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An Australian visa is something you're going to need unless you come from New Zealand. Visa Australia is what you want. A working holiday visa or a work and holiday visa is something you might eligble for if you're under 30 and from the right country. You can stay in THailand a a year with those visas. If staying less than 90 days, you'd come to Australia with an ETA or an eVisitor. The cost of an eVisitor visa is just $0. Most looking to stay in Australia for up to a year will get an Australia visa known as a tourist visa, subclass 676.

Australian Visas

"Australia has woken up to the fact that everyone, from rich country or poor, should pay to enter.  As long as people are willing to fly this far for a holiday, Australia would have been stupid to have passed up the opportunity to charge those visitors an admission fee to come in."  Doug Knell, Doug's RepublicVisas for Australia

Let's pretend you're from the Philippines, Thailand, Mozambique, or the Congo.   No special treats for guessing you require a visa to come to Australia.  Now imagine you're from a well developed nation like the United Kingdom, Canada, or the United States. Reckon you need a visa for Australia?  You're darn right you do!   You didn't really believe that the Australian authorities were just going to let you in?

Australia Visa tourist subclass 676

A colorful stamp can make your passport quadruple in value when you sell it on the black market in Pakistan or the Congo
Let's do a simple mathematics problem.  Australia gets around 4 million tourist visits per year.  Australia charges a minimum of AUD 20.   How many crispy Australian dollars end up in Australian government coffers just to give you the permission to come to Australia to spend yet more of your hard-earned cash?   All right -- that's a trick question.  New Zealanders flock to Australia, and they don't need a visa.   European Union members need one, but don't have to pay for stays of under 3 months.  But plenty have to pay, and depending on the visa, a lot more than AUD 20.

Australia's Clever Shift Of The Meaning Of "Visa"

Bill Clinton, when President of the United States and in impeachment hearings over his lewd sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky, had his lawyers debate the meaning of words like "the" and "sex."  The Australians have cleverly shifted the meaning of the word "visa."  We're going to set that straight here.

A visa is, short and simple, permission by a government to allow you to enter their country.  Most of the times, this is a simple pay-to-play deal.  You hand over whatever they're asking along with a form and a photograph, and they respond by affixing a stamp or sticker in your passport telling you how long you can stay and for how long the visa is valid.

As of August 2009, Australia officially allows visa-free travel for 44 different nations for stays under 90 days, including the European Union, Canada, the USA, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, and Norway.   When I hear that, I think I'm allowed to enter Australia without doing any advance preparation apart from buying the ticket.   Wrong.  As an American citizen, I'm still required to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA).  It's officially free, but incurs an AUD 20 service charge.  That's like advertising a tiny lock on eBay for $1, but adding $20 for shipping & handling for each unit.   The reality is that an ETA is a non-free visa but one which does not appear stamped into the passport.  The United States also offers Australians visa-free travel but requires them to apply for an Electronic System For Travel Authorization (ESTA) in advance.  It's an identical non-visa to the ETA, and idiotically, the American government offers it free, like the Australians do, but without the back-end service fee.   Now I know why the United States is running a trade deficit with Australia. 

Other select nations, like the European Union, can come to Australia without a visa, but must apply for an eVisitor.  An eVisitor is identical to an ETA but there's no padded service charge added on.  

ETA's and eVisitors used to be included in the price of the plane ticket.  Check that yours is.   I know of a Canadian-American couple who traveled to Australia recently.  Their ETA was not included.   When they checked in at the airport in Bangkok, they were told they were not authorized to enter Australia.  Luckily, you can buy these online, and they're processed in minutes.   Taking money out of your pocket as a "service charge" should be a quick and painless process.

Doug's Republic defines a visa as any pre-trip crap you have to apply for before you can set foot in Australia, whether it's free or costs money or whether it's stamped into the passport or not.  By that definition, everyone save for New Zealanders needs a visa.

Australia's Tourist Visas
Type Validity Countries Site Cost (AUD)
ETA (subclass 976) 12 months for stays up to 3 months each time Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, USA


eVisitor (subclass 651) 12 months for stays up to 3 months each time European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City


Tourist (subclass 676) Look at my visa at the top of page - it doesn't seem to expire.  I'll be heading back over on that same visa when I'm 91.  Valid for stays of up to a year at a time.  The Australian government decides if you get 3, 6, or 12 months. All


Working Holiday (subclass 417) Can stay for 12 months and work for one employer no longer than 6 months.  If you do regional farm work for up to 3 months, you can apply for a second Working Holiday  Must be 18-30 when you apply

Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and United Kingdom.


Work And Holiday (subclass 462) Can stay for 12 months and work for one employer no longer than 6 months.  Virtually identical to Working Holiday visa, except doing time on the farms won't allow you to apply for a second one.  Must be 18-30 when you apply

Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey and the USA

The poorer the country, the more educated you have to prove you are and the more paperwork you need to fill out.  A retarded American high school grad will have an easier time getting in than an Indonesian with an economics degree



Standard Business Sponsorship (subclass 457) visas, which allow foreigners to work in Australia from 3 months to 4 years, aren't discussed at Doug's Republic.  Nor are student and refugee visas.   If you're a refugee eager to soak off the welfare system, applying for refugee status in Sweden will prove a lot more lucrative. 

There are companies which can wade through the time-consuming visa-hurdling process for you.  A British company we've come across rather enjoys the process, we're sure a lot more than you will.  


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Insights From A Travel Mastermind

 Coming to Australia? You need an Australian visa, mates. Visa Australia, mates. If you're under 30, you can come for a working holiday or a work and holiday. If staying less than 90 days, you enter Australia with an ETA or an eVisitor. eVisitor cost: $0. Most looking to stay in Australia long term will get an Australia visa known as a tourist visa, subclass 676.