Australian visas online

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I had seen a couple of mentions (Dec. ’01, pg. 33 & Feb. ’02, pg. 111) about getting Australian visas electronically for a fee of $15 (visit www.eta.immi.gov.au). I don’t mind paying the fee, but the website did not seem to me to be secure, as I did not see any padlock.

For a trip to Australia in May ’05, I called the tourist office in Los Angeles (310/695-3200) and was told that the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C. (888/990-8888), is the only office that issues visas in this country. I called the embassy and was assured that the website was perfectly safe, with the implication that only dinosaurs used paper visas (it would take at least a month, you have to mail in your passport, etc.).

As I live in Alaska, the alternative of going in person to the embassy did not seem feasible, so in April I did use the website, which had a warning to watch out for the Trojan virus; I was successful in obtaining the necessary visas for my husband and myself. However, the next day, on checking my e-mail, I discovered that the Trojan virus had indeed invaded. Fortunately, I have excellent virus protection and the virus was immediately quarantined.

I would like to caution travelers to Australia to be very certain their virus protection is top quality and up to date before using the electronic visa website.

ANNE CUSICK
Kodiak, AK

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I had seen a couple of mentions (Dec. ’01, pg. 33 & Feb. ’02, pg. 111) about getting Australian visas electronically for a fee of $15 (visit www.eta.immi.gov.au). I don’t mind paying the fee, but the website did not seem to me to be secure, as I did not see any padlock.

For a trip to Australia in May ’05, I called the tourist office in Los Angeles (310/695-3200) and was told that the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C. (888/990-8888), is the only office that issues visas in this country. I called the embassy and was assured that the website was perfectly safe, with the implication that only dinosaurs used paper visas (it would take at least a month, you have to mail in your passport, etc.).

As I live in Alaska, the alternative of going in person to the embassy did not seem feasible, so in April I did use the website, which had a warning to watch out for the Trojan virus; I was successful in obtaining the necessary visas for my husband and myself. However, the next day, on checking my e-mail, I discovered that the Trojan virus had indeed invaded. Fortunately, I have excellent virus protection and the virus was immediately quarantined.

I would like to caution travelers to Australia to be very certain their virus protection is top quality and up to date before using the electronic visa website.

ANNE CUSICK
Kodiak, AK