The following information is provided by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. We recommend that all overseas participants read this carefully.
Under Australia’s universal visa system, all visitors to Australia must have a valid visa to travel to and enter Australia (the only exceptions to this are New Zealand passport holders and permanent residents of Norfolk Island).
There are many visa options available to people wishing to visit Australia. The appropriate visa option will depend, amongst other things, on the person’s purpose for visiting Australia, and the passport they are holding.
The following “visa finder” web page can be of help to find out which visa is suitable for you: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1
Please also refer to the Business Information Sheet for guidance on the visa options that may be most suitable for you.
Please also refer to the General Information for Visa Applicants.
Please take into account processing times and lodge visa applications as early as possible as it can take 6-8 weeks for the approval process.
The following passport holders are able to access Australia’s Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) issuing system online. An ETA provides authorisation to travel to and enter Australia and is electronically linked to your passport. To apply for an ETA online, you must hold a passport from one of the following countries or regions:
If you aren’t eligible to apply for an ETA online you might be able to apply through a travel agent, airline or at an Australian visa office. As part of the application/approval process, you will be issued with a Reference Number. You will need the Reference Number to check the status of your ETA or your application.
NB: These are the visa options available presently but the Department of Immigration and Border Protection reserves the right to change regulations. Assistance will NOT guarantee a visa grant. Visa applicants must demonstrate that they meet all the legislative requirements for an Australian visa.
A VISA letter is available to download from your online profile. Once you have no outstanding fees associated with your registration, log into your profile with your email and password and scroll down to the bottom of your profile. It should show the VISA letter option. Once you click on the icon, you will be prompted to enter your passport details. Once completed the VISA letter will then be available to download.
*If your VISA application has been rejected, the registration payment will be refunded, pending evidence of the rejection letter.
Australia is divided into three separate time zones: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST).
You may need an adapter in order to plug your appliances into the power sockets: the adapter required for Australia is Type 1 Australia plug. The plugs in Australia have two flat metal pins, forming an inverted ‘V’ shape, and occaisionally a third pin in the centre. The electrical current in Australia is 220-240 volts, AC 50Hz
Post offices are usually open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, with some city post offices open on Saturday morning. Travellers can arrange to collect mail at post offices throughout Australia.
In Australia cars, trams, bikes and other vehicles travel on the left-hand side of the road of a bi-directional traffic. Pedestrians also walk on the left-hand side of a path or a corridor in general. Look to your RIGHT first then left to check incoming traffic when crossing a street or road. Same rules apply when you are making turns when driving. The steering wheel of an Australian car is on the right-hand side.
Australia’s national currency is Australian Dollars (AUD), which comes in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Coins come in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and one and two dollar denominations.
Credit cards such as American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, UnionPay and JCB are accepted in Australia. VISA or MasterCard can be used everywhere credit cards are accepted. American Express and Diners Club are accepted at major supermarket and department store chains and many tourist destinations. A good tip is to carry multiple credit cards and a little cash. Merchants may impose credit card surcharges in some places.
Traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted in Australia. If you do purchase traveller’s cheques, it is best to buy them in Australian dollars as smaller shops, restaurants and other businesses are unlikely to know what the exchange rate is if you present a cheque in a different currency such as US dollars or British pounds.
Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent. You may be able to claim a refund for the GST paid on goods if you have spent AUD $300 or more with a single business, no more than 60 days before departing Australia. Tourist Refund Scheme facilities are located in the departure are of international terminals.
Australia’s seasons are at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere. Autumn sees cooler weather with average temperatures ranging from 10.9 – 20.3°C (51.6 – 68.5°F). Morning fog usually clears to welcome fine, sunny days, however toward the end of the season there can be extended periods of light winds.
Hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill, and tipping is always your choice. In upmarket restaurants, it is common to leave a tip to waiters of 10 per cent of the bill for good service.
Some restaurants and cafes will add a 10 per cent surcharge to prices on weekends and bank holidays. This is supposed to cover a slightly higher minimum wage for working these days. Some will also charge an extra 1.5 to 3% for card payments. These extra charges will be clearly stated on the menu or at the cash register.
The international dialing code for Australia is 61. Each region also has an area code, including Central East (New South Wales, Australia Capital Territory) with area code 02; South East (Victoria, Tasmania) with area code 03; Mobile telephones (Australia-wide) with area code 04; North East (Queensland) with area code 07; and Central and West (Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory) with area code 08. When calling from outside Australia, leave out the leading ‘0’ from the area code or mobile phone number.