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Australia

If you’re travelling to Australia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 16 March 2020

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Emergency responses to the Covid-19 crisis in many countries have included restrictions of flights to/from Europe; imposition of new mandatory quarantine arrangements and new restrictions affecting the admission of Irish people travelling to and within the Asia Pacific region.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly advises against any non–essential travel to Australia until further notice.

For more information, please see the latest update on our webpage.

In response to coronavirus Australia has introduced new entry restrictions, until further notice, all travellers will be stopped from entering Australia with the exception of Australian citizens and permanent residents. For further information please see the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website

In addition, all arrivals from overseas must complete 14 days of mandatory quarantine at government arranged accommodation.

From 1 July 2020, arrivals to Queensland will be required to pay a quarantine fee.

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/quarantine/overseas-travel-quarantine

From 3 July 2020, there will be no international arrivals in Melbourne for at least 14 days.

From 3 July 2020, for at least 14 days, international arrivals at Sydney airport have been capped at 450 passengers per day with a maximum of 50 passengers per flight.

On July 10 2020 it was announced that commencing July 13 2020, Australian airports that can accept international arrivals will cut their number in half, to 4,000.  This may have a flow on effect for outward passage.

The Australian government on 24 March 2020 announced that Australians are not allowed to leave the country. This announcement also applies to dual Irish - Australian nationals and Permanent Residents wishing to depart Australia who will now need to apply for an exemption.
The exemption may be applied for via this exemption request link.
https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/covid19-enquiry-form

If you are in Victoria and wish to enter NSW for the purpose of boarding an international flight out of Sydney you must apply for an Entry Permit to allow entry to NSW.

The permit may be applied for via this link:

https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-covid-19-nsw-border-entry-permit

It is important to note there are strict conditions for the issuance of the permit, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with these.

If you are in Australia, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. See links to relevant websites below.

https://health.act.gov.au/public-health-alert/updated-information-about-covid-19

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

https://health.nt.gov.au/news/coronavirus

https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Coronavirus

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19

https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/conditions/infectious+diseases/covid+2019/coronavirus+disease+2019+covid-19

https://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/news/2020/coronavirus_update

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

All Irish citizens living in Australia are advised to follow the advice of the local authorities and to keep informed of the latest developments.

Irish citizens living in Australia are encouraged to register their contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade https://www.dfa.ie/travel/citizens-registration/

In addition we encourage citizens to download the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Travel Wise App which helps Irish citizens to stay safe and informed while travelling: https://www.dfa.ie/travelwise/

 

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Reciprocal Health Agreement

A Reciprocal Health Agreement is in place between the governments of Ireland and Australia. This agreement provides for free emergency care in an Australian public hospital for Irish citizens. It’s important to note that the agreement only covers people who are legally in Australia on certain visa classes (student visas are not included).
This agreement is limited to emergency situations and is not a replacement for medical insurance. It does not cover ambulance costs which, given the size of Australia and the frequent use of air ambulances, can be significant. It does not cover prescription costs other than for patients while in hospital. Equally it does not cover outpatient costs for follow-up (dressings, physiotherapy, etc.) or cover medical repatriation to Ireland.

Terrorism:

Australia’s current national terrorism threat level is ‘probable’ (see the Australian national terrorism threat advisory system). Attacks could be indiscriminate.

Our tips for safe travels:

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Terrorism

The Australian government terrorism public alert level is at ‘probable’ as of April 2016. There is an underlying threat of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Australia but you should take sensible precautions.
  • Do not carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • You do not legally have to carry your passport with your at all time in Australia so leave it in a safe place unless absolutely necessary to avoid loss, theft or damage. Leave a copy of the biography page (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Always get local advice about safe places to socialise. If you are staying in cheap accommodation, be aware that the good value may be due to an undesirable location. Be careful in certain ‘party’ areas in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and take sensible precautions.
  • If you are arrested or detained, you are entitled to request that the local police notify the Embassy or Consulate General of your detention.  

Lost or stolen passport

If your passport is lost or stolen while in Australia, the Embassy in Canberra, Consulate General in Sydney or the Honorary Consulate in Perth can, in emergency situations, issue an emergency travel document or temporary passport. You will need to submit a completed application, duly witnessed and with all supporting documents and the appropriate fee. Proof of identity and citizenship will be required, including an original or certified long-form birth certificate in all cases.

