Australians are lucky to be able to visit 111 countries around the world without a visa. Australians can also easily obtain a visa on arrival in a further 56 countries, meaning we’re able to visit much of the world with relative ease. And as countries continue to liberalise their visa requirements, it will only get better.
In the last year alone, there are six countries in particular that are now much easier for Australians to visit. If you’ve been thinking about travelling to any of these countries, now is the time!
Since 1 October 2019, Australians can now obtain a tourist visa on arrival to enter Myanmar for up to 30 days. The cost is USD50 and the visa can be obtained when arriving at Yangon, Mandalay or Naypyitaw international airports. (Citizens of Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Russia can also now get a Myanmar visa on arrival.)
This is much easier than the previous process of pre-arranging a visa through the Myanmar Embassy in Canberra! So if you’ve been thinking about visiting this emerging destination, now could be a good time.
As of 17 June 2019, Australians (along with Americans, Canadians and Japanese passport holders) no longer require a visa to visit Brazil.
Brazil generally uses a policy of reciprocity – meaning Australians needed visas for Brazil because we require the same of Brazilians – but Brazil’s new president made an exception earlier this year. So, in case you needed another excuse to experience Brazil’s incredible beaches, food, culture and hospitality, here it is!
Less than a year after introducing e-visas, Uzbekistan completely removed the requirement for Australians to obtain a visa on 1 February 2019. Visa-free travel to Uzbekistan is now possible for single-entry visits of up to 30 days.
Uzbekistan is a hugely underrated and fascinating tourist destination – as is much of Central Asia. Samarkand is particularly stunning!
Australians have long enjoyed visa-free travel to the United Kingdom. But on 20 May 2019, the UK made entry to the country just a little bit easier by opening passport e-gates to Australian citizens. This means you’ll no longer need to queue to speak to an immigration officer when arriving in the UK. The UK also no longer requires you to fill out a landing card.
Until recently, Saudi Arabia did not offer tourist visas to Australians at all. But things are changing, and the country is starting to open itself up to tourism. Around a month ago, Saudi Arabia began offering tourist visas to nationals of 49 countries including Australians. The country will also relax its strict dress code for female visitors. While Saudi Arabia may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and its tourism industry is now very much in its infancy, it could be an interesting place for some to visit.
After initially introducing visa-free travel for Australians for up to 5 days, Belarus has now extended this to visits of up to 30 days. To be eligible, you must arrive and depart by plane at Minsk International Airport (MSQ) and you must not be in transit to/from Russia. Travel insurance is compulsory, and you’ll be required to purchase a policy (at a reasonable cost) at the border if you don’t have it.
Belarus is worth a visit; you can read about the country in this AFF trip report.
Australians still require visas for some countries
Australians still need to pre-arrange a visa for travel to some countries, including Russia and China – although there are exceptions. If you’re transiting to a third country via an eligible Chinese airport, you can use the TWOV program. There is also a loophole whereby you can visit St Petersburg in Russia for up to 72 hours without a visa, by booking a cruise from Helsinki to St Petersburg.
If you’re unsure whether you need a visa to visit a particular country, you can check using a website such as iVisa.com. This website provides useful information on immigration requirements, and they can also assist you with any visa applications for a small fee. (Plus, AFF GOLD members can benefit from 30% off iVisa services.)