Visas and Passports for the USA
Do I need to apply for a visa?
Australian citizens are eligible for the visa waiver program (VWP) and if staying for less than 90 days in the US for business or leisure, do not need to apply for a visa beforehand.
They must, however, meet all requirements and complete an admission via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and have this approved before entering the country. An e-passport is also required to use the VWP along with a return ticket.
How much does it cost?
An accepted ESTA costs US$14 and this must be paid by debit/credit card online via the official ESTA government website.
How long is it valid for?
An approved ESTA is valid for two years (from the date of authorisation) and allows for multiple entries throughout this time period without the need to apply every time. However, it only allows you to stay in America for 90 days or less as a whole.
Can I extend my visa?
Australian’s entering the U.S. through the VWP are not permitted to extend their stay.
You must declare all goods you purchased or received during your trip on a Customs and Border Protection Declaration Form on arrival to the US. The US adopts a system where tax may have to be paid on duty-free items exceeding the approved amount. Only a certain amount of specific products may be brought in duty-free under the exemption.
What are you allowed to bring in and what are the duty free limits?
- Alcohol – Depending on which state you initially arrive into, the laws will differ on the amount of alcohol you can bring with you. To find out the amount you can bring, contact the state’s alcoholic beverage control board. Generally, 1 litre is allowed per person over the age of 21.
- Tobacco – 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars.
- Other – US$100 as gifts.
- Food – some food products such as baked goods, certain cheeses and prepared foods are allowed.
What is restricted?
Firearms (unless licensed), weapons, narcotics, drug paraphernalia (unless prescribed), some fruits and vegetables, soils, and products made from animal or plant materials may be restricted.
When travelling to the US, all Australian visitors must have a valid e-passport with an approved ESTA through the VWP. To check, simply see if there is the electronic chip on the front cover.
Note: Information is current as of March 26, 2018. For up to date information please check the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States.