Americans visiting Australia for 90 days or less (for either official or private travel) may enter Australia without a visa stamped in their passports. However, American travelers must receive an electronic travel authority (ETA) from the participating travel agent or airline. An ETA clears the traveler electronically for entry into Australia. Alternatively, travelers may request a visa from the Australian Embassy or nearest Australian Consulate.
Official visitors entering Australia via military aircraft (MILAIR) are not eligible for an ETA. Therefore it is essential that those visitors traveling MILAIR be in possession of a valid visa, obtained from the Australian Embassy or nearest Australian Consulate. Military personnel traveling on military orders in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) are not required to have a visa, but must carry a military ID card and a copy of their travel orders. In addition, official visitors traveling via MILAIR and bearing official or tourist passports may be subject to an A$30.00 per person customs charge at departure. Military personnel traveling on military orders in accordance with SOFA, and bearers of diplomatic passports, are exempt from this customs charge.
Upon entering Australia, you must declare certain items from abroad and pay a duty on the value of those articles if they exceed the allowance established by Australia’s customs service. Goods and gifts purchased at duty-free shops abroad are not exempt from duty or sales tax; “duty-free” merely means that you need not pay a tax in the country of purchase. Upon returning home, you must likewise declare all articles acquired abroad and pay a duty on the value of articles above your home country’s allowance. In order to expedite your return, make a list of valuables brought from home and register them with customs before traveling abroad. Keep the receipts for goods acquired abroad.
General Consulates of Australia: