Australian visitors to the United States, for business or tourism, staying 90 days or less, do not need to obtain a visa. Under the Visa Waiver Program visitors of certain countries, including Australia will be allowed to enter the U.S. if certain conditions are met.
All citizens of the Visa Waiver Program are mandated to get travel authorization prior to traveling to the United States. Authorization may be obtained through the online portal, Electronic System for Travel Authorizations (ESTA). You will receive authorization within a few minutes, but it is advised to apply at least 72 hours in advance. This is a free Internet application provided by the United States Department of Homeland Security. There are unauthorized third-party websites that have been established and are charging applicants for submitting ESTA applications. These websites are not authorized by the United States government in anyway.
Australian citizens may participate in the Visa Waiver Program if they meet the following requirements:
- Citizens who are traveling for business or pleasure only. The VWP does not apply to federal government business or to members of the media.
- Citizens will be visiting for a period of 90 day or less, this includes time spent in a Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands.
- Must be in possession of an unexpired machine-readable passport (MRP).
- They have complied with previous admission under the Visa Waiver Program and are not ineligible for a U.S. visa.
- They are arriving by a signatory commercial carrier, if traveling by air or sea, and have a return ticket to a foreign destination other than the United
States and adjacent islands.
- They can demonstrate intent to stay only 90 days and have the financial means to support themselves while in the United States.
- They do not have a criminal record.
Once in the United States, be prepared to show your VWP paperwork, current passport and to be fingerprinted. When exiting the United States, you will have an exit confirmation added to your travel records to show compliance with the terms of admission. Once in the U.S., a visitor cannot extend the time on the Visa Waiver Program.
There is no limit to how many times you can enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, however, entry and re-entry into the U.S. is at the discretion of the immigration officials.
It is advisable to purchase travel insurance when traveling outside your home country. The minimal money spent on a travel insurance policy will be worth it should an unforeseen accident occur and you need medical attention, or if something comes up and you can’t travel as planned— you won’t lose the money you invested in your vacation, these instances can be covered by a travel insurance package plan.