The borders are open, and travel is in full swing! Australians are world travelers and wherever you travel, you are bound to run into an Aussie. Just as foreigners need a visa to enter Australia, Australians often need to ensure that they receive the appropriate permissions to travel abroad.
Travel to USA
When traveling to the United States of America, Australians have many options at their disposal because of the positive relationship between the US and Australia.
The type of travel authority or visa depends on your reason for travel and length of time you plan to be in the US.
Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA)
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is the most common application for Australians to receive permission to travel to the US.
Australia is a participating country in the US Visa Waiver Program which allows nationals of 40 specific countries to travel to the US for tourism or business for up to 90 days.
The application is a quick and easy online submission and only costs $21.00 USD.
The ESTA program may not be helpful for every circumstance though, including:
- Travel for longer than 90 days;
- Travel for a purpose other than short-term tourism or business;
- If you have a criminal record;
- If you have a communicable disease dangerous to public health; or
- You are ineligible for any other grounds of inadmissibility under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 212(a).
If you are an Australian and your ESTA is denied, or you know it would be denied, you may still have options to travel to the US with the B1/B2 Visitor Visa.
A B1 Visitor Visa allows foreigners to visit the US temporarily for business and a B2 Visitor Visa allows foreigners to visit the US temporarily for tourism. Often a B1/B2 Visitor Visa will be granted so business and tourism activities may be completed on the same trip.
Differences between B1/B2 and ESTA
The largest advantage ESTA has is the speed and cost efficiency of the program. An ESTA is a cheaper option and applicants typically receive a response within 72 hours.
A B1/B2 application is a longer application process and requires an applicant to fill out a DS-160 form, which requires more information than the ESTA application.
A B1/B2 application may require an applicant to attend an interview at a US consulate or embassy. Australia currently schedules interviews in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney and time frames can vary depending on the time of year and spots available.
A B1/B2 application can be helpful in instances where an applicant is not eligible for ESTA as a waiver may be available to allow you to still visit the US.
Our team can assist with further questions or concerns regarding the process. Contact our team today to discuss your migration options.