Australia requires everyone on the planet except New Zealanders (also known as "Kiwis") to obtain a visa before leaving on their trip. Tourist visas are free, they're valid for three months, and they expire one year from the date of issue.

There are two ways to apply for an Australian visa.

  1. You can apply for a three-month visa through the Electronic Travel Authority. This can be done through your travel agent, who has access through his/her computer reservation system. This process takes only a few minutes and the information is stored electronically rather than as a stamp in your passport. This method is available in both Canada and the U.S., and is so convenient that you should not even bother reading about the second method.

  2. You can get yourself a paper application in the U.S. at:

    Australian Embassy
    1601 Massachusetts Ave NW
    Washington D.C., 20036-2273
    Voice: (202) 797 3000
    Fax: (202) 797 3100
    Counter hours: 8:30am - 12.30pm


    Australian Consulate General
    2049 Century Park East, 19th Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90067
    Voice: (310) 229-4840
    Fax: (310) 277-5620

    And in Canada, at:

    Australian High Commission
    50 O'Connor Street, #710
    Ottawa, ON KIP6L2
    Voice: (613) 783-7665
    Fax: (613) 236-4376

Don't mess around with these visas. If you don't have one, the stewardess won't let you on the plane. Then you'll cry. And the stewardess will laugh. Also, be aware when purchasing your plane ticket that you will have to prove to Australian customs officials that you will be able to leave the country, either through the return portion of your ticket, or with a ticket elsewhere.

It is a serious offense to overstay your visa. If your three months fly by and you find yourself wanting to stay longer, visit the Department of Immigration and Multi-Cultural Affairs.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW plan a trip to Australia?