Planning a trip to Australia? Don't forget your visa! Here's everything you need to know about the proper paperwork for tourists.

Editor's note: during COVID-19 there are restrictions on travel and opening hours may vary. Check the latest guidance in Australia before planning a trip, and always follow local health advice.

What you need to know about visas in Australia

All visitors to Australia need a visa, except New Zealanders. There are several different visas available, from short-stay visitor visas to working-holiday visas.

How do I get a visa?

The type of tourist visa you apply for largely depends on your country of origin, and it varies in price and length of stay. You can apply for all visas through the website for the Australian Department of Home Affairs

  • The Electronic Travel Authority visa (ETA) is available to citizens of the following countries: Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong (SAR of China), Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. The ETA must be obtained ahead of your visit online, and while there is no official cost, there is a processing fee (AU$20). This visa permits you to come and go as many times as you want within a 12-month period, and you can stay for a maximum of three months each visit. Processing time is usually the matter of a few days.
  • The eVisitor visa is available to citizens of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Republic of San Marino, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom – British citizens, and the Vatican City. Like the ETA, it permits you to visit as many times as you want within a year, staying for a maximum of three months each visit. This visa is also free, but takes about 85 days to be processed; it goes into effect on the day that it's granted.
  • The Visitor Visa is available to anyone who doesn't quality for the ETA or eVisitor visas, and it permits visitors to stay up to three, six or 12 months. The Visitor Visa costs AU$145 if you apply for it outside of Australia, but if you're in Australia it costs AU$365. Both take anywhere from six to nine months to process.

Can I extend my stay once I'm in Australia?

These visas cannot be extended and instead must be renewed. The Visitor Visa is the only visa that can be obtained while inside the country, so it would be the only option if you're looking to remain in Australia without having to leave the country first.

Can I use a tourist visa for working holidays?

Visitors using the ETA and eVisitor visas are allowed to participate in some "business visitor activities" as outlined by the Australian Department of Home Affairs; check the website for the comprehensive list of approved activities. Australia also offers a variety of working holiday visa options, which vary based on your activities and country of origin. Use the Visa Finder on the Home Affairs website to help you choose the option best for you.

You might also like:

When is the best time to visit Australia?
Best national parks in Australia
Australia's 20 best road trips

Introducing Australia

Offset your next trip

Compensate your journey's carbon footprint by supporting the most impactful climate projects around the world.

Offset your next trip

Explore related stories