Short-stay business visas
The Business (Short Stay) visa (subclass 456) allows the bona fide business person to
make a visit to Australia of up to three months to conduct business. Examples of appropriate
activities include a conference, negotiation or an exploratory business visit, but do not include
acting or music performance or commercial film making.
A single-entry or multiple-entry visa may be issued.
In many countries, you can obtain a Business (Short Stay) visa at the same time you
purchase an airline ticket. Ask for a Business Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for Australia.
Alternately, you can apply for a short-stay visa on the Internet.
See: ETA website.
Or you can lodge a written application at a departmental office by using a form.
Form 456, Application for a business (short stay) visa *.
Form 1238, Application for a sponsored business visitor (short stay) visa.*
For more information, see:
Visiting for business - frequently asked questions
55. The Electronic Travel Authority
This fact sheet can also be viewed in the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
| Background | The Types of ETA | How ETAs work | Initiatives | Benefits | ETA eligible
Australia's Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is the most advanced and streamlined travel
authorisation system in the world.
The ETA is an electronically stored authority for travel to Australia for short-term visits or
business entry. It replaces the visa label or stamp in a passport and removes the need for
An ETA is issued within seconds by computer links between the Department of Immigration
and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), travel agents, airlines and specialist service
providers around the world.
The ETA system was introduced in 1996 and is now available to passport holders from 33
countries and locations (a complete list is here)
Over 15 million travellers have chosen to come to Australia on ETAs, which now account for
87.2 per cent of all tourist and short-term business visas issued worldwide.
The ETA system can be accessed by over 300,000 travel agents worldwide, more than 75
airlines and through the Internet.
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In December 2002, over 97.7 per cent of ETA-eligible visitors and short-term business
travellers were issued with ETAs.
The Types of ETA
There are three ETAs: the subclass 976 Tourist (Short Validity) ETA; the subclass 977
Business (Short Validity) ETA; and the subclass 956 Business (Long Validity) ETA.
All three types of ETA allow single or multiple entries into Australia for a maximum stay of up
to three months from the date of each entry.
The subclass 976 and 977 (Short Validity) ETAs allow the holder to travel to Australia as often
as they need within the specified period (not to exceed 12 months) from the date the ETA
was granted. These ETAs do not attract a visa application charge.
The subclass 956 (Long Validity) Business ETA allows the holder to enter Australia on multiple
occasions during the life of the passport. This ETA attracts a visa application charge which is
How ETAs work
Service providers enter the information contained in the applicant's passport into the ETA
system via their existing travel or airline reservation system.
The system performs an online check of DIMIA warning records, and if no adverse record is
detected, the service provider is advised that the ETA has been granted.
If a 'referral' message is received, the service provider refers the applicant to the nearest
Australian diplomatic office.
No evidence of the ETA is needed, as it is electronically stored in the system. Airlines and
travel agents participating in the ETA system can confirm its existence on behalf of travellers.
A worldwide trial of Internet access to the ETA system was announced on 28 May 2001. This
enabled tourists and business travellers intending to visit Australia for three months or less to
apply for a subclass 976 or subclass 977 (Short Validity) ETA at the same time as they made
their other on-line travel bookings.
Applications can be made at: www.eta.immi.gov.au (please note that an A$20 service fee will
be incurred for Internet lodgement).
The subclass 956 (Long Validity) Business ETA is not available via the Internet.
Applicants may also seek an ETA through their nearest Australian Overseas Mission.
ETAs cannot be granted, or extended, in Australia.
ETA arrangements provide significant benefits to travellers, as well as airlines and the
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Travellers benefit as the ETA provides a seamless process for providing authority to travel to
Australia from places where tickets are obtained. Travellers also enjoy faster processing at
Airlines benefit by utilising computer systems to verify that travellers have authority to enter
Australia before issuing their boarding passes. This saves airline staff time at the check-in
counter and reduces their likelihood of transporting unauthorised passengers.
The Australian Government benefits by having easy access to data on all travellers to
Australia. This supports maintenance of Australian border integrity by law enforcement and
Further information is available on the department web site:
The department also operates a 24-hour national telephone service inquiry line on 131 881,
for the cost of a local call anywhere in Australia.
Fact Sheet 55. Produced by the Public Affairs Section, Department of Immigration and
Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Canberra.
Revised 7 July 2004.
ETA eligible passports
The following passport holders are able to access Australia's Electronic Travel Authority
(ETA) issuing system. An ETA is issued by computer between DIMIA and travel agents,
airlines and specialist service providers.
Brunei The Netherlands
Finland Republic of San Marino
Germany South Korea
Hong Kong (SAR) Sweden
Italy United Kingdom - British Citizen
Japan United Kingdom - British National (Overseas)**
Liechtenstein United States of America
Luxembourg Vatican City
* Holders of Taiwan passports can only be processed for an ETA if resident in and applying
** Holders of UK passports which indicate their nationality to be British National (Overseas)
can only be processed for an ETA if resident in and applying in Hong Kong.
ETA applications can be made through the Department's Internet address:
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