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Is an ETA authorisation necessary for a transit through Australia?

For a stopover in Australia or a simple transit through this country you will still need an ETA authorisation. Read about this little known but necessary procedure to ensure you can complete your travel arrangements satisfactorily.

As you are reading this article you undoubtedly already know that it is absolutely necessary to hold an ETA authorisation or a visa to visit Australia. But what about for transits through the country? In fact, if your final travel destination is not Australia but you need to make a stopover there then, under certain circumstances, you will be required to complete an ETA travel authorisation application online in the same way as if you planned to visit Australia. Here are some explanations on this subject.


Transits through Australia that require an ETA authorisation:

A transit through Australia does not necessarily require an ETA authorisation. However, under certain specific circumstances you will be required to supply this authorisation to be able to transit through the country. Here are the two relevant cases:

  • A transit period of more than 8 hours: If your Australian transit period is for more than 8 hours then you will need to obtain an ETA travel authorisation prior to your visit. This is valid even if you do not leave the airport terminal.
  • Exiting the transit zone: If your transit time is for less than 8 hours but you wish to benefit from the time you have to make some purchases or visit the surrounding area then you will need to leave the transit zone. This is not possible without a valid ETA travel authorisation.


What happens with a transit without an ETA authorisation?

If you decide to undertake a trip with a transit in Australia without an ETA authorisation you run the risk of not being able to board your flight. In fact, all airlines are responsible for checking the validity of travel authorisations before boarding.  In the case whereby your travel represents a stopover of more than 8 hours in Australia and no ETA is electronically linked to your passport number then the personnel will refuse to allow you to board.


How to apply for an ETA for a transit through Australia?

If you wish to transit through Australia for a future trip you should know that you will be required to follow the same procedure for an online ETA application as those who wish to travel to Australia as their final destination. To apply for an ETA you should click on the link that is easily accessible on this website which will lead you to an application form in your native language.

Then you simply need to carefully complete this form and enter your valid passport number and correct email address. Respond honestly to all questions asked as your answers may be subject to verification.

Once your ETA application has been sent you will receive a response by email within 72 hours. If your ETA application has been accepted you have nothing further to do as this will be automatically electronically linked to your passport number. You can thereby easily transit through Australia and even reuse this authorisation for one or more future trips as this authorisation is actually valid for a full year.


Is it necessary to complete two ETA applications for an outgoing transit and the return?

Certain particular transit cases through Australian territory can generate some questions for visitors travelling to other countries. In fact, we particularly note the question on the possible necessity of completing two ETA authorisation applications if a trip has two transits, an outgoing and the return. The answer to this question actually depends on various criteria.

Firstly it is important to note that your ETA authorisation, once obtained, is valid for a whole year from the moment it is granted and can be reused during this period for visits to Australia for transits or stays of up to 90 days. Therefore if your ETA is still within this validity period for your travel, including the return trip, then you will not be required to create a supplementary application as it will still be linked to your passport number. In the case to the contrary, you will be obliged to complete a new ETA application as your return transit will be considered as a unique visit to Australia, independent of the outgoing transit. 

Another thing, when certain information changes between your departure and return travel it may be necessary to modify this information to be able to use your ETA or, if necessary, reapply if this is not possible. This is notably the case if your passport number has changed, if you have changed your name or address or if one of the original answers you gave to a question on the form is no longer correct.

We highly recommend that you carefully keep your ETA reference number with you during your trip in case you need to modify your information to ensure your return home via a transit through Australia is trouble free.