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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601)

Q1. When will the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (subclass 601) come into effect?

Q2. I am a current ETA (subclass 976, 977 and 956) holder. Will my ETA be affected with the introduction of the new ETA?

Q3. Who should apply for an ETA?

Q4. What does an ETA let me do?

Q5. What business visitor activities are permitted if I am granted an ETA?

Q6. If I travel with my family, can I include them in my visa application?

Q7. How can I apply for an ETA?

Q8. I am a European passport holder eligible for an ETA and I wish to apply online.

Q9. How much will the ETA application cost?

Q10. How long will the ETA application take to process?

Q11. I received “In Progress. Enquire in 12 hours” message when applying for an ETA. What should I do?

Q12. I have checked the system after 12 hours, but my status does not show my ETA has been approved. What should I do?

Q13. I have checked the system after 12 hours, but received “Refer Applicant to Australian Embassy” message. What should I do?

Q14. My ETA has been approved with incorrect details. What should I do?

Q15. I hold a Student visa (any substantive visa), can I still be granted an ETA?

Q16. Do I need evidence of an ETA?

Q17. Can I travel on a passport with less than 6 months validity?

Q18. Can I apply for an ETA using a diplomatic or official passport?

Q19. I have obtained a new passport since being granted an ETA. Can I travel on my new passport without applying for an ETA?

Q20. I have 10 days validity left on my ETA and I wish to enter Australia tomorrow for 3 months stay. Do I need a new ETA?

Q21. What if I want to stay in Australia for longer than three months?

Q22. My travel agent advised that I cannot apply for an ETA as I have bought a one-way airline ticket to Australia. Is this true?

Q23. Where can I find further information on ETAs?

  

Q1. When will the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (subclass 601) come into effect?
A. Applicants can apply for this visa from 23 March 2013.

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Q2. I am a current ETA (subclass 976, 977 and 956) holder. Will my ETA be affected with the introduction of the new ETA?

A. If you hold one of the earlier ETAs, it will be valid until the date it expires. However, if you apply for and are granted a new ETA, the new ETA will come into effect and will cease the earlier ETA.

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Q3. Who should apply for an ETA?

A. This visa is for those who hold eligible passports who intend to visit Australia for:
See: Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601) > Who can apply > Eligible passports 

  • tourism including holidays, recreation and seeing family and/or friends, or
  • business visitor activities purposes which may include attending a conference, negotiation or an exploratory business visit.

You cannot work for or provide services to a business or organisation in Australia or sell goods or services to the public. If you are intending to carry out short-term work in Australia you should apply for the new Temporary work (short stay activity) visa (subclass 400).
See: Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa (subclass 400)

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Q4. What does an ETA let me do?

A. This visa lets you:

  • enter Australia as many times as you want for up to 12 months if you are a tourist or if you are travelling for business purposes
  • stay in Australia for up to three months on each visit
  • undertake study of up to 3 months.

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Q5. What business visitor activities are permitted if I am granted an ETA?

A. Business visitor activities include:

  • making general business or employment enquiries
  • investigating, negotiating, signing or reviewing a business contract
  • carrying out activities as part of an official government-to-government visit
  • participating in conferences, trade fairs or seminars, as long as you are not being paid by the organisers for your participation.

Business visitor activities do not include short-term work. If you wish to work in Australia, you can apply for a Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa (Subclass 400).
See: Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa (subclass 400)

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Q6. If I travel with my family, can I include them in my visa application?

A. No. Each family member travelling with you to Australia will need a separate ETA.

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Q7. How can I apply for an ETA?

A. You can apply for an ETA:

  • with a travel agent or airline at the time you book your ticket to Australia, or
  • online at Australian Electronic Travel Authority if you hold citizen passport from one of the following countries:
    • Brunei 
    • Canada 
    • Hong Kong (SAR) 
    • Japan 
    • Malaysia 
    • Singapore 
    • South Korea 
    • United States.

