All Australian citizens are required to produce a visa waiver upon arrival in the US. What this means is that there is no physical Australian visa for the USA however there is a program which requires applications from all eligible foreign nationals in order to travel to the US for tourism, business or medical purposes.
The name for this system is ESTA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
The ESTA visa waiver allows Australian citizens to enter the US for short periods of up to 90 days for tourism, business or medical purposes without the need for a visa from the embassy or consulate. Before traveling, citizens must find out if they comply with the entry requirements for the ESTA application for Australia. In the past a visa waiver was not necessary but it is now compulsory for all Australian citizens traveling to the USA.
The ESTA visa waiver system has been put into place to improve security at the US border as well as to regulate the number of visitors and control their security information. Pre-screening of Australian visitors to the US allows the government to ensure the security of their citizens by restricting access to those who may be a threat to national security either through the health system, politically or socially.
For citizens traveling to the USA from Australia the ESTA is a simple and quick alternative to the typical embassy visa allowing them entry into America.
This visa waiver for Australia is not a visa, it is an authorization to travel to the US. Bear in mind that the ESTA is not guaranteed for all Australian citizens as there are certain restrictions and the final decision for admittance to the US is authorized by the US customs and border control (US Department of Homeland Security).
Australia, as one of the 38 Visa Waiver Program countries, benefits from the ESTA travel authorization system, allowing Australian citizens the possibility to easily and quickly obtain their travel permission for the USA online.
The ESTA application for australian citizens must be done online by all those foreign nationals who are eligible before boarding a flight to the US. You may be denied access to your flight if you do not already have your confirmed ESTA.
Eligible citizens must make the ESTA application from Australia at least 72 hours in advance of departure, as this is the approximation of how long it can take to receive the confirmed visa waiver. Usually the process and response is much faster than this but to be completely safe this is the recommended time limit.
It is necessary for all Australian citizens who apply for the ESTA to have a machine readable passport with the electronic chip symbol. This is a prerequisite for obtaining the ESTA visa from Australia because the visa waiver will be electronically linked to the citizen’s passport and therefore there will be no need for extra paperwork or waiting for a stamp at the destination airport.
The ESTA Visa Waiver Australia can be obtained through an ESTA online application platform which will require personal information from each applicant as well as information from the applicant’s passport and finally he or she will need to respond to some basic security questions about traveling habits before paying the visa waiver fee and submitting the application.
After receiving the confirmation via e-mail, the australian citizen with the approved visa waiver can travel to the US for a total of 90 consecutive days and the confirmed ESTA is valid for a total of 2 years for multiple entries, whilst the same passport remains valid.