Reporting crime

If you're a victim of a crime while in Australia, you should report it to the local police immediately. If you need consular assistance, contact us at the Embassy or Consulate. Victim Support Australia also has numbers of local helplines listed by state.

Reporting sexual assault

In the event of sexual assault, the Australian Police have specialised sexual assault teams, and many hospitals have dedicated sexual assault units. There’s also a national 24-hour telephone counselling service for cases of sexual assault and domestic violence – 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

Personal responsibility

As well as protecting yourself against crime while in Australia, you have a responsibility to ensure that your own behaviour is orderly and respectful and does not bring you to the attention of the police.
 
Despite Australia’s reputation as a laidback and relaxed country, the police and the courts take a very strict approach to law and order. The laws on ‘street offences’ such as public nuisance, drunk and disorderly behaviour, and on common assault are thoroughly enforced. You should follow the instructions of Australian police officers immediately and without argument.
 
A significant number of Irish nationals (particularly in the 20 to 30 age bracket) come before the Australian courts each year. They should expect no flexibility or leniency to a foreign national not familiar with Australian law.

Driving

Road traffic accidents are the most common cause of death and serious injury to Irish visitors in Australia so if you’re planning to drive, remember the basics:
  • Traffic drives on the left.
  • Bring your full Irish driving license and carry it with you – this is compulsory for all drivers in Australia
  • Make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance on your vehicle, especially if it’s borrowed. Some ‘open’ Australian insurance policies carry age restrictions and may cover only certain drivers
  • Be aware of Australia’s traffic laws, such as speed limits, which are generally lower than in Ireland; and street parking, which is strictly regulated. These laws are strictly enforced and hefty on-the-spot fines are applied
  • 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.
  • Random breath testing of a driver’s blood alcohol and drug level is a common occurrence.
 
The Tourism Australia website has extensive information on travelling around the continent.  https://www.australia.com/en-us The Australian Government’s National Visitor Safety Handbook also contains comprehensive travel safety advice on Australia.  

Safe driving

Driver fatigue is a major cause of death on Australian roads. Always carry water and take rest breaks every two hours while driving long distances.

It’s also important to check the roadworthiness of your vehicle before travelling long distances in remote areas. Petrol stations could be few and far between and you may need to carry an additional petrol supply.

Watch out for signs warning of local wildlife, which may be present on the roads and can cause serious injury in a collision. Be particularly careful when driving at dawn and dusk when animals such as kangaroos are on the move.

In rural areas, roads may be unsealed and impassable after heavy rain. It’s a mistake to rely solely on GPS to plan itineraries.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged). If you’re planning to drive on unsealed roads it’s essential that your hire car insurance policy has adequate cover.

Safe swimming

The Australian surf can be dangerous, with strong rip currents challenging even the most experienced swimmer. You should only swim on beaches that are patrolled by lifeguards, and always swim between the flags. The position of the flags highlights the safest part of the beach to swim. These are generally moved daily to take account of rip currents or other hazards.

However tempting a remote and unsupervised beach may appear, there may be a very good reason for the absence of other bathers. As well as rip currents, some areas may present risk of stings or bites from local marine life, up to and including shark attacks. Always check the signs and pay attention to local information.

Never swim after drinking alcohol or taking drugs, and avoid swimming alone.

Safety in the Outback

Australia is a vast country with great distances between many major cities and centres of population. Some parts of the Outback are extremely remote and can present unexpected hazards. If you intend to travel to these areas, plan your trip with care and listen to local advice.
 
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. 
 
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. 
 
In very remote areas, you should notify relevant local tourist authorities or police of your departures and return times. Many national parks have beacon locators that the authorities ask hikers to take with them so that they can be more easily found in case of emergency.
 
Mobile phone coverage, though generally good in towns and cities, is often not available in remote areas. It’s a mistake to rely upon mobile phones or on real time internet maps if travelling in the Outback or even in some relatively well-populated rural areas.
 
