Need Help Urgently: Traveling with Child to Australia

Discussion in 'Visas, Immigration & Customs' started by inpd, Apr 12, 2007.

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  1. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    103
    0
    Hi,

    Here is the situation.

    My wife, myself and young 2 year old are dual citizens
    of the United states and Australia. We live in the U.S.
    and are shortly going back to Australia for a holiday.

    My wife and I have two passports. My 2 year old only
    has a U.S. passport.

    The Australian embassy in U.S. says she cannot apply
    for an Australian visa since she is a citizen.

    But we are traveling in a month so getting an Australian
    passport in the U.S. is tough in such a short time frame.

    Should we risk trying to get her an Australian visa
    to enter the country or is it guarenteed to be rejected
    because in some big database it has her name?

    When in Australia. I'll apply for her passport.
     

  2. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    6,419
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    If she is an Australian Citizen then she is not entitled to a visa; you need to get her a passport . I would have hoped that the Australian Embassy would be able to sort it out in a month

    Dave
     
  3. kooz

    kooz Newbie

    Mar 6, 2007
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    I am almost certain that you can fast-track a passport application simply by paying extra money.
     
  4. serfty

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    #4 serfty, Apr 12, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2007
  5. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    103
    0
    Perhaps. My wife's took 6 weeks because the U.S. photo
    standards are different to the Australian and the overseas
    embassies are sticklers (rightly so) and kept on sending them
    back.

    My question is: If we get an ETA (electronic travel authority)
    for her (i.e. visa waiver), will it get denied in the U.S. or when
    entering Australia or anything like that?

    Getting an Australian passport in the U.S. is expensive
    >US$250 and a hassle. I would prefer to go the ETA route
    as we did last time (before she was a citizen) but don't
    want to get denied boarding or entry on the day!
     
  6. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    Now that you've been through that process, you should know the exact requirements for the photos required, and the embassy/consulate should accept them first time.

    https://www.passports.gov.au/Web/Requirements/Photos.aspx gives more info.

    I'd go down the passport route personally, but the visa idea could be beneficial too.
     
  7. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    103
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    Ha! This had me rolling on the floor in fits of laughter.
    You've obviously not dealt with the Australian consulate
    in Washington DC. In all fairness, the U.S. is paranoid about
    terrorism and it effects everyone.

    The bottom line question is:

    "If I apply for an ETA (visa electronically) will the system
    be smart enough to work out she is already a citizen"
     
  8. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
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    no, the bottom line is:

    "She does not qualify for an ETA."

    Don't you think that even if the ETA is issued and she is allowed to board the aircraft, that the immigration officer in Australia is going to ask some pertinent questions about her citizenship when a 2yo lobs up to the counter with a USA passport and ETA and her parents have Australian passports?

    Your only choice is to pay the money and get the passport.
     
  9. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
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    ... or an "Australian Declaratory Visa".

    (They do last 5 years, just as long as a Child's passport).
     
  10. d15.in.oz

    d15.in.oz Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    452
    0
    While I agree with Serfty’s great advice, just one more question to add some complexity to the issue – was your daughter born outside of Australia?

    If so, (due to her age and living in a foreign country) she will not be considered a citizen until she is registered http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/pdf/118.pdf . If she is registered, all Australian government computer systems will reject an application for a visa/permit. Under the law she is unable to enter Australia as a foreign national.

    If she was born in Australia, then given your citizenship, she acquired Australian citizenship at birth, and again must enter Australia as Australian.
     
  11. d15.in.oz

    d15.in.oz Member

    Nov 28, 2006
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    #12 d15.in.oz, Apr 12, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2007
    And more importantly, if you lie in an application for a visa/permit, and the system doesn't pick up this lie (e.g. the ETA only checking against the immigration dept's waring records and not whether she is an Australian or NZ citizen), as NM points out this WILL be discovered on arrival into Australia, and entry denied (as a US citizen).
     
  12. inpd

    inpd Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    103
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    Wow, you guys are all experts and know the outcome of the situation
    before hand! Fortunately (for me), your wrong :D

    Actually, the simple answer after talking to Australia Immigration is that
    you will not be denied entry. It will just delay entry until they can verify
    your citizenship. So bringing a citizenship certificate is sufficient.

    Details from the immigration australia web site is below:

    "When entering Australia, all Australians, including those who hold dual nationality, must be able to prove that they are an Australian citizen. An Australian passport is conclusive evidence of a person's identity and citizenship, and provides the holder with unfettered right of entry to Australia.

    An Australian citizen who arrives without an Australian passport may be delayed until their identity and claims to enter Australia have been checked. If a person holding a foreign passport claims to be an Australian citizen, immigration officers must confirm and verify this through official databases. This will invariably cause some delays to the person while the authorities undertake the necessary enquiries."
     
  13. d15.in.oz

    d15.in.oz Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    452
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    I would refer you to what you have quoted -
    Additionally, this provision is designed for more emergency type of situations… Not specifically for people, who have the ability but don’t want to apply for the correct documentation prior to travel. I have no doubt, the length of delay, on arrival, will be commensurate with any perception of this by immigration staff. :)

     
  14. novacatz

    novacatz Junior Member

    Mar 29, 2006
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    0
    I am going to second what inpd says on this one --

    You don't enter 'as a US citizen' or 'as an australian citizen' -- your citizenship is a property dependant on your parents nationality/place of birth/ etc etc.

    When you get to the immigration - if you can prove that you are an australian citizen - THEY CANNOT KEEP YOU OUT.

    Now, an australian passport is a very convenient easy way to prove citizenship. If you don't have one at the checkpoint - then be prepared for some hassle -- but in the situation outlined

    a) ETA
    and
    b) australian parents traveling with child.

    If immigration says 'child is not an australian citizen' then they have valid entry documents from source (a).

    If immigration says 'child is an australian citizen' by virtue of (b) then they have to let him in.

    They can't have half of each and keep the child out....
     
  15. serfty

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    This may be true, but you might not get your 2YO onto the Aircraft in the first place.

    Airlines may incur penalties for bringing inadequately documented passengers to Australia. Because of this Airline agents are required to inspect the documentation of all travellers before allowing them to check-in.
     
  16. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    From Australian Immigration Fact Sheet 95. Documents Needed to Enter Australia

    Dave
     
  17. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    Yup - QF copped a $5,000 fine for letting a Zimbabwean mate of mine on a flight to the UK without a visa (he had incorrectly been told by our travel team that he didnt need one).

    But going back to the OP. Is it the cost of the ETA or express passport that is the problem? I can't imagine saying to my wife at immigration that we have a 3 hour wait (timeline picked at random) because I didnt want to get a passport.

    Also not to be too aggressive but you posted a question asking for advice, didnt like the advice, rechecked the information with the correct authorities and now have an answer you are happy with. Wouldnt it have been easier to do that in the first place?

    Good luck with your flight and please post a smug "it was easy" post when you breeze through immigration - it will be a good tip for the rest of us :)
     
  18. SeaWolf

    SeaWolf Active Member

    Jan 24, 2007
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    Sydney
    I get the impression you've contacted the embassy and asked them a series of specific questions and gotten specific answers. From the Q&A you've concluded this will be a pain. What you might want to try doing is instead, contacting the embassy or DFAT, outlining the situation and asking them what they would suggest as the best course of action.

    They may come up with a solution that none of us is aware of.
     
  19. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
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    I think inpd has the answer that meet their needs from this post:

    So all is good...
     
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