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Getting here and advice about your stay

Entry requirements

All visitors must have a valid passport and visa.

Passport validity
For entry into Australia, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

If you are transiting another country on your way to or from Australia, make sure you check the entry requirements for that country. Many countries will only permit entry if you have at least six months validity remaining on your passport.

On arrival you may be asked to provide evidence of funds to support your stay and a return or onward ticket.

If you hold an ePassport you can use SmartGate to pass through passport control when arriving in Australia. See the Australian Department of Immigration & Border Protection website: www.border.gov.au

Dual nationals
If you are a British national living in Australia with Australian citizenship, or you are a dual national, you should leave and enter Australia on your Australian passport, otherwise you may face difficulties and delays. For more information, see the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade’s website: www.smartraveller.gov.au/guide/dual-nationals.html

Yellow fever
A yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers aged one year or older who are arriving in Australia within six days of having stayed in, or transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. See the World Health Organization site: www.who.int/ith/2016-ith-annex1.pdf for the up-to-date list of countries.

UK Emergency Travel Documents
An Emergency Travel Document (ETD) allows you to leave the country you are in and travel to your destination (via a maximum of five countries) if you cannot get a replacement British passport in time. UK ETDs are valid for entry into, transit through, and exit from Australia.

You can apply for an ETD (sometimes known as an ‘Emergency Passport’) if you are a British national outside the UK and your passport has been lost, stolen, damaged or has recently expired.

Only apply for an ETD if you cannot renew or replace your passport before you need to travel. Contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate if you need to travel urgently and can’t apply for a passport in time. You usually cannot get an ETD more than five days before you travel, unless you need a visa. See: www.gov.uk/emergency-travel-document for more information.

Visas
British citizens can get the following types of electronic Visitor’s visa:

Anyone who wants to work in Australia needs a work visa.

Check with the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection for up to date information on the types of visas available. See: www.border.gov.au

In certain circumstances you may be asked to undergo a health examination before a visa can be granted, for example if you are aged 75 years or older. Factor-in extra time for this when applying for a visa.

Working Holiday visas
Beware of scam adverts offering to help you extend a Working Holiday visa. Second-year Working Holiday visas are available if you have worked in a rural area for three months during the first year of your working holiday. Some British nationals have falsely claimed to have worked on farms using information bought from scam advertisers. As a result, they have had their visas cancelled and been excluded from returning to Australia for three years.

The Australian Fair Work Ombudsman can advise on pay and conditions and investigate workplace complaints (e.g. working conditions on farms in Australia), and make employers comply with the law. See: www.fairwork.gov.au

The Fair Work Infoline is: 13 13 94 (national number accessible within Australia, open 8.00am to 5.30pm local time, Monday to Friday).

[Source: FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk (Aug 2016)]

 

Safety and security

Crime
The level of crime is no higher than in the UK. However, be careful with personal possessions and travel documents in cities and popular tourist destinations. Avoid carrying everything in one bag. Don’t leave bags unattended in vehicles, internet cafes, pubs or clubs. Theft from safety deposit boxes is common in the cheaper hotels and hostels. Be particularly vigilant at night in the busy tourist areas of Sydney, such as Kings Cross, downtown George Street, Hyde Park and Centennial Park.

There have been some serious sexual assaults against British nationals in Australia. Take care in the town centre of Alice Springs at night. There have been a number of incidents of harassment, robberies and attacks (including sexual assault) on foreign tourists. Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you are going to drink, know your limit. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK.

Beware of online lettings scams in which prospective tenants are asked to transfer a deposit to an overseas bank account in return for keys to a rental property in Australia. British travellers have fallen victim to these scams.

You can reduce the risk of losing your passport by getting a Proof of Age Card. This is an accepted form of ID for many services like opening bank accounts or entering licensed premises. By getting a card soon after you arrive you will limit the need to carry your passport with you. See: www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/transport-and-regional/registration-and-licences/proof-of-age-card for more information.

If your passport is lost or stolen you may be able to get an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) from the nearest British Consulate. However, we can only issue an ETD for urgent travel, not for general identity purposes. See the Emergency Travel Documents section for more information: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/australia/entry-requirements

Local travel
Australia is a huge country. If you are bushwalking or exploring national parks it can take hours to get help in the event of an emergency. The terrain and intense heat can have a severe impact on your capabilities. Take plenty of water and a means of rigging up shelter from the sun. The NSW Police Force website provides further advice on bush safety, most of which applies throughout Australia. See: www.trek.nsw.gov.au  

Australia is home to a number of dangerous animal species, from crocodiles, jellyfish and sharks to venomous insects, spiders and snakes found in many parts of the country. See the Wet Tropics Management Authority website for more information: www.wettropics.gov.au/home  

The Tourism Australia website has extensive information on travelling around the continent, see: www.australia.com/en-gb. The Australian Government’s National Visitor Safety Handbook also contains comprehensive travel safety advice on Australia. See: www.beachsafe.org.au/Visiting
_the_beach/Tourist_Safety
or visit: www.queensland.com/~/media

Swimming safety
Rip currents are the main surf hazard for all beach users. They can occur at any beach, and can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea. Rip currents are directly responsible for 20 coastal drowning deaths and over 15,000 rescues in Australia each year (source: Surf Life Saving Australia [SLSA]). There are more British victims than any other foreign nationality, with as many as 400 British nationals rescued and up to four drowning each year.

Take the following simple precautions:

  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags. These indicate it is a supervised location where a lifesaving service is currently on duty

  • Do not swim at unsupervised locations

  • Read the safety signs indicating current and typical hazards for that location

  • Ask a lifeguard for advice – they are there to provide safety advice and make your experience safe and enjoyable

  • Always swim with a friend; never alone

  • If you get into trouble, stay calm and attract attention by calling and waving your arm above your head

  • Never swim after drinking alcohol or taking drugs – they impair your ability and judgement in the water

Further guidance on beach safety is available on the SLSA website: www.beachsafe.org.au/surf-ed

Rivers and pools can be subject to sudden flash flooding as a result of heavy rain elsewhere in the area. There have been cases of British nationals being injured by diving into water which was too shallow. Make sure that there is sufficient depth of water before diving, and always follow warning signs if present.

Road travel
You can drive in Australia using your UK driving licence as long as you remain a temporary overseas visitor, your UK licence is valid, you have not been disqualified from driving anywhere, and your licence is not suspended or cancelled or your visiting driving privileges withdrawn.

If you intend to stay in Australia and you hold a permanent visa, you can drive using your UK licence for a maximum of three months. To continue driving, you must get a local licence within this three month period.

You must carry your driving licence and passport when driving. Make sure you have sufficient insurance, including if you borrow a car from a friend or relative. Hire car insurance often does not cover driving on unsealed roads; check your policy before you set off.

In 2013 there were 1,193 road deaths in Australia (source: UK Department for Transport). This equates to 5.2 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2013.

Driving laws and regulations differ in each state/territory. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal. The penalties can be severe. You must wear a seat belt at all times.

If you are hiring a car immediately on arrival be extra careful – you will be jetlagged and tired from your flight. Take regular rest breaks when driving long distances; there are many rest stops provided.

Prepare thoroughly if driving in remote outback areas, which can present unexpected hazards. Ensure you have a roadworthy vehicle fitted with GPS and two spare tyres. Take good maps and extra food, water and fuel. Plan your route carefully and seek local advice before you set out. Leave your route details and expected time of return with the local tourist authorities, police, your hotel/hostel, or friends and relatives and let them know when you have arrived safely.

Check road conditions before beginning your journey; stay with your vehicle if it breaks down; and avoid travelling in extreme heat conditions. Sudden storms and strong winds can make driving difficult. Take particular care when driving on unsealed roads, 4WD tracks and desert/beach roads. Northern Territory Police have in the past warned tourists to stay off unsealed tracks in remote areas of Central Australia following reports of stranded motorists.

Following a number of serious accidents, all vehicles on Fraser Island (Great Sandy National Park in Queensland), must observe a maximum speed of 80km/h on beaches and 30km/h in towns. 4WD vehicles must carry no more than eight occupants (including the driver) and all luggage must be carried inside the vehicle. Avoid driving at night and be aware of beach hazards like ditches created by the surf. Fraser Island is unique but remote, and emergency services can take many hours to reach an accident. Carry a well-stocked first-aid kit and personal medication as there is no pharmacy on the island.

Mobile phones
The mobile phone network generally works well in cities and large towns but coverage elsewhere can be very limited or non-existent. If you are travelling to remote areas, check with your phone provider about coverage. You can use your UK mobile phone in Australia if global roaming has been activated, but making and receiving calls can be expensive. Many visitors prefer to buy an Australian SIM card on arrival. Australian SIM cards are available at some Australian airports, and at convenience stores and supermarkets.

Political situation
Keep up-to-date with local and international developments and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people.

Terrorism
There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate including in places visited by foreigners.

On 26th November 2015, the Australian Government changed its national terrorism threat advisory system. Australia’s current national terrorism threat level is ‘probable’. There have been a number of attacks and disruptions linked to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL)-inspired terrorism. See: www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/threatlevel

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

[Source: FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk (Aug 2016)]

Bribery and Corruption
Bribery is illegal. It is an offence for British nationals or someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, a body incorporated in the UK or a Scottish partnership, to bribe anywhere in the world.

In addition, a commercial organisation carrying on a business in the UK can be liable for the conduct of a person who is neither a UK national or resident in the UK or a body incorporated or formed in the UK. In this case it does not matter whether the acts or omissions which form part of the offence take place in the UK or elsewhere.

Australia is ranked equal-13th on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2015. This means the perceived level of corruption in Australia is slightly higher than that for the UK, which is ranked equal-10th. See: www.transparency.org/cpi2015#results-table for more information.

