I have a 12 hour layover in Australia and am trying to find information about whether it's possible to leave the airport during this time (on an Irish passport.)

I've found this information :

Travellers on an Australia transit visa are allowed to leave the airport and stay in Australia for up to 72 hours before leaving to their next destination. In fact, some airports in Australia insist on the traveller having an Australia transit visa or another valid visa if passing through, including Gold Coast airport.

Does this mean that I could leave the airport with a standard transit visa, and wouldn't need to get a separate tourist visa?

1 Answer 1


As an Irish citizen you do not require a visa to enter Australia, only an Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601). This is free (although depending on how you obtain one there'll likely be a A$20 service charge), and is generally approved within a matter of minutes, although it can occasionally take up to a few days.

Note that you will require an ETA even if you are not planning to pass through immigration and enter the country - an Irish citizen can normally transit Australia without a visa/ETA as long as you're remaining airside, however this only applies if you are staying less than 8 hours. As your layover is 12 hours, you will need to obtain an ETA before you will be allowed fly to Australia.

Once you have an ETA, on arrival it will either be your choice to stay airside, or pass through immigration and enter the country (if your layover is overnight, then in some airports you will have to leave the airside area as not all Australian airports are open overnight).

Note that the site you had linked to in the original post is a SCAM site which will charge you A$150 for the ETA (rather than the normal A$20). Be sure to only use the official gov.au site I've linked above for applying for all Australia Travel Authorities/Visas.

  • ETA is not free (It's 20AUD of service charge), eVisitor (651) is free Jan 1, 2023 at 19:19
  • @NicolasFormichella Technically we're both right - the ETA is free, but whoever handles the application for you can charge you. For most people, yes, that will mean a A$20 fee.
    – Doc
    Jan 2, 2023 at 1:44
  • It's worth noting that the airlines pay a fee to the airport for passenger handling that they don't pay, or pay a reduced rate, if you don't pass through customs. You may find that the airline wants to charge you for this, independent of any visa fees. Source: Qantas did this to me when I stopped in Sydney for 12 hours flying from New Zealand to London. Jan 2, 2023 at 2:43
  • 1
    As an Irish citizen they would be eligible for an eVisitor (Subclass 651) visa which is free and doesn't require installing a finicky app on their phone
    – artemist
    Jan 5, 2023 at 2:52

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