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Travel smart advice for all travellers.

Travel smart: tips for Australian travellers

Our top travel tips

Covid-19 and travel, research your destination, get the right travel insurance, organise your passports and visas, think about your packing, organise your travel money, copy your documents, plan to stay healthy.

  • Make smart decisions while you're away

Be conscious of your safety and security

  • Research the local transport and tours

Respect local customs

Family and relationship matters, keep in touch, biosecurity requirements, where to start.

  • Consular emergency centre
  • Quick reference guide

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  • Read and subscribe to the latest travel advice at smartraveller.gov.au and follow Smartraveller on social media. Local restrictions do change – sometimes at short notice. Make sure you’re informed and be prepared for travel in a changing environment.
  • Get comprehensive travel insurance. Ensure it covers you for the places you’ll visit, the things you’ll do and any pre-existing medical conditions you have.

Check the expiry date of your passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after the date you plan to leave that country.

  • Ask about recommended vaccinations and other health precautions. Vaccinations can be an entry requirement for some countries. Check your medication – certain medicines are illegal in some countries.
  • Make sure you have the right visas for the countries you’re visiting or transiting, and check other entry or exit requirements.
  • Check if you’re regarded as a national of the country you plan to visit, and whether dual nationality will have any implications for your travel plans.
  • Make copies of your passport, visas and insurance policy. Carry them in a separate place to the originals and leave a copy with someone at home.
  • Risks are often greater overseas. Be careful and don’t take any risks you wouldn’t consider at home.
  • Obey the laws of the country you’re visiting, even if they appear harsh or unfair by Australian standards. Don’t expect to be treated differently from locals just because you’re Australian.
  • Keep in contact with friends and family back home. Give them a copy of your itinerary before you go so they know where you are. Let them know if you won’t be contactable for an extended period.

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COVID-19 has changed international travel.

It’s important not to underestimate how difficult travel is during a pandemic. It’s highly unpredictable, and far more complex.

Due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel, Smartraveller advice to Australians about the risks of travelling at this time is more important than ever.

Many countries continue to change restrictions for travellers due to COVID-19, sometimes at short notice. It’s your responsibility to research and know the local laws and restrictions in your destination.

You could face fines or penalties if you break these laws. Follow the advice of local authorities and subscribe to Smartraveller to receive the latest updates for your location.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Australian Government has implemented stricter border measures to protect the Australian community from COVID-19. You may need to abide by additional departure and re-entry measures when you travel. Up-to-date information on current measures at your time of travel is available at the Department of Home Affairs website at homeaffairs.gov.au.

Travel zones

There are travel zones where COVID-19 border restrictions have eased, either in Australia, internationally or both. Travel zones may involve:

  • excluding certain destinations from Australia’s outward travel ban
  • allowing quarantine-free travel to and from certain destinations
  • reducing or removing COVID-19 testing requirements.
  • If you’re considering travel, think carefully about whether you’re willing to accept certain risks before you go, including:
  • contracting COVID-19 while overseas
  • the reduced frequency and increased cost of international flights
  • limited consular assistance – don’t assume the Australian Government can get you home
  • international border and movement restrictions, often changing at short notice.

Our network of embassies, high commissions and consulates around the world continue to provide you with up-to-date local advice and support throughout this difficult period. Be aware that consular services may be limited due to local measures in place to control COVID-19.

If you’re able to travel and plan to do so, we strongly recommend you know the risks. Get travel insurance, read this booklet and subscribe to smartraveller.gov.au to stay up to date with the latest travel advice.

Returning to Australia

If you’re overseas and wish to return to Australia, be prepared for delays and disruptions due to global COVID-19 travel restrictions. Read and subscribe to the travel advice for the country you’re in and any you may be transiting, as local restrictions can change at short notice. When you return to Australia, you’ll need to abide by any additional re-entry measures in place, such as quarantine and COVID-19 testing. See the website of the Department of Health for the latest entry requirements .

For up-to-date COVID-19 advice, see:

  • Smartraveller
  • Department of Home Affairs
  • Department of Health

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Before you go

The better prepared you are, the safer and more successful your travel will be.

Access our full range of travel information to help you prepare for overseas travel.

We have useful advice on:

  • health issues
  • safety and security
  • local laws, customs and contacts
  • getting around safely
  • entry and exit requirements.

We can help you consider the level of risk you may face, so you can make informed decisions about where and when to travel overseas.

Smartraveller uses 4 levels of travel advice for all destinations:

  • Level 1 : Exercise normal safety precautions.
  • Level 2 : Exercise a high degree of caution.
  • Level 3 : Reconsider your need to travel.
  • Level 4 : Do not travel.

Our travel advice is updated regularly. You can subscribe  to get the latest updates to our travel advice and news – it’s a free service.

We strongly encourage you to subscribe as soon as you’re thinking about heading overseas so you’re well informed for your trip. You can choose to:

  • receive travel advice and news updates by email as we publish them
  • receive SMS critical alerts for your destinations
  • receive a daily email with all updates from the previous 24 hours
  • unsubscribe at any time.

Follow Smartraveller on Facebook  or Twitter for updates. Extend your research by reading guidebooks or visiting travel websites. Talk with family or friends who are familiar with the countries you plan to visit.

Travel doesn’t always go as planned. If you’re going overseas, travel insurance is as important as a passport. Without it, you or your family could suffer financially if things go wrong. No matter who you are, where you’re going or what you’re doing, get insurance. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.

Travel insurance policies are changing. Make sure your travel insurance covers the areas you intend to visit and suits your travel plans. Remember to ask if it covers:

  • medical expenses for injury or illness
  • medical evacuations back to Australia
  • any pre-existing medical conditions
  • the theft of valuables
  • damage to luggage and personal belongings
  • sports and adventure activities, such as skiing or hiring a motorcycle
  • cancellations or interruptions to flight plans.

Accidents can happen to anyone, including on short trips to familiar locations. Medical costs overseas can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you’re travelling with family members, you may be able to arrange travel insurance for your whole family under the one policy. Cover varies from policy to policy though, so be sure to check the fine print.

If you plan to rely on the travel insurance provided by your credit card, confirm you’re covered for your personal circumstances, including all of your destinations, activities and pre-existing medical conditions.

Be aware that some policies don’t offer refunds and your insurer may cancel your coverage if the safety and security of your overseas environment changes. The terms and conditions of your policy will determine whether you’re entitled to a refund if the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) changes the level of the travel advice for that location. This will vary from policy to policy, so be sure to shop around.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, insurance providers and policies continue to evolve. Some cover COVID-19 and some don’t. Do your research, find a policy that’s right for you and know what you’re covered for. The Australian Government is limited in how and when it can help Australians overseas. It’s important you understand our limits. There are many examples of Australians facing financial difficulties trying to cover costs when things go wrong.

  • take personal responsibility for your situation when you travel, including your finances
  • take out appropriate insurance for your trip.
  • pay for your medical treatment overseas
  • pay for a medical evacuation to Australia or a third country
  • pay your bills.

Consular services must not be your 'back-up plan' if things go wrