I recently became a citizen of Australia and am now a dual national (USA). I exited Australia on my American passport due to lack of preparation (in the middle of interstate move) and I failed to do the homework on my dual national travel responsibilities.

Anyway my question is: Upon entering Australia will they allow me entry on my USA passport if I get an ETA and have my citizenship certificate for Australia?

  • 1
    Do you have an Australian passport? If not, can you apply for one before you return? – lambshaanxy Oct 11 '16 at 5:31
  • Simply ignore the fact that you have an Aus. citizenship. Just travel to Aus. as a regular American with an ETA. What's the big deal? – Fattie Oct 11 '16 at 11:39
  • I thoroughly searched all doco for the "601" visa (ie: the ETA instant-visa) border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/601- and I can not find any mention that you are not allowed to be an Aussie citizen. Note that apparently on the form if you asset you have have an Auussie passport, you simply can't continue. (Naturally, if you have an Aus passport, you'd just use that and save the $20.) There is ...... – Fattie Oct 11 '16 at 20:42
  • ...... there is one forum post item seven where a writer asserts they were refused a 601/ETA because they were a citiizen. I, personally, discount the post as explained in a comment below. – Fattie Oct 11 '16 at 20:43

YMMV, but Australia does not automatically cancel previous visas when you get citizenship. So if your previous visa is still valid, and you used it to leave Australia without issues, odds are pretty high you can use it to enter Australia again. Pro tip: you can use VEVO to check if your visa is still valid: https://www.border.gov.au/Busi/Visa

You should not apply for an ETA, since you're not allowed to hold multiple simultaneous visas.

All that said, the right thing to do would be to apply for an Australian passport overseas. This involves quite a bit of paperwork for a first application though, and likely several weeks of waiting.

  • 1
    wait, who said the OP has a "visa" ? – Fattie Oct 11 '16 at 11:40
  • "the right thing to do would be to apply for an Australian passport overseas" but why?? what's wrong with travelling on the US one?? – Fattie Oct 11 '16 at 11:41
  • 2
    "Australia does not automatically cancel": Are you sure? See border.gov.au/Trav/Citi/Curr/Citizenship-through-travel: "Once you have become an Australian citizen any visa you held ceases." Granted, the AUS government has conflicting information online (even just on that one page) about whether its citizens "must" or "should" use AUS passports to enter the country, so the page isn't definitive, but it does call your assertion into question. – phoog Oct 11 '16 at 14:19
  • @phoog Quite sure, since a family member has done exactly this after naturalizing. And you don't have to take my word for it, the VEVO system lets you check if your visa is still valid. – lambshaanxy Oct 11 '16 at 19:57
  • 1
    @jpatokal (in response to your comment to Joe Blow) but the majority of the Aus government information online (as far as I've seen, anyway)says "should." It's a recommendation, not a requirement. If you can prove your AUS citizenship by any means, they will let you in; they just note that it might take (considerably) longer if you don't have a passport. – phoog Oct 11 '16 at 20:27

If you have Australian citizenship and can prove so, they can't really refuse to let you in; the only variable is how much time you need to spend in immigration limbo while they verify your identify and citizenship.

The airline you fly with will not be as lenient -- on the other hand they care only about having appropriate paperwork and will not begin to quiz you about what you're intending to do while in Australia.

So get an ETA for your American passport, and show that for boarding a plane. Upon arrival, present the passport you have (everything will be smoother when you have some form of travel identification) together with the citizenship certificate, and be prepared for spending some hours in a small room while the bureaucracy grinds.

  • 2
    You're not supposed to get Australian visas if you're Australian, and your ETA may be denied if you apply. The "right" thing to do is to get an Australian passport, although this is time-consuming. – lambshaanxy Oct 11 '16 at 10:56
  • 1
    hi @jpatokal "You're not supposed to get Australian visas if you're Australian, and your ETA may be denied if you apply", hmm, I know for certain someone who is an Australian citizen (born there even) and as a matter of course (dozens of times) uses a different passport, getting the ETA in that. Are you sure it's actually not-supposed-to? If you happen to have a ref. or something that would be fascinating – Fattie Oct 11 '16 at 11:38
  • 1
    It's hard to believe there wouldn't be some text somewhere, actually by the Aussie gov't, that states that is a rule; if it is a rule. You know guys? – Fattie Oct 11 '16 at 20:24
  • 1
    @JoeBlow I'm with you. The current situation to me smells rather of one in which they know they can't require you to have a passport, because they know they must let you in if you can show your citizenship by any means. But they would really rather like it if you bring your passport, since it saves everyone a bit of bother when you arrive, and it avoids their having to waste resources tracking an Australian citizen in a database that's supposed to have only foreigners in it. So they say you "should" use your Australian passport. – phoog Oct 11 '16 at 20:30
  • 1
    @JoeBlow the page border.gov.au/Trav/Citi/Curr/Citizenship-through-travel says both "As an Australian citizen you must always leave and enter Australia on an Australian passport" and "If you also have a passport from another country you should always use your Australian passport when leaving and entering Australia"! These contradictory sentences are separated by just one paragraph. The page border.gov.au/Trav/Citi/Curr/Dual-citizenship says "Dual nationals should use an Australian passport to enter and depart Australia." – phoog Oct 11 '16 at 21:02

So Australia is making it really difficult for lots of us dual nationals. You now must apply to renew passports in person - I have to travel 1000 miles to do this and pay $250 to boot. I would be happy to comply if Australia would make it easy to - like it used to be. When my Australian passport expires I am going to use my US passport with an ETA

  • 2
    This isn’t an answer as much as a rant about Australian passport renewal policies. – Jan Nov 13 '16 at 20:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.