You must be outside Australia when you apply and when your ETA application is decided.

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Q8. I am a European passport holder eligible for an ETA and I wish to apply online.

A. European passport holders cannot apply for an ETA online and should instead apply for an eVisitor visa. If you want an ETA, please apply offline through a travel agent or airline.
See: eVisitor (subclass 651)

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Q9. How much will the ETA application cost?

A. If applying:

  • online - the Visa Application Charge (VAC) for an ETA is AUD 20
  • offline through travel agent or airline - please seek information from the relevant travel agent or airline as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has no control over the services they provide

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Q10. How long will the ETA application take to process?

A. In most cases, you will be informed of the application result immediately after you have applied. However, some applications may require additional processing.

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Q11. I received “In Progress. Enquire in 12 hours” message when applying for an ETA. What should I do?

A. This means that the system requires more time for additional processing. You are not required to contact the Visa Office and you can check the system after 12 hours to confirm if the application has been approved.

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Q12. I have checked the system after 12 hours, but my status does not show my ETA has been approved. What should I do?

A. You should send the following by fax or email to the Visa Section:
See: Visa Section Contact Details

  • a copy of the screen message,
  • the personal details page of your passport, and 
  • contact details

Please ensure this is sent at least 3 working days before the passenger is due to depart. We will respond to your request within 1 working day.

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Q13. I have checked the system after 12 hours, but received “Refer Applicant to Australian Embassy” message. What should I do?

A. You should send the following by fax or email to the Visa Section:
See: Visa Section Contact Details

  • a copy of the screen message,
  • the personal details page of your passport, and 
  • contact details

Please ensure this is sent at least 3 working days before the passenger is due to depart. We will respond to your request within 1 working day.

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Q14. My ETA has been approved with incorrect details. What should I do?

A. If you have been granted an ETA with incorrect details, you will need to apply for another ETA with correct details.

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Q15. I hold a Student visa (any substantive visa), can I still be granted an ETA?

A. No. You can instead apply for a Visitor (subclass 600) visa.
See: Visitor visa (subclass 600)

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Q16. Do I need evidence of an ETA?

A. No. ETA is an electronically stored authority for travel to Australia and is linked electronically to your passport. It can be seen by staff at airlines, travel agencies and Australian border agencies.

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Q17. Can I travel on a passport with less than 6 months validity?

A. Yes. The Australian government does not restrict entry on passports with less than 6 months validity. However, we recommend that your intended departure date is within the validity of your passport.

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Q18. Can I apply for an ETA using a diplomatic or official passport?

A. Yes.

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Q19. I have a new passport since being granted an ETA. Can I travel on my new passport without applying for an ETA?

A. No. Your ETA is linked to the passport number you used in your application, so if you have a new passport, you must apply for a new ETA.

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Q20. I have 10 days validity left on my ETA and I wish to enter Australia tomorrow for 3 months stay. Do I need a new ETA?

A. No. As long as you arrive in Australia within the validity of your ETA, you can stay in Australia for 3 months from the arrival date. (e.g. If you hold an ETA valid until 1 Sep 2016, as long as you arrive in Australia by this date, you are allowed to stay for 3 months from this date, that is until 1 Dec 2016.)

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Q21. What if I want to stay in Australia for longer than three months?

A. If you wish to stay in Australia for longer period, you should apply another type of visa, such as a Visitor visa (Subclass 600) before your current ETA expires.
See: Visitor visa (subclass 600)

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Q22. My travel agent advised that I cannot apply for an ETA as I have bought a one-way airline ticket to Australia. Is this true?

A. No. Purchasing an airline ticket and applying for a visa are two separate processes. The type of airline ticket you purchase does not in any way affect which visa for which you can apply. We strongly recommend that you obtain an ETA before purchasing an airline ticket.

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Q23. Where can I find further information on ETAs?

A. Further detailed information on ETAs can be found at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website.
See: Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)
See: Australian Electronic Travel Authority

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Last Updated 29/01/2016