I would like to apply for a ETA 601 visa but I'm not sure if I'm eligible or not.

I reviewed the eligibility at https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/electronic-travel-authority-601#Eligibility

But this is what is confusing:

  • You must meet our character requirement. - I meet these requirements
  • If you have a criminal conviction in any country, you should apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600) and provide evidence about your criminal convictions. - I do have a criminal conviction though.

Is the "should" saying that it's more likely for me to get a Visa though the 651 and that I can still apply or is it saying that I shouldn't apply?

The criminal conviction was:

  • a non-violent misdemeanor from 17 years ago.
  • 2 years probation
  • no jail time

I called Home Affairs and they said they could not advise.

At this point I leave for Australia in a few days. I don't have time to do the other visa process. I'm assuming that I need to at least answer "yes" to the question for the ETA application that I have been convicted of a crime?

  • 2
    Should is typically used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness. In this context it means must. I suspect that declaring your conviction (which you must do) will likely mean your ETA application gets declined.
    – Traveller
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 20:30
  • @Traveller that seems like an answer!
    – mlc
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 21:02
  • 1
    I risked it and answered "no", I was approved instantly which makes me think there wasn't any kind of look up. I guess I'll see how it goes when I arrive in two days. I update this so people can know the results.
    – evolvd
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 22:24
  • 2
    @evolvd I take it you’ve never watched the ‘Australian Border Force’ tv series. And that you intend to make another false declaration on your Incoming Passenger Card on arrival abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/crossing-the-border/…
    – Traveller
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 22:36
  • lol no I have never watched that
    – evolvd
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 23:55

2 Answers 2


Turns out what I did was the correct way to go about it but only because I didn't realize that my conviction 15+ years ago was expunged. I got this information from calling the Consultant.

If I would have said yes it would have automatically denied that visa.

Hope this helps someone in the future.


Adding this edit from Sydney! Getting through customs was super smooth. If I would have entered yes to having a conviction I wouldn’t have been able to come on this trip so pretty happy with how it turned out.

  • 5
    Who or what is "the Consultant" ? How does that person or entity know your conviction was expunged? Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 0:08
  • 2
    Does that mean you’ve arrived in Australia and were allowed to enter the country? Or do you just have an ETA that allows you to travel to Australia but does not guarantee entry?
    – Traveller
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 8:04
  • 1
    @Traveller No visa or ETA can "guarantee" entry, that decision is always made at the border. It just lets you board the plane. Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 11:03
  • 1
    @lambshaanxy I’m aware of that. Not sure the OP understands it though
    – Traveller
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 11:24
  • @Traveller yeah I got in today
    – evolvd
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 6:47

Do NOT try to circumvent visa requirements by lying on your application. And that includes lying about not having a criminal conviction on your ETA application.

You may get away with it but it's a crime and at the very least can lead to you being turned back at the border, more likely it'll lead to you not just being turned back but being banned from entry for several years.

As you should be, obviously. A regular visa application would (if you're truthful that indeed it was a non-violent crime and just some probation a long time ago, but why should we trust you now that you've already admitted to lying on your ETA application?) in your case probably have been approved, but you closed that avenue.

  • 2
    The OP may get away with this BUT has forever locked themselves in to a false declaration as far as Australian Immigration is concerned. If they attract the attention of the authorities for any reason during their stay, or they ever intend to apply for any kind of Australian visa that requires proof of not having a criminal conviction, making a false declaration will come back to haunt them
    – Traveller
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 9:25
  • @Traveller correct, that's the long term implication that can come to haunt him on any future attempt to visit Australia (or even during his current visit if he happens to attract the attention of the police, even for something small like being in the wrong place at the wrong time and becoming involved in a crime by someone else).
    – jwenting
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 10:23
  • However there may be cases where you have a conviction but can still answer no, depending on the precise rules.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 13:28

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