The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) is an online system, through which citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) may apply to visit the US for up to 90 days, as tourists, or for business, medical, or short-term study purposes, without a visa. Some also refer to this travel document as an ESTA visa.
Australia has strong ties with the US. It joined the VWP in 1996, making it easier for Australians to travel to the US. ESTA was established in 2009, as an added requirement for travellers from countries in the VWP. Using ESTA is a faster and easier way to obtain authorisation to enter the US. In the US fiscal year of 2014 (October 2013 - September 2014), 1,361,886 Australian nationals travelled to the US under the VWP.
Australian passport holders who intend to travel to the US should fill in and submit the ESTA form online, at least 72 hours before departure. Certain requirements must be met. Successful applications are valid for two years. Australians who travel to the US as part of the VWP must fly with a signatory carrier. Qantas and Virgin, for example, are signatory members. Australians who plan to depart with other airlines should check their status.
If an ESTA application is unsuccessful, Australian citizens may apply for a B1/B2 Visa through the US Consulates in Australia. We recommend the US Embassies in the following cities: Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
Well-known airlines that fly to the US from Australia:
Well-known cruise lines:
The American Embassy and Consulates in Australia: