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Home / General Travel Tips /
XYZ Consular Info: Australia

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XYZ Consular Info: Australia

Australia Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
April 11, 2002
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Australia is a highly developed, stable democracy with a federal-state system. Tourist facilities are widely available. The Australian Tourist Commission, which has a wide range of information of interest to travelers, can be contacted via the Internet at www.australia.com.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens may travel to Australia on a valid U.S. passport with an Australian visa or, if eligible, on a valid U.S. passport and an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. The ETA is free of charge and is available from airlines and many travel agents. American citizens who overstay their ETA or visa, even for short periods, may be subject to detention and removal.
More information about the ETA and entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy of Australia at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, telephone (202) 797-3000, via the Australian Embassy home page on the Internet at , or from the Australian Consulate General in Los Angeles, tel (310) 229-4840.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all Australian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Australian citizens. For additional information, please see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer. For recent information concerning the Government of Australia's approach to dual nationality, please see www.citizenship.gov.au.
CRIME: Australia's crime rate is low. However, foreign visitors from the United States or elsewhere are sometimes targets for pick-pockets, purse snatchers and petty thieves. Automobile burglaries and theft of personal belongings also occur. 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. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Excellent medical care is available. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
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 if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover healthcare expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
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 it not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good
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.
Drivers are urged to exercise caution while passing or merging with adjacent traffic. When driving in rural areas, particularly in the Northern Territory where there are no speed limits, drivers should be cautious of free-roaming animals and "road-trains" (several semi-truck trailers hooked 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 additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
For specific information concerning Australian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, mandatory insurance and the rental and operation of motor vehicles in Australia, please contact the Australian Tourist Commission via the Internet at www.australia.com.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Australia's civil aviation authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Australia's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Australian customs authorities enforce very strict regulations concerning the temporary 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. 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 see www.aqis.gov.au .
Australian customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to atacarnet@uscib.org, or visit www.uscib.org for details.
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 arrested, imprisoned and/or deported. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Australia are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Australia is located in an area of low seismic activity. Although the probability of a major earthquake occurring during an individual trip is remote, earthquakes can and do occur. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/crisismg.html, and from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or visiting Australia are encouraged to register at the nearest U.S. consulate and obtain updated information on travel and security within Australia. The U.S. Embassy in Canberra is located at Moonah Place, Yarralumla, A.C.T. 2600, telephone (61)(2) 6214-5600, fax (61)(2) 6273-3191, home page
NOTE: Registration, passports, and other routine citizen services for Canberra and the rest of the Australian Capital Territory (A.C.T.) are provided by the U.S. Consulate in Sydney (please see contact information below). The Embassy may be contacted for emergency services (i.e. the arrest, death or serious injury of American citizens) within the ACT or Queanbeyan.
The U.S. Consulate General in Sydney serves New South Wales, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory and is located on Level 59, MLC Centre, 19-29 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000, telephone (61)(2) 9373-9200, fax (61)(2) 9373-9184, home page /.
The U.S. Consulate General in Melbourne serves Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and the Northern Territory and is located at 553 St. Kilda Road, P.O. Box 6722, Melbourne Vic 3004, telephone (61)(3) 9526-5900, fax (61)(3) 9525-0769, home page http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/melbourne/.
The U.S. Consulate General in Perth serves Western Australia and is located on Level 13, 16 St. Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000, telephone (61)(8) 9202-1224, fax (61)(8) 9231-9444, home page http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/perth/.
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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated April 6, 2000 to update sections on Entry Requirements, Medical Insurance, Customs Regulations and Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, and to add the Section on Dual Nationality.