When Should You Apply for an Australian ETA Visa?

If you are reading this, there is a chance you didn't know you even needed a visa for Australia. So, the next question might be, "When do I need to apply."

In our 10+ years of processing Australian visas and travel for our customers, we have come across this and many common questions regarding the how, what, and most importantly when you should apply. The answers are mixed online, so we set out to give you the full and complete answer to these questions below.

Do I Need to Book My Flight Before Applying for an Australian Visa?

It is advisable that you apply for your visa prior to booking your flights, hotels, tours, and any other transportation or accommodations in Australia. Many travelers see a good deal for a flight online, and assume that the visa is processed instantly. However, this can sometimes be a costly mistake, as the Department of Home Affairs does not always approve a visa request.

In fact, in our experience having processed over 1 million visas, we find that about 5-6% of applicants are not approved. This isn't necessarily a problem, however, because in most of these cases, the authorities will simply request more information from you. It will, however, take time for this extra step in the process.

Pictured below is a portion of the official form that must be filled out, named the Electronic Travel Authority Additional Information Request Form. This form is what the Department of Home Affairs will likely require you to fill out in order to obtain the final approval. If you are rejected on your visa application submission, this form will need to be submitted to your local Australian visa office. Unfortunately, visa service providers, airlines, and travel agents are unable to process this form. Again, this only applies to those applicants who are rejected online.

eta additional information form

This extra processing step typically takes 2 weeks to process, but can vary, depending on your nationality and the volume of applicants at your local embassy or visa office. For example, for Malaysian passport holders, the High Commission recommends applying for your visa 1 month in advance in cases where you are rejected due to increased volume of travelers in recent years.

The good news is that in most cases, about 95%, applications lodged on our website are approved, and your visa will be sent to you within 24 hours.

Processing Time

If Approved

94% of applicants
24 hours at EasyETA

If Rejected

5-6% of applicants
2-4+ Weeks through a Australia visa office

The important lesson to be learned here is it's advisable that you apply for your visa before you book anything else for your trip in case you are rejected and need multiple weeks to submit additional information.

How Soon Should I Apply for an ETA?


Because an ETA for Australia is valid for 12 months from the time it is issued, you should apply as soon as you know your travel destination includes Australia, whether it is part of a trip or your sole destination. Your passport must be valid for the full length of your trip, so be sure the validity dates prior to submitting your online ETA application.

It's important to note that your travel dates are NOT required when applying for an ETA. So, if you plan on visiting Australia within the next 12-months, you can go proceed with the application process at any time.

Once you receive your ETA from us, the expiration date will be listed on your visa. This date is the last day to enter the country. More details will be provided in our email confirmation sent to you upon placing your order.

What Information is Needed to Apply for an ETA?


As you can see from our online Australia ETA application, both personal details and passport details are required. You should be prepared to list your full name, date of birth, address, and passport information at the time of applying.

Since an ETA is 100% electronic, we also require you to provide an email (which we do NOT share), so that your visa can be sent to you.

That's it! If you are ready to apply for a visa today, just click the button below to get started.