Of the five destinations of the Pacific that I specialize in, the only country that requires a tourist visa is Australia. I’ve done the dirty work of sorting through the visa application process and I’m going to break it down into 7 easy steps.

Before we get started, do you know the difference between a passport and a visa? Because I didn’t know until I studied the travel industry.
The simplest explanation is this:

  • A passport allows you back into your home country, and a visa allows you into the country you’re visiting.

The most important thing that you need to know is whether or not a country requires a visa, because without one, you’ll find yourself turned away and heading home - and that is the saddest sentence a travel advisor could ever write.

map of australia with push pins

Ready to visit Australia? Here’s what you need to know:

  1. PLAN AHEAD: You need a visa before you leave for your Australian vacation. I repeat - do NOT leave home without first applying and being approved for your Australian visa.

  2. APPLY ONLINE: Yay for technology! You don’t even have to wait in long lines reminiscent of the DMV. You can start the application process by following this link here. Choose the option for holiday or vacation.

  3. FOLLOW THE PROMPTS: A drop-down menu will prompt you to input the required information: what country issued your passport and your age. Click next.

  4. COMPARE: The website is going to show you a list of the visas recommended for you. Read each recommendation carefully! You even have the option to compare visas.

  5. CHOOSE: In general, an American visiting Australia for leisure is going to apply for the Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601).

  6. GATHER YOUR INFO: You’ll need your passport, a valid email address, and a credit card to apply. Once you’ve applied and paid the fees, wait for approval before jetting off to the land Down Under.

  7. BE ALERT: Be sure to read all of the fine print! If you plan on renewing your passport or changing your name, wait to apply for the visa until after this is done. The visa is linked to your passport number, therefore any changes made would invalidate the visa. Always read all of the information. Taking the few extra minutes to be thorough could mean the difference between a perfectly smooth vacation and a ruined one.

open passport being held

It’s so important to note that it is your job as the traveler to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row. Consult with your travel advisor about what documentation is needed for your destination, and they’ll gladly give you the info. From there, it is your responsibility to follow through on applying and double checking that all is in order. Another great resource to refer to is the U.S. Department of State website. Here you can find travel document requirements, vaccine requirements, and travel advisories.

Now that you know how to get your visa, let’s start planning that Australian adventure you’ve been dreaming of!