The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS, formerly Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – BIS) has published a number of documents on their website. See: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy for assistance in this area, and see also the UK Government’s Anti-Bribery policy details at: www.gov.uk/anti-bribery-policy

[Source: FCO Overseas Business Risk/gov.uk (Aug 2016)]

Intellectual Property (IP)
IP protection in Australia is strong and an important consideration for UK businesses looking to do business in Australia. Under common law the principal forms of intellectual property protection available in Australia are trademarks, designs, patents and copyright. All of these forms of protection are governed by legislation. The common law also provides remedies against a person passing off goods or services as those of another, as well as protection for confidential information or trade secrets.

Find out more about Intellectual Property and other ways of protecting your business in Australia on the Austrade website: www.austrade.gov.au/International/Invest/Guide-to-investing/Running-a-business/Understanding-Australian-business-regulation/Australian-Intellectual-Property-laws/Australian-Intellectual-Property-laws

Read also the information provided on the UK Government’s Intellectual Property page: www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview

[Source: FCO Overseas Business Risk/gov.uk (Aug 2016)]

Natural disasters

Bushfires
Be aware of the risk of bushfires, especially at the height of the Australian summer (November to February). Bushfires can start and change direction with little or no notice. If you are travelling in a high risk bushfire area, follow local authorities’ advice. For the latest bushfire information, see:

The New South Wales rural fire service also has a useful ‘Fires Near Me’ app: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/stay-up-to-date

Flooding
Heavy rain and tropical cyclones can cause flooding in some areas. Follow local media and check with local state authorities for the latest flooding information: www.abc.net.au/news/emergency/find-an-emergency

Tropical cyclones
Tropical Cyclones occur in some parts of Australia, mainly Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia. The Cyclone season normally runs from November to April.

Monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO): www.severe.worldweather.org and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website: www.bom.gov.au for updates. See also the UK Government advice about what to do if you are caught in a cyclone: www.gov.uk/guidance/tropical-cyclones.

Dust storms
Dust storms occur regularly in Australia, usually only in outback areas.

[Source: FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk (Aug 2016)]

 

Local laws and customs

The Australian authorities will take action against anyone who imports or is found to be trafficking illegal drugs. Prosecution can lead to a lengthy jail sentence and deportation.
 
Australia has an established tradition of tolerance towards homosexuality, but there are still isolated incidents of homophobic crimes. Take care when visiting rural communities.

Australian federal law prohibits the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages, although some states/territories accept foreign civil partnerships and same-sex marriages as evidence of the existence of a ‘de facto’ relationship. UK civil partnership and same-sex marriage documentation is not as widely accepted in Australia as in the UK.

Before travelling read the UK Government advice page for LGBT travellers: www.gov.uk/guidance/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-foreign-travel-advice. The Visit Gay Australia website: www.visitgayaustralia.com.au is a useful travel planning resource, and you can find more detail on LGBT issues on the Australian Human Rights Commission website: www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sexual-orientation-sex-gender-identity

Quarantine
Australia has strict quarantine rules in order to keep out pests and diseases that could affect plant, animal and human health. All luggage is x-rayed on arrival. Any items of concern are further inspected, treated and if necessary confiscated and destroyed. Breaches of quarantine regulations can result in large fines.

You will be given an incoming passenger card on the plane, on which you must declare any food or goods of plant or animal origin, including nuts, dried fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, biscuits, cakes and confectionery, teas, coffees and milk-based drinks and sporting equipment (including camping gear). A full list can be found on the Australian Department of Agriculture website: www.agriculture.gov.au  

You will also be asked to declare whether you have ‘visited a rural area, or been in contact with, or near, farm animals outside Australia in the past 30 days’.

Taxes
Different tax rules and rates apply to residents and non-residents. Working holidaymakers are usually regarded as non-resident for tax purposes; this means they do not qualify for any tax-free personal allowance on their earnings. Further advice on residency for tax purposes and income tax rates is available from the Australian Taxation Office website: www.ato.gov.au   

[Source: FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk (Aug 2016)]

 

Health

Visit your health professional at least four to six weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country-specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website: www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/country-information and by NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx

Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website: www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/Pages/Healthcareabroad.aspx 

FCO Travel Advice

If you are travelling to Australia for business, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website has travel advice to help you prepare for your visit overseas and to stay safe and secure while you are there.

For advice please visit the FCO Travel section pages on the gov.uk website: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/australia


Medical insurance
Make sure you arrange comprehensive medical insurance before you travel to Australia. If you are not covered under the reciprocal healthcare arrangements which exist between Australia and the UK, costs of treatment can be high.

The standard of healthcare in Australia is very good. Under the reciprocal healthcare arrangements, British citizens resident in the UK and travelling on a British passport are entitled to limited subsidised health services from Medicare for medically necessary treatment while visiting Australia. This does not cover pre-existing conditions, or treatment that does not require prompt attention. These provisions do not apply to non-visitors, for example those who are studying in Australia. Other exclusions under the reciprocal agreement include pharmaceuticals when not a hospital in-patient, use of ambulance services and medical evacuations, which are very expensive.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 000 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

For more information, visit the Australian Department of Human Services Medicare website: www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements. If you visit one of their offices while in Australia, take your passport and your NHS card (if you have it).

[Source: FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk (Aug 2016)]


 

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