Cruising visa requirements

Victor is planning a cruise which will stop at several different destinations, which is making arranging visas a little tricky. 

Q. Victor

I’ve booked a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles going down the east coast of South America and then up the west coast. This of course means visiting about six countries. I was looking for information on visa requirements but have had little luck so far. Can you advise what I will need?

A. Victor, it’s hard to know exactly which countries you’re visiting, but we’re assuming Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay. The good news is that Australian citizens don’t need visas for these countries for short stays, such as those off a cruise ship.

The exception is Brazil. You’re in luck if you have an NZ or UK passport, but Australian citizens must have a visa in advance, which can be a slow and cumbersome process. Give yourself plenty of time to apply at the consulate in Sydney if you live in Queensland, New South Wales or the Northern Territory, or the embassy in Canberra if from another state. See the Consulate General of Brazil in Sydney for more. The hassle is worth it: Brazil is a wonderful destination which you’re sure to love.

Remember that, in general, your passport should also have six months validity and that visa requirements occasionally change, so double check before your departure. And the good news is that maost cruise companies will make your visa arrangements for you, but it is worthwhile double checking.

You can confirm the most up-to-date visa requirements by visiting

Written by Debbie McTaggart