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Do Australians Need A Visa For USA ?

Do Australians Need A Visa For USA ? - ESTA for Australian Citizens
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Years ago, Australians seeking to visit the United States needed to go through the arduous process of applying for a traditional Embassy visa, also known as a sticker visa or stamp visa. Today, for the majority of Australian citizens seeking to visit the USA for tourism or business, there’s an alternative to the traditional Embassy visa. Australian citizens are now encouraged to apply for an electronic travel document called ESTA (short for Electronic System for Travel Authorization) which makes short visits to the US much easier than applying for a standard Embassy visa.

This article covers why Australians are eligible for an ESTA to the USA, the benefits of ESTA, the answers to some common questions regarding ESTA, and information about how Australian citizens can get ESTA for their visit to the USA.

Sections:

  1. What is ESTA? Background and general information
  2. ESTA details: Validity and trip length
  3. Common questions regarding ESTA:
    • How long can I stay in the USA?
    • Can I enter the USA with ESTA after visting Cuba?
    • Does my ESTA reset after visiting Canada or Mexico?
    • How many times in a row can I enter the US with separate ESTAs?
    • Can I use ESTA to transit through the US?
  4. Applying for ESTA as an Australian citizen

1. What is ESTA? What are the differences between ESTA and a traditional Embassy visa, and who is eligible for ESTA?

ESTA is an official digital travel document issued by the US government. Applications for ESTA can be made online. This is quite different from applying for a traditional Embassy visa, which requires visits to an American Embassy or Consulate, a relatively long waiting period, and undergoing interviews with American officials. The ESTA process is much simpler: You can apply online with Evisa Express right from your own home. Successful applicants can expect to obtain their official, approved ESTA in 72 hours or less.

Australians are eligible for ESTA because Australia is a member of the US’s Visa Waiver Program, along with 37 other countries.  

Differences between ESTA and a traditional Embassy visa include:

Traditional Embassy visa:

  • Good for longer trips to the US (more than 90 days)
  • Allows residency, employment with a US company, studying at a US university
  • Longer wait time to obtain; applicant must travel to Embassy or Consulate for interviews

ESTA:

  • Good for trips under 90 days
  • Ideal for tourism and short business trips
  • Reduced visa-related waiting time and financial expense before and during the trip
  • Application and issuance take place online, often within 72 hours

2. ESTA details: Validity and trip length

ESTA allows quite a bit of flexibility for Australian travelers. An official ESTA grants the bearer the following privileges:

  • Australian citizens may remain in the US for up to 90 consecutive days
  • ESTA allows Australian citizens multiple entries into the USA
  • An approved ESTA may be used up to 2 years after the date it is issued, or until the expiration of the bearer’s passport (whichever comes first)

3. Common questions about travel to the United States with ESTA

How long can I stay in the USA? Can I extend my ESTA to be longer than 90 days?

Australians staying in the US with ESTA may stay a maximum of 90 days. ESTA cannot be renewed or extended. You must leave the US before your ESTA expires, or face consequences. Travelers may apply for another visa or a new ESTA (for trips of less than 90 days), but only from outside the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the islands.

Can I enter the USA with ESTA after visting Cuba?

There is no explicit ban on entering the US on ESTA after visiting Cuba, but, like with all other entry scenarios, the ultimate decision rests with US travel authorities.

Does my ESTA reset after visiting Canada or Mexico?

If you have separate permission from the Canadian or Mexican government to visit those countries, you may enter and exit them at will throughout the duration of your ESTA. However, all time spent in those countries counts toward the 90 days of your ESTA stay. Your ESTA does not reset to 90 days when you re-enter the USA from Canada or Mexico.

How many times in a row can I enter the US with separate ESTAs?

There is no official limit, but all entry to the US is decided by the immigration officials working at the port of your attempted entry.

Can I use ESTA to transit through the US on my way somewhere else?

In most cases, yes. However, please note that your total time in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the islands cannot be more than 90 days in total. Therefore, if you are planning to stay in any of those places for more than 90 days, you cannot use a US ESTA to transit into them, because this will lead to an ESTA visit exceeding more than 90 days.

4. How can I get an ESTA?

The application process for your official, United States-issued ESTA is simple and efficient when you apply with Evisa Express. The vast majority of applications are approved in 72 hours or less. Simply gather your trip details, your valid Australian passport, a recent digital photo that meets passport standards, and a method of online payment. Our application process is streamlined, and our team of Evisa Experts is standing by 24/7 to help you with any questions. Evisa Express: You take care of your trip; we take care of your visa.

 

Dawid Stawiarski
11 March 2020
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