More than 40,000 Australians have applied to take their passports back to Australia to return to the United States, the Immigration Department said on Friday.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) said the surge in applications had come after an “unprecedented” rise in visa applications in the past three months.
“The number of Australian citizens applying for visas to travel to the USA has increased by more than 40 per cent since the start of September,” a spokesperson said.
A number of the applications came from people who had been planning to visit the US and were now unsure about what to do.
DIBRP spokeswoman Lisa Kelly said many of the applicants had planned to return home to their home countries after they had visited the US.
“These travellers are looking to make their visit a more comfortable experience in the US,” Ms Kelly said.
“It is essential that these travellers understand the requirements and requirements of their visa, particularly when travelling on their visa-exempt visa.”
The Department also said that those travelling with an exemption from visa restrictions will need to prove they have not been convicted of a crime in Australia.
It is not yet clear what would happen if the Australian people were to refuse to return their passports, or if the passports were confiscated.
“Our Government will continue to support Australian citizens who are interested in visiting the US to visit family, friends and enjoy their freedom of travel,” the spokesperson said, adding that the Government would be working with other nations to help resolve the issue.”DIB members will continue working with Australian officials to ensure that our citizens can visit the United State and other countries without fear of retribution.”ABC/wires