We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

Calgary, Alberta...
Level Contributor
283 posts
13 reviews
Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

We have hit a snag for our trip to Sydney that was supposed to happen in a few weeks...my ETA was approved but my husband's was rejected...yes, he should have applied earlier...so since there is no way we can stay in Sydney we are now looking to go to New Zealand ASAP after we land in Sydney. I would like to contact Customs and Immigration in Australia directly but I'm not sure if they can help to answer my questions (and I can't find a number)...so here we go.

We are arriving on ANA to the International Terminal in SYD @ 0930 in the morning. My understanding is that as Canadians we can transit through Sydney without a visa within 8 hours of arrival as long as we stay in the airport transit lounge and have a ticket to an onward destination (pulled that info right from the Australian gov website).

Now, since I already have my ETA approved, I can legally leave the transit lounge and claim our luggage (both bags will be checked under my name when we leave Canada) and check them in at a counter for our outbound flight. I am hoping to book flights on Air New Zealand so we will be departing out of T1. Since almost every airline in the world allows you to check in online now (and use mobile boarding passes), we were going to check in online during our layover in Tokyo, this way my husband will get his boarding pass and can remain in the transit lounge.

Does this plan sound like it will work? I am planning to call the Canadian office in Ottawa tomorrow just to confirm that this will work and that we won't get turned away, but if someone has any insight to this type of scenario it would be greatly appreciated! Worst case scenario, we get our tickets refunded and try again next year, but we got a great deal on the tickets to Sydney so we would like to use them now if we can.

Thanks in advance!

10 replies to this topic
rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
Level Contributor
25,024 posts
70 reviews
1. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

You can't check in online for an international flight. Your husband would have to present his passport at the check in desk. I don't think you can do that for him.

Really the only way this would work is if you were arriving and departing on a through flight with the same airline, where you could be checked through from wherever you're starting out from.

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
Level Contributor
30,945 posts
77 reviews
2. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

Your husband should be able to apply for a Transit visa. That can only be done through the High Commission or a consulate using this form: www.border.gov.au/Forms/Documents/876.pdf

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,043 posts
116 reviews
3. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

YorkFoodie, you *can* check in online for many international flights, but you're right that an airline agent (or a kiosk, if flying with Air NZ) still needs to process your passport.

Glad to see Luigi's come to the rescue.

Edited: 23 October 2017, 15:07
rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
Level Contributor
25,024 posts
70 reviews
4. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

Well yes, I guess I didn't use the right terminology. You can do the check in online, but you still need to present at the check in desk for your passport to be verified.

Hope the OP's DH can get a Transit visa.

Sydney NSW
Level Contributor
1,385 posts
61 reviews
5. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

Definitely have to show a passport at the check-in desk - online checked or not.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
11,880 posts
34 reviews
6. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

I just wonder if the ETA was rejected (what reason ?) then will the transit visa then be granted to the husband ?

Edited: 23 October 2017, 20:14
Edinburgh
Level Contributor
11,475 posts
17 reviews
7. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

Yes I agree that the reason the ETA was rejected may also mean rejection of a Transit Visa application.

There was a US passport holder on here a few months ago who had his ETA declined. He was really surprised as he could not think of any reason for that decision. He reapplied and was successful the second time

Calgary, Alberta...
Level Contributor
283 posts
13 reviews
8. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

Thanks to all of you for your advice. My hubby called the authorities here today and they basically told him they couldn't help us at all so we have had to cancel our trip...hopefully we will be there next year!

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,594 posts
143 reviews
9. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

I'm really sorry to hear that you have to cancel your trip. :(

Please apply again (early) and hope to see you in Australia next year.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
551 posts
54 reviews
10. Re: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD

Sorry to hear that you had to cancel your trip but you could have done it without hassles as long as you fly with the same airline alliance, like Staralliance or Oneworld. Since ANA and Air NZ are both part of StarAlliance then ANA would have checked your luggage through all the way to NZ and you could have both checked in for your SYD-AKL flight at SYD transit desk.

Reply to: Complicated scenario regarding customs and transiting SYD
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted