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Travel Security Advice for Australia

 

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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Australia is a highly developed stable democracy with a federal-state system. Tourist facilities are widely available. Read the State Department Background Notes on Australia for additional information.

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

American citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport to enter Australia. Americans must enter with an Australian visa or, if eligible, through Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)The ETA replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. It may be obtained for a small service fee. Airlines and many travel agents in the United States are also able to apply for ETAs on behalf of travelers. Please note that American citizens who overstay their ETA or visa, even for short periods, may be subject to exclusion, detention, and removal. More information about the ETA, other visas, and entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Australia at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036, telephone (202) 797-3000, or via the Australian Embassy home page . Visa inquires may be directed to the Australian Visa Information Service at 888-990-8888.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:

Australia has instituted an alert system for possible terrorist attacks. The threat levels range from “low” to “high.” The Australian Attorney General's Office web site has up-to-date information regarding the current assessment of the terrorism threat. American citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Travelers may also contact the Australian National Security Hotline at 61-1-800-123-400.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site , where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s information on A Safe Trip Abroad.

CRIME:

Visitors should be aware that street crime, burglaries, and car thefts are a daily occurrence in Australia’s larger cities. Weapons are increasingly used in such crimes, which also may be associated with drug trafficking and usage. Foreign visitors are sometimes targets for pickpockets, purse-snatchers and petty thieves. There have also been reports of drink spiking in some areas.

Appropriate, common sense precautions should be taken, especially at night, to avoid becoming a target of opportunity. To call for fire/police/ambulance services throughout Australia, dial “000” for urgent assistance.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds may be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Every state in Australia has a crime victim assistance program that includes crimes against international visitors. For more information on local programs visit the victim assistance program web site .

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Australia is 000 (Triple 0).

See our information on Victims of Crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Australia’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession or use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Australia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

The 1908 Quarantine Law gives Australian authorities broad powers to prevent the entry into Australia of diseases and other materials that might pose a threat to Australia’s welfare. In the event of a public health emergency involving a communicable disease, passengers arriving in Australia may be subject to strict health screening measures, including testing, monitoring and assessment for possible quarantine.

Australian customs authorities enforce very strict regulations concerning the importation from all countries of items such as agricultural and wood products, as well as very strict quarantine standards for other products, animals, and pets. These regulations also apply to items tourists bring with them, including even small quantities of food such as fruit. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Australia in Washington or one of Australia's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements, or visit the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry web site .

Visitors are cautioned that Australian fauna can be dangerous. From jellyfish off the Great Barrier Reef to crocodiles and sharks, poisonous insects and snakes, the continent and its waters host wildlife that merit awe and respect in equal doses. Visit the Wet Tropics Management Authority visitor info guide for information on Australian wildlife and marine lifeSwimmers should use safety precautions, swim between the flags only where a lifeguard is present, and never swim alone. Scuba diving can be a treacherous sport. Over the past few years there have been numerous deaths related to diving incidents. Divers are urged to follow recommended precautions and never dive alone.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Excellent medical care is available. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Most doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash/credit card payment for health services.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web siteFurther health information for travelers is available from the WHO.

MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Australia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Visitors are reminded that all traffic operates on the left side of the road, and that all vehicles use right-hand drive. Visitors should use caution when crossing streets and when driving. When crossing roads, pedestrians are reminded to look carefully in all directions. Seat belts are mandatory. Speed limits and laws regarding driving while intoxicated are rigorously enforced. Roads and streets are frequently narrower and less graded than U.S. highways. Outside the major metropolitan areas, most highways are two-lane roads with significant distances between destinations. Speed limits vary throughout Australia. Visit the Roads and Traffic Authorities web site concerning traffic rules and regulations.

Drivers are urged to exercise caution while passing or merging with adjacent traffic. When driving in rural areas, drivers should be cautious of free-roaming animals and "road-trains" (several semi-truck trailers connected together). It is dangerous to pass road-trains, and it is advisable to pull over and allow on-coming road-trains to pass to avoid being sideswiped. A number of fatalities have occurred in the Northern Territory when vehicles driven at high rates of speed have skidded and overturned after hitting the loose gravel shoulder of the road. U.S. drivers, especially those inexperienced with 4-wheel drive vehicles, should exercise common-sense judgment when driving in outback Australia. 
For specific information concerning Australian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, mandatory insurance, and the rental and operation of motor vehicles in Australia, visit the
Australian Tourist Commission web site .

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information or visit the Roads and Traffic Authorities web site for Australia specific information.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Australia’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Australia’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA's website.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

For information see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

Americans living or traveling in Australia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department’s travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security Australia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

In the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) or Queanbeyan: For emergency services (e.g., the arrest, death or serious injury of an American citizen), please contact the U.S. Embassy in Canberra . The Embassy is located on Moonah Place, Yarralumla, ACT 2600, telephone (61) (2) 6214-5600, fax (61) (2) 6273-3191. NOTE: Passports and other routine citizen services for Canberra and the rest of the ACT are provided by the U.S. Consulate in Sydney (see contact information below).

In New South Wales, Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island and Queensland: For registration, passport, and other consular services for American citizens, please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Sydney located on Level 59, MLC Centre, 19-29 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000, telephone (61) (2) 9373-9200, fax (61) (2) 9373-9184. The Consulate General offers an online appointment system for American citizens seeking routine non-emergency services such as registration, passport, and other consular servicesTo make an appointment, visit the web site . Hours open to the public: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Monday to Friday (except American and Australian holidays and the first Wednesday of each month). For emergency services (e.g., the arrest, death or serious injury of an American citizen) after 5:00 p.m. weekdays or on holidays and weekends, please call (61) (2) 4422-2201.

In Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory: For registration, passport, and other consular services for American citizens, please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Melbourne located at 553 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC 3004, telephone (61) (3) 9526-5900, fax (61) (3) 9525-0769. For routine non-emergency services such as registration, passport, and other consular services, an on line appointment is necessary. To make an appointment, visit the web siteAppointments are available Monday through Friday, except American and Australian holidays and the first Wednesday of each month. For emergency services (e.g., the arrest, death or serious injury of an American citizen), between 8:00AM and 4:30PM please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it at (61) (3) 9526-5900. For emergency services after 4:30 p.m. or on holidays and weekends, please call (61) (3) 9389-3601.

In Western Australia: For registration, passport, and other consular services for American citizens, please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Perth located at 16 St. Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000, telephone: (61)(8) 9202-1224, fax (61)(8) 9231-9444. The Consulate General offers an online appointment system for American citizens seeking routine non-emergency services such as registration, passport, and other consular servicesTo make an appointment, visit the web site . Hours open to the public for American Citizen Services: 8:30-11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. For emergency services (e.g., the arrest, death, or serious injury of an American citizen) outside of business hours, please call (61) (8) 9476-0081.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Australia dated April 2, 2009, to update the section on Special Circumstances.

 


 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information regarding Australia HERE...

Need to find an Embassy ?, Check out our World Wide Embassy Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)............

Regards

The SW Team.........

 

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