Global instability has resulted in increased security in Australian airports, in both domestic and international terminals. Customs procedures may be a little more time-consuming but are still straightforward.

Customs Regulations

For comprehensive information, contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

On arrival, declare all goods of animal or plant origin, as it's vital to protect Australia's unique environment and agricultural industries. If you fail to declare quarantine items on arrival, you risk an on-the-spot fine of over $200 or even prosecution and imprisonment. For more information contact the Australian Department of Agriculture (www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity).

Duty-free allowances:

  • Alcohol – 2.25L
  • Cigarettes – 50
  • Other goods – up to $900 value; or items for personal use that you will be taking with you when you leave.

Visas

All visitors to Australia need a visa – only New Zealand nationals are exempt, and even they sheepishly receive a ‘special category’ visa on arrival. Visa application forms are available from Australian diplomatic missions overseas, travel agents or the website of the Department of Home Affairs (www.homeaffairs.gov.au).

eVisitor (651)

  • Many European passport-holders are eligible for a free eVisitor visa, allowing visits to Australia for up to three months at a time within a 12-month period.
  • eVisitor visas must be applied for online. They are electronically stored and linked to individual passport numbers, so no stamp in your passport is required.
  • It’s advisable to apply at least 14 days prior to the proposed date of travel to Australia.

Electronic Travel Authority (ETA; 601)

  • Passport-holders from many of the European countries eligible for eVisitor visas, plus passport-holders from Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the USA, can apply for either a visitor ETA or business ETA.
  • ETAs are valid for 12 months, with multiple stays of up to three months permitted.
  • ETA visas cost $20; apply via travel agents worldwide, or online.

Visitor (600)

  • Short-term Visitor visas have largely been replaced by the eVisitor and ETA. However, if you're from a country not covered by either, or you want to stay longer than three months, you’ll need to apply for a Visitor visa.
  • Standard Visitor visas allow one entry for a stay of up to three, six or 12 months, and are valid for use within 12 months of issue.
  • Visitor visas cost from $355.

Work & Holiday (462)

  • Nationals from 20-plus countries including Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the USA, Uruguay and Vietnam who are aged between 18 and 30 can apply for a Work and Holiday visa prior to entry to Australia.
  • Once granted, this visa allows the holder to enter Australia within three months of issue, stay for up to 12 months, leave and reenter Australia any number of times within those 12 months, undertake temporary employment to supplement a trip, and study for up to four months.
  • The application fee is $450.

Working Holiday Maker (WHM; 417)

  • Young visitors (aged 18 to 30) from Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK are eligible for a Working Holiday visa, which allows you to visit for up to 12 months and gain casual employment.
  • Holders can leave and reenter Australia any number of times within those 12 months.
  • Holders can only work for any one employer for a maximum of six months.
  • Apply prior to entry to Australia (up to a year in advance) – you can’t change from another tourist visa to a Working Holiday visa once you’re in Australia.
  • Conditions include having a return air ticket or sufficient funds ($5000) for a return or onward fare.
  • The application fee is $450.
  • Second Working Holiday visas can be applied for once you're in Australia, subject to certain conditions.

Visa Extensions

If you want to stay in Australia for longer than your visa allows, you’ll need to apply for a new visa (usually a Visitor visa 600). Apply online at least two or three weeks before your visa expires.