Marine stingers are present in the tropical oceans around northern Australia from November to May. During this time you can only swim within stinger-resistant enclosures, which are set up on the most popular beaches. You will also need to wear protective clothing when swimming, snorkeling or diving on the outer Great Barrier Reef. Always observe warning signs. When bushwalking or hiking, you can avoid snake and spider bites by wearing protective footwear. If bitten, seek immediate medical attention by phoning 000.
 
The only harmful spiders in Australia are the red back and funnel web, however there have been few deaths from spider bites since anti-venoms were made available in 1981

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Law enforcement

The police in Australia are strict in their implementation of the law and you should not expect any flexibility in respect of speed limits, parking restrictions or public order regulations.

What might pass in Ireland for friendly banter may be interpreted in Australia as a refusal to follow the orders of a police officer.

Disrespectful language or physical contact, especially from people under the influence of alcohol, is not tolerated.

Visa Overstayers

The Australian Border Force has stepped up its operations with regard to the deportation of foreign nationals who overstay their Australian visa. The Embassy and Consulate General has seen an increase in detention of visa overstayers in recent months.
 
If you believe you have overstayed your visa, it is best to engage with the Australian Border Force as soon as possible to try and work out a solution and hopefully avoid being detained. The Australian Border Force operate a confidential service, the Community Status Resolution Service, which allows people to call to discuss their situation. The number to call is 1300 853 773. Further details on the Department of Home Affairs website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/
 
Each situation is dealt with strictly on a case-by-case basis. However, Australian Border Force advise that if you cooperate with them to resolve your immigration status, you may be granted a Bridging visa E. This lets you stay in Australia for a short time while you finalise your affairs. The Australian Border Force regularly conducts compliance activity to locate people living in the community unlawfully. If you are found in the community without a visa, you could be detained and removed from Australia. You could face a three-year re-entry ban from visiting Australia again.
 
If you have over stayed your visa and are picked up by the police or Border Force you will likely be detained at an Immigration Detention Centre while your deportation is arranged. In general the Australian Border Force are required to deport a foreign national within 28 days of their signing the consent to deportation. However, delays can arise. If you overstay your visa and are detained by the Australian Border Force, you should bear the following in mind:
  • Think carefully about challenging the deportation. The 28 days doesn't start until consent to deportation is given.
  • If you agree to the deportation you should sign the paperwork immediately to begin the 28 days.
  • Delays can arise, particularly for the following reasons: health issues that prevent air travel, lack of travel documents, delay getting airlines to accept the deportee, outstanding criminal matters
  • If you have been involved in a crime, you should be fully open with the Australian Border Force regarding outstanding criminal matters. The Border Force will most likely uncover any unresolved criminal matters. If an unresolved criminal matter is discovered the 28 day period may no longer apply and deportation could take significantly longer.
  • Similarly if you have any outstanding debts or fines you may have to pay these before deportation can be finalised.
  • If you are being deported following a prison sentence, you should note that it is likely you will spend some time in immigration detention on your release from prison. It is not general practice for former prisoners to be deported straight from jail.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Climate

  • The Australian climate can be extreme. Drought in one part can be paralleled by severe flooding in another. The north of the country gets a wet and a dry season, and much of the centre of the country is desert or semi-arid. While the climate is generally temperate in the south-east and south-west corners, even here the summer heat can be intense.
  • The weather between different cities may vary widely at certain times of the year. If you are planning on travelling around Australia, it is important to stay aware of the weather in each place you intend to stay. Up to date weather forecasts for all areas are available at the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology 
  • There is a wider risk of tropical cyclones which occur mainly in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia between November and April.  You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of local authorities, including the state emergency services and Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

Sun safety

The sunburn index is very high in Australia during both summer and winter months and the country has a high rate of skin cancer. High factor sun protection should be reapplied frequently and we highly recommend wearing a hat.

Bush fires

Due to the dry conditions in many parts of Australia, it is important to be alert to the possibility of bush fires. If there is a fire in your area keep tuned to local radio for updates or download the ‘Fires Near Me Australia’ app. Know what to look out for and observe total fire ban warnings where they are in place. Find out what bushfire safety plans are in place in the area where you are camping, caravanning or renting accommodation. If a bushfire breaks out, do not wait and see. It is extremely dangerous to leave after there are signs of fire in your area. Bush fires have devastating effects and there are heavy penalties applied for breach of the rules.

