Last updated on August 6, 2020
Are you a UK citizen planning a trip to Australia? Here’s everything you need to know about getting your essential Australian eVisa before you go!
Do UK Citizens Need a Visa to Travel to Australia for a Holiday?
UK citizens must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before travelling to Australia.
What is an Australian ETA and How Does it Work?
The Australian ETA was introduced in 1996 and is basically an electronic authorisation that is linked to your passport (in a non-physical way).
The beauty of this is that you can now obtain everything you need to travel to Australia without having to visit any kind of embassy or passport office, unlike I did when I travelled there many moons ago.
While checking in for your flight to Australia, the check-in staff will do a quick search on their database to confirm that you have acquired your ETA and have been authorised to travel to Australia.
Note: The Australian ETA only permits British citizens to enter Australia as a tourist (or business traveller) and does not permit you to work or seek employment in the country.
How Long Does it Take to Apply for an Australian ETA?
The Australian ETA takes around 10 minutes to apply for. Once you have made the application and paid the fee, it will instantly be linked to your passport.
Tip: From personal experience, it’s important to apply for your ETA a couple of weeks ahead of your trip. You definitely don’t want to be at the airport frantically making your application at the last minute (as I did on my last trip to New York). It doesn’t take long, but make sure you do it ahead of time.
How Long Can UK Citizens Stay in Australia with an ETA?
The Australian ETA allows UK citizens to travel to Australia as a tourist or short-stay business visitor for up to 90 days.
How Long is the Australian ETA Valid for?
Australia’s ETA is valid for 1 year after being issued.
What You Need to Apply for Your Australian ETA as a British Citizen
British citizens applying for an Australian ETA will need:
- A valid British passport that is valid for at least 6 months (to be shown at the airport, when boarding your flight and also when entering Australia).
- A credit/debit card or Paypal account, as well as an email address for confirmation.
Where to Get Your Australian ETA eVisa
Back in my day I had to visit the embassy and get a stamp, but now you can get your eVisa online with just a few clicks or swipes.
There are lots of new online booking services, such as Byevisa.com, that make it quick and easy to apply for your Australian ETA.
It only takes a few minutes to fill in the form and you’ll receive your Australian ETA in your email inbox in a matter of minutes.
My Personal Tips on What to See and Do in Australia
I spent three months travelling Australia as a young 20-year-old. It was honestly one of the most thrilling experiences of my life and very much changed my outlook on the world and what I wanted to do with my life.
Here are a few thoughts, tips and tricks based on my personal experience.
1. Don’t skip Western Australia
I travelled to Australia with an Irish friend who had family in Perth. For this reason, we flew directly to Western Australia and spent a few weeks there before flying east to more famous regions and cities like Sydney and the Gold Coast.
During the whole time I was in Australia I saw much of the famous sights and attractions, but my favourite experiences were simply seeing normal, everyday life on the beaches of Perth. I remember hanging out at the surfside cafes on Cottesloe Beach, watching the lifeguards training and the surfers riding the waves. I felt like I was living an authentic slice of local life, as a local resident. I never felt this way in the other more famous cities I visited, like Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
While in Perth, my friends and I also took a 4.5 hour drive north to a small town called Geraldton. It was absolutely fascinating, a remote little town with a strong Aboriginal community that welcomed us with open arms. It’s the sort of place you’d never hear about in the travel guides, and we only went because my Australian friend’s uncle lived there and said we could visit.
Moral of the story: don’t do what many visitors to Australia do and skip Western Australia. And be sure to visit the less famous places for an insight into the local way of life. Western Australia might be a long way away from the bright lights of Sydney, but it’s well worth a visit!
2. Definitely do learn to scuba dive
When I look back on my life, one of the things I will be most proud of will be the week I spent learning how to scuba dive in the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland. I never imagined I would have the courage to dive under water, especially in a country known for its sharks, but I can honestly say it was of the best experiences I had during my time in Australia. And do you know what, I did see a shark and it absolutely blew my mind! It’s one of those moments in life I’ll never forget.
Don’t miss out!
3. Don’t rush your way through the cities
I don’t know if it was my age or my obsession with surfing, but when I look back on my time in Australia I can’t help but regret not making more of my time in the cities. I got restless in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth because I wanted to get to the beach and the waves. But these are some of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities on the planet, so be sure to do them justice. Sydney is obviously packed with plenty to see, but Melbourne is also something of a cultural melting pot and a hip place to explore the arts. Just keep an open mind and a curious heart.
4. Do visit New Zealand while you’re there
I was in Australia for three months, which is quite a bit of time to see the main sights. I met lots of other travellers who had plans to visit New Zealand while they were in Oz, but I remember thinking how I’d rather go back to New Zealand on another dedicated trip. I’ve kicked myself ever since as I’ve never gone back and am not sure when I ever will.
If you’re going to fly all the way to Australia, you might as well take an extra little flight over to New Zealand while you’re there!
5. Don’t forget that time equals money
I think one of my regrets was going to Australia for 3 months instead of 2. I think I could have done more with my money if I hadn’t had to pay for 3-months of accommodation. In the end I feel I wasted days and even weeks because I was worried about holding back enough money to eat and sleep.
Ultimately, I think it’d be better to go for less time but to do more with it, so consider this when booking your trip.
Tell me your plans for your big Australian adventure! Where do you think you’re going? How long will you stay? Will you go to New Zealand too?