What Is the Australia Transit Visa? (Visa Subclass 771)
Eligible passport holders transiting through Australia by air or sea on the way to another destination may apply for the Australia transit visa (subclass 771). The transit visa for Australia is also available for holders of the Maritime Crew visa (subclass 988) to enter an Australian airport before joining the crew of a non-military ship.
How Long You Can Stay in Australia with the Transit Visa
Travelers are allowed to stay in Australia for up to 72 hours until leaving by air or sea when visiting with the Australia transit visa. However, the traveler must have a confirmed booking and permission to travel to their final destination in order to get visa approval.
Maritime Crew members are allowed 5 days from arrival by air to sign onto the ship of their destination when traveling with the Australia transit visa. The Australia visa for transit expires after 5 days, so they will be required to apply for a new transit visa for Australia every time they enter the country for purposes of working on a ship.
Some citizens are eligible to transit through Australia without a visa if arriving by aircraft. However, their stay in an Australian airport must not exceed 8 hours, they must not need to clear immigration, and they may not leave the airport transit lounge. They must also have a confirmed ticket and valid travel documents to travel to and enter a third country.
Travelers who wish to stay longer or enter the country more than once are recommended to apply for an ETA or eVisitor.
Can You Leave the Airport with a Transit Visa?
Any citizens who need to leave the airport transit lounge while passing through will need a valid Australia visa type. Travelers on an Australia transit visa are allowed to leave the airport and stay in Australia for up to 72 hours before traveling onto their next destination.
In fact, some airports in Australia insist on the traveler having an Australia transit visa or another valid visa if passing through, including Gold Coast airport. Passengers traveling through Cairns airport and Sydney airport are not permitted to stay in the transit lounge and must have an Australian transit visa to leave and access overnight accommodation.
Transit Visa vs ETA or eVisitor: Pros and Cons
The Australia transit visa is only valid for a single entry and stay of up to 72 hours. Travelers will be required to reapply for the Australian visa for transit for each entry to the country.
It is not possible to extend the Australia transit visa and citizens wishing to stay in Australia longer will be required to apply for a different type of Australian visa.
The ETA for Australia and eVisitor for Australia are multiple-entry visas with a 12-month total validity period. This means that holders of an Australia eVisa can enter Australia as many times as they like, including for transit, until the visa or the corresponding passport expires, whichever comes first.
Citizens eligible to apply for the Australia online visa (either ETA or eVisitor) will find it a better option than the transit visa Australia, especially if they are a frequent traveler to the country. A separate transport visa is not required for those who obtain some type of Australia visa online.