo medical and character assessments and have to submit health check reports from approved hospitals and police verification certificates.
Foreigners with criminal convictions can apply for an Australia visitor visa subclass 600 for short-term stays of up to 90 days. They will be allowed to enter after a character assessment by the officials of the Australian Ministry of home affairs. Foreigners who wish to join a course of study that is longer than three months will have to apply for a Study visa.
Citizens of foreign countries who are visiting Australia for work should get a work visa. Note that foreigners who want to visit Australia for a working holiday should apply for a work visa, not ETA.
The country also offers skilled foreigners long-term visas and permanent residency.
Travelers can visit Australia by air and water. Being an island nation, Australia is not connected to other countries by road or rail. However, prominent cities and tourist destinations in the country are well connected by road and rail.
By air: The only continent nation on earth, Australia has over 15 international airports across the country. Australian cities and states to are connected by regular flights.
By water: Being an island nation, Australia has well-established waterways connecting many foreign countries. Holidaymakers can go on a cruise trip to New Zealand, South Africa, and many other countries from Australian seaports.
Note that all foreigners arriving in Australia by cruise or flight need a visa. Only citizens of New Zealand are exempt from this rule. They can get a visa on arrival at the port of entry.
Foreigners visiting Australia need proper identification and travel documents. Passports are internationally recognized identity documents. Visitors should have a passport with a minimum validity of six months.
Travelers from countries eligible for an Australia eVisitor or ETA visa should ensure that their passport validity does not expire before the electronic visa validity. Since the electronic travel authorization is digitally linked to their e-passports, the validity of the ETA or eVisitor ends with that of their passports.
International tourists have to inform the authorities about their travel plans and accommodation details. They also need to share their contact details in Australia with the authorities and inform them if there are any changes in the given details during their stay. They also strictly adhere to the visa conditions explained in the visa grant letter. They need to show their passports and other travel documents at the immigration counter while leaving the country as well.
Foreigners cannot extend their visa once it expires, especially short-term visas.
If the visa conditions do not prevent travelers from extending their stay, they can apply for a visa extension before the validity of the existing visa ends. They will be granted a Bridging Visa A. This gives them legal permission to stay in the country till their application for the new visa gets approved. They cannot leave the country during this waiting period.
If they want to leave the country and re-enter before the new visa gets approved, they have to get a Bridging Visa B. If the visa expires, foreigners cannot apply for a new visa or visa extension while in Australia.
Foreigners can apply for all types of Australian visas online. In some cases, they may need to submit additional documents and medical and police verification certificates. The processing time and fee also differ based on the type of visa.
However, short-term visas like an Australian ETA and eVisitor will be delivered within a few minutes. Citizens of eligible countries can apply for the ETA through the official mobile application launched by the Australian government. For other visas, applicants need to create an ImmiAccount and apply on the official website of Australian Immigration.
At present, Australia has opened its borders to travelers from across the world. They do not need to provide a COVID-19 negative test result or vaccination certificate.
Masks are mandatory in inbound flights and vessels. However, this can be temporary and Australia may impose COVID-19 restrictions in case of a spurt in cases. Also, note that COVID-19 restrictions can differ in different states while traveling domestically in Australia. It is important to learn about them before making travel plans.
Both travel insurance and medical insurance are not mandatory requirements to visit Australia. Nonetheless, foreigners are encouraged to get them to help them in unforeseeable situations in an unknown country.
While traveling, there may be a number of things that can go wrong and visitors may find themselves in a financial bind in a foreign land. It is always good to be prepared to face them.
It is highly recommended that international travelers register their trips with their respective state departments. This will help them stay informed about any safety situations while in Australia. This way, they can get in touch with their family and officials of the state department in cases of emergency situations like natural disasters and unrest.
Before or during an international trip, travelers are advised to get in touch with their nation’s embassy in Australia. Keep the contact details of the embassy officials and location details handy. They will be highly helpful in case of an emergency.
See Australia Visa Policy for a more in depth explanation of the regular visa process. This may include different visa types, steps behind completing an application, and processing times.