4 Reasons Why You Should Apply for a US Visa as an Australian

An Australian passport can give you visa-free access to over 180 countries in the world, including the United States of America. If you are an Australian citizen, you qualify for the US Visa Waiver Program, which only requires an Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA to visit the US as a tourist.

As the main US Visa for Australians, ESTA gives you 90-day access to the US if you are traveling for tourism, medical treatment, a conference, or a short course. Your ESTA is valid for two years or until your passport expires.

Acquiring an ESTA is a hassle-free online process that takes a few minutes to complete. However, a US Visa for Australians can make traveling to the US even simpler. Whether you are hoping to travel for work, study, or go rock climbing in New Mexico, read on to find out why a US Visa is beneficial for Australian travelers.

There are many different types of visas for you to choose from, depending on your travel purpose.

Types of US Visas

Before we delve into the advantages of having a US Visa, it is important to understand the types of Visas available to Australian citizens.

  • US Tourist or Business Visa (B1, B2, B1/B2) – These are non-immigrant visas issued to any travelers seeking to enter the US for business purposes, tourism, or both. This can include attending a conference, negotiating a contract, visiting family or friends, or seeking medical treatment. 
  • US Work Visa (H1B and the L1) – The H1B and the L1 are non-immigrant work visas that allow individuals to work in the US. However, only multinational companies can apply for the L1. 
  • US Study Visa – There are two main study visas, the F1 and J1. These study visas allow students seeking education in the US access to its borders. The F1 is the most popular study visa applied for. The J1 is issued to students in an exchange program or those under a scholarship. 
  • US Transit C or the Crew Member Visa – Visas under this category are issued to anyone passing through the US, including any crew member of an airline or sea vessel. 
  • E-3 Visa – This is a US visa strictly issued to Australian citizens only allowing them to work in a special occupation. 

Though the visas above are the most popular ones, the US has many more visas that apply to various situations and countries.

The US is a beautiful place that offers Australians a lot to see and visit during their trip abroad, and a visa can give even greater access to it.

Benefits of a US Visa

Though a US visa application can be a headache, it is worth it in the long run. There are several benefits of having a US visa as an Australian.

Mexico is just one of many countries that you will have easy access to with a US visa.

1.Easy Access to More Countries

Having a US visa gives you easier access to 50 countries you can travel to visa-free, including the UAE, Mexico, the Philippines, Turkey, Panama, and Argentina.

Not only that, but you will also not require a transit visa if passing through a Schengen country or the UK. Eventually, this will save you the money and inconvenience of getting a transit visa.

Many countries allow visa-free entry if you have a US visa because the US visa application process is so rigorous. In fact, it is often considered the hardest visa to get.

In addition, the US screening process ensures you have strong connections to your country, which helps eliminate the risk of illegal immigration.

2. Easier Approval for Other Visas

Having a US visa can give you easy access to many other visas. For example, the UK screens passports to see the types of visas you have, and having a US visa is considered an added advantage.

Due to the screening process mentioned above, the UK will consider you a reliable traveler who will not try to illegally stay past their limit. This means you’ll be flying into an airport in London before you know it!

A US visa will give you access to additional flights in the US you otherwise would not have access to.

3.Access to a Wider Variety of Flight Options

If you are hoping to travel to the Caribbean or Latin America, traveling through the US will make it easier to access different flights, some of which are much cheaper. This can end up saving you big bucks on international flights.

Furthermore, some flights, like those going to Turks and Caicos Islands, only travel from the US. This means that with a US visa, you will not only have your pick of different flights, but it will also be easier to travel to various exotic countries.

4.Long-Term Access to the US

If you require a short visit to the US, you might be better off applying for an ESTA and not the process of getting a visa. However, the ESTA is limited as it only allows you short-term travel. So, if you want to travel for full-time work, study, or for permanent residence, you will need a US visa.

The US visa will last you at least 5 years, unlike the ESTA which only lasts you two years. Therefore, frequent fliers and long-term travelers will find that a visa is a better option.

You will need a variety of different documents to complete your US visa application, depending on the application you’re trying to get.

What Do I Need to Apply for a Visa?

Before applying for a US visa, do some research to figure out which visa you need. The type of visa you need will dictate what documents you need to submit a valid application.

You will need to complete the visa application form online. This form will ask various personal questions, including your name, contact details, marital status, work details, and education details.

You will then have to schedule your visa interview online. You may be required to go to the embassy in Canberra or the consulates in Sydney, Melbourne, or Perth.

The cost of this process is $160 or 256 AUD for the application. Please note that this application fee is non-refundable, which means you cannot get it back if your visa is declined.

Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months before you start the application process in case of any delays.

What Happens if My US Visa Application is Denied?

If you are denied a US visa, you will be given a reason why your application was declined and a chance to reapply for $160 or 250 AUD. However, you will need to indicate all of the changes different from the first declined application, so they can see where improvements have been made.


Traveling can be quite stressful and anything that can alleviate the stress will make the traveling experience more enjoyable. Having a US visa will make it easier for you to enter the US (and other countries) and simplify your travels.