During times of minimal rainfall, usually from October to April, intense bushfires can occur. Follow the advice of local authorities, and avoid affected or susceptible areas.

Consult the website of the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology for information on weather conditions.

Flooding

Depending on the season, flash flooding can occur in many areas. Floods in recent years have led to loss of life and cut off whole towns and communities so pay attention to local warnings. It’s dangerous to try to cross swollen creeks or other flood waters; their power and depth may be deceptive.

Some unsealed roads (common in rural areas) may not be passable after heavy rain even if you’re travelling in a 4 x 4 vehicle. It’s important not to rely solely on GPS when planning a route. Local advice is usually available and should be sought out and heeded.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

You will need a visa in advance to enter Australia. You have to be pre-cleared and issued with an Electronic Travel Authorisation. Travel agents, the nearest Australian Embassy or the Australian Immigration website can provide further details.

Always respect the terms of your visa. It’s an offence to overstay a visa and to do so will likely incur a sanction, which can include up to a three-year ban on entering the country.

Immigration law is very strictly enforced – don’t be under any illusion on this point.

For up to date information on visas, please check on the Department of Home Affairs website. https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing
 
Travelling to Australia on a working holiday visa
If you are travelling to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417) please read our guidelines here.  You should be aware of your rights as employees in Australia and how to report any concerns about unfair or unlawful treatment.  https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/work-holiday-417

Health

Always get comprehensive travel insurance. See the overview section of this travel advice for more information on the Reciprocal Health Agreement for emergency care only.

Mosquito-borne diseases

Visitors to northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and the north of Western Australia may be exposed to mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Ross River fever. Take suitable precautions and use insect repellents and sleeping nets.

There have been reports of cases of Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE), a potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease, in the Northern Territory and north Western Australia, with occasional cases in Queensland, central Australia and the central regions of Western Australia.

Moving to Australia for an extended period

If you’re thinking about moving to Australia for an extended period as a family unit, the most important thing is to fully research the visa class you intend to travel on. Get a clear and accurate picture of what entitlements will or will not apply for you and your family.

Take the time to research the state and city where you plan to relocate. Find out about issues such as childcare and school fees before you arrive.

Further information is also available from the Irish community support associations. 

Cost of living

The cost of living in Australia is high. Good accommodation in the major cities can be difficult to find and is very expensive by Irish standards. This applies in particular to Sydney and Melbourne, where there is a significant shortage of suitable accommodation, with rental prices reflecting the high demand.

Schools/child care

There may be long waiting lists for schools and child care in certain areas and you may have to apply for places before you leave Ireland. Take note that the Australian school year begins in end January/February not in September as is the case at home.

In some states, notably New South Wales and Western Australia, temporary residents may have to pay significant fees for public primary schools and they may not be entitled to benefit from Australian tax rebates for child care expenses.

Medical treatment

Emergency hospital treatment for Irish people legally resident in Australia is covered by the Reciprocal Health Agreement between the two countries. This doesn’t cover the cost of ambulances and follow-up care. Temporary residents are not generally entitled to Medicare (Australian public health rebate system) and as such may have to pay in full for childhood vaccinations and other medical bills. Temporary residents are not generally entitled to social welfare (Centrelink) payments. The system is structured differently in Australia so you may not be entitled to any child benefit payments and even if you were entitled to a medical card at home you will be required to pay for medical appointments and related services in Australia.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you require emergency assistance from the Embassy, please contact us on +61 2 62140000 and follow the prompts.

If you call outside normal working hours at the weekend, you will be given instructions to call another number to speak to a Duty Officer.

Embassy of Ireland
20 Arkana Street
Yarralumla
ACT 2600
Australia

Tel: +61 2 6214 0000

Monday to Friday 9:30am – 12:30pm and 2pm – 4pm

Contact us

Consulate Contact

Consulate General of Ireland
Level 26
1 Market Street
Sydney
NSW 2000
Australia

Tel: +612 9264 9635

Monday to Friday 10.00 - 13.00

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr Martin Kavanagh
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Kavanagh Lawyers WA
Level 3
165/580 Hay Street
Perth Western Australia 6004

Tel: +61 8 6557 5802

Email: Email us