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Reasons Why ETA Visas are Declined


Information About Declined Applications & Watch Lists

Over 90% of ETA Visas are approved almost immediately, usually within 20-30 minutes, this means that approximately 5%-8% of first attempt eta visa applications are declined, this is usually due to people with a similar name to yours being on a "Watch List".

In most cases (99%), it is simply mistaken identity.

The GOOD NEWS is that We can get over 99% of these declined applications approved within 1-2 working days.

Most other agents cannot.

This is why we recommend that you APPLY for your ETA Visa at least 2 weeks before you are ready to travel.

Applying Via other websites including the Govt Website

This is almost useless if there is a problem, they will simply tell you to go to the nearest Aust embassy and rarely offer any further assistance in a timely manner, if at all.


We will personally assist you if you have a problem, if you apply via this website only.


We ask people to book any travel visas at least 2 - 4 weeks before they travel to avoid losing their flight.

7 Main Reasons

Here are some of the watchlists used to monitor people who apply for travel visas to Australia.

  1. Common Name list (criminal list)
  2. Terrorist watch list
  3. Medical watch list
  4. Under age child watch list
  5. Australian Governments offender list
  6. Computer Outage Problems
  7. Identity Theft

Common Name List

Approx 8% of applications are declined on the first try.

Most "agents" cannot get these approved unless "they" or "you" go to the embassy.

Unlike most agents, We can get over 99% of these declined applications approved within 24 - 48 hours. It is actually faster for us to do the application manually on your behalf in most cases, than it is for you to go to the embassy.

If you have a common Given Name such as;

  • John, Paul, George, Sarah, Mary, Joseph, Susan, Louise etc etc etc

and also a common Surname (Family Name) such as

  • TAN, LI, ZHANG, LE, LEE, LIM, etc
  • Nguyen, etc
  • Mohammed (all 30+ spellings of), Mohd (+ anything) etc

etc etc or one of many others you may share that name with someone with a criminal record. Sometimes this also applies to people with not so common names as well.


We get many hundreds of these PENDING APPLICATIONS and in 99.9% of cases We Can get these cleared within 12 - 24 hours.

For the few that don't clear immediately, you may need to email us with a scanned color copy of your passport [and drivers license] and then it can take 2-4 working days to process.


We do NOT charge anything for this extra service. There is NO FEE.

This usually takes several working days to resolve and longer at busy times of the year

Terrorist Watch List

For people with the same names as those on the terrorist watch list.

These applications usually take from 12 hours to 2 days and some even take up to several weeks to clear and in these cases, the applicant is often required to personally attend the embassy in person with identification documentation.

Medical Watch List

For people with the same names as those on a medical watch list, such as heart conditions, Hep A, B, C, HIV or AIDS etc etc

Under Age Child List

This list is for parents who have "usually" separated or divorced and one of them puts their child on a travel watch list to avoid the other parent taking their children out of the country.

Common Names

Children with the same names as other children ON the watchlist may also need to be double checked and this process may take from 6 hours up to several days to complete.

While uncommon, this event does occur, however, 99.99% of the applications are approved within 24 hours.

Australian Governments Offender List

This is the list of people who have been to Australia before and created some sort of record. This is usually where they have had an altercation with the law or they have overstayed their visa or broken their visa conditions.

For Example: Overstaying usually gets an immediate 3 year ban.

Computer Outage Problems

Sometimes the computer system may be not working at the Australian airport you are departing from and you get "Rubber" STAMPED OUT instead of electronically registered.

It is unfortunate but true that some of the staff at Australian airports are either lazy, incompetant or inept when it comes to updating the computer system with passport number which have departed Australia.

The problem for the departing visitor is that the system still registers them as being IN Australia which is a violation of their visa and therefore subject to an immediate 3 year ban or worse.

When you return to your country, you should notify your nearest Australian embassy in writing that you have departed the country and Request that they update your passport accordingly.

Please "Double Check" with the embassy at least 1 week later to ensure that you have been electronically updated as departing Australia to avoid any further problems in the future.

REQUEST a response IN WRITING that they have received and actioned your letter. Keep this on file with your passport.

Identity Theft

Did you know that in 2010 in the USA alone, over 8 million people reported identity theft complaints. This number is growing world wide and may also affect your application if the person pretending to be you has created a criminal record or other problem using your identity.

APPLY for your ETA Visa here
ETA Australia Visa