There are certain categories of Australians and people living in Australia who must apply for a US visa before they can travel to the US.
In this article, you will learn whether you need to apply for a US visa in Australia or not, depending on the purpose for which you are entering the US and your situation. It also details what requirements and tasks you need to complete in order to apply for a US visa from Australia.
Do Australian Citizens Need a Visa for USA?
Australians are one of 39 countries covered by the US Visa Waiver Program and are allowed to travel to the US for tourism and business purposes. Unlike many other countries, you do not need a tourist visa to enter the United States. Instead, you can simply apply online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which is a very simple and quick process.
The ESTA application process is very simple and fast. It also costs only US$14.
If you cannot travel under the Visa Waiver Program or your ESTA application is denied, you will need to apply for a US visa in Australia.
Apply for US Visa in Australia
The process of applying for a US visa in Australia consists of a series of steps that must be followed in the correct order.
Here is how to apply for a US visa in Australia:
- Determine the type of US visa you need.
- Find out where in Australia you need to apply for a US visa.
- Fill out the online form to apply for a US visa.
- Pay the machine readable visa (MRV) fee.
- Obtain all the documents you need to apply for a US visa in Australia.
- Make an appointment for a US visa in Australia.
- Attend a visa interview in the US.
Determine the type of US visa you need.
Since there are different types of visas for the US, the first thing you need to do is find out what type of visa you need to enter the US from Australia. The application process, fees and required documentation will depend on the type of US visa you are applying for.
Find out where to apply for a US visa in Australia.
If you are applying for a non-immigrant visa to the U.S. from Australia, you must submit your application to the appropriate U.S. visa office where the U.S. Embassy has contracted visa applications for residents of Australia.
On the other hand, if you are applying for a US immigrant visa from Australia, the petitioner (sponsor in the US) must submit the application to the National Visa Center in the US.
Complete the online US Visa application form
Complete the appropriate form for the type of U.S. visa you are applying for. Please note that there are different application forms for different types of U.S. visas.
The application form includes questions about personal information such as name, marital status, address, birth dates, contact information, email, passport information, family information, education, and employment history.
Form DS-160 can be completed online at:
- Consular Electronic Application Center, or
- With the assistance of a professional intermediary.
Pay the machine-readable visa (MRV) fee
After answering all questions honestly, pay the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application fee and schedule an interview. You can pay the U.S. visa application fee in the following ways.
- Online payment by credit/debit card
- Online wire transfer or cash payment at a bank
The MRV fee for visa applicants depends on the type of U.S. visa you are applying for. It is tiered as follows
- MRV fee – $160
- Petition-based applicants (H, L, O, P, Q, R) – $190
- E-1, E-2 and E-3 visa applicants – $205
*If you are applying for an A, G, or NATO visa, you do not have to pay the MRV fee.
Collect the required documents for a US visa from Australia
Depending on the type of US visa, there are a number of standard documents that need to be presented to prove that the applicant meets the criteria set by the US authorities for the visa. Find out which documents you need to submit based on your type of US visa and nationality. Then follow the instructions to collect all these documents.
Remember that the entire process of applying for a U.S. visa depends on these documents. The visa interview is critical to whether or not you will be granted a visa.
You must submit these documents to apply for a U.S. visa in Australia:
- A confirmation page indicating that you have completed the appropriate application form.
- Confirmation page for the interview appointment (if applicable).
- Passport – must be valid for at least six months after your intended stay in the U.S. and have at least one blank page for the visa to be affixed.
- One U.S. visa photo (size 5 x 5 cm, color, taken within the last six months; if you have uploaded a photo to your
- DS-160 application, you do not need to submit an additional photo).
- Previous U.S. visas (if applicable).
- ACRO – A police certificate obtained from authorities in your country indicating whether you have ever been arrested, cautioned, or convicted.
- A letter from an approved doctor if you have a medical condition that may affect your visa eligibility (Australian embassies and consulates have a list of approved doctors, you should check this list and go to one of them for a medical check. If you bring a report from another doctor that is not approved by the embassy, your application will be denied).
- U.S. Tourist Visa Invitation Letter – If you are applying for a B-2 visa, you may also need this invitation letter.
- If you were previously denied entry to the U.S. or deported from the U.S., you will also need to provide documentation showing the reason for the deportation/denial.
These are just the standard documentation requirements. Depending on your situation, you may also want to inquire about travel insurance for your stay in the United States.
Schedule a US visa appointment in Australia
Applicants ages 14 to 79 applying for a U.S. visa from Australia must make an appointment for a U.S. visa interview at a U.S. consulate, embassy, or U.S. visa application center. Applicants under the age of 14 and over the age of 80 do not need to be interviewed and may apply by courier.
Australia has a U.S. Embassy in Canberra and three consulates in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. You can book an interview online or through our call center.
Attend the American visa interview
Show up on time on the day of the interview, as showing up late may result in a rejection. Bring all of your documents neatly and in order so that they are not scattered when you meet with the consular officer.
The interview will usually take place with a consular officer (interviewer), but prior to the interview, Embassy/Consulate staff will collect your application documents, enter and verify data. Biometric data (fingerprints) will also be taken, followed by an interview with the consular officer, which may last from a few minutes to several minutes.
For a successful U.S. tourist visa application, use the services of Travel Assist.
Types of US Visa for Australian Citizens
There are two main types of visas in the U.S. that allow Australian citizens to enter and stay in the U.S. for a limited or indefinite period of time, depending on the type of visa.
- U.S. immigrant visas allow the holder to live and work in the United States.
- U.S. nonimmigrant visas: allow the holder to enter the United States for tourism, medical treatment, study, or seasonal work.
E-3 Visa for Australian Citizens
The U.S. E-3 visa program is also known as Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has established the E-3 visa exclusively for Australian citizens. Nationals of other countries are not eligible to apply for this visa.
The E-3 visa is only available to Australian citizens who wish to work in the United States in the following occupations.
- Have a university degree (bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate) is required.
- Have specialized knowledge and be practical.
It does not specify which occupations are considered skilled, but they (and similar occupations) include
- Political scientists
- Medical professionals
- Business managers.
The main requirements for Australians to qualify for this type of US visa are as follows:
- Be an Australian citizen (Australian permanent residents are not eligible)
- Have a job offer in the United States and it must be professional in nature
- Have the required qualifications in terms of education and work experience.
- If applicable, the applicant must have the required licenses to practice the specialty occupation.
US Visa Application Processing Time in Australia
When applying for a U.S. visa from Australia, it takes between three and five days for your application to be approved. However, it can take up to six months or longer for your application to be processed.
Your passport will be held at the Embassy during the application process. After your U.S. visa is approved or denied, the embassy or consulate will deliver your passport to you. You will not be able to pick up your passport in person.
In case of Visa Denial
If your US visa is denied from Australia, the visa fee is non-refundable. However, you may be able to reapply in the future by submitting a new application. However, you will have to pay the US visa fee again for the new application.
To ensure that your application is not denied for the same reason, you must show that circumstances have changed since your previous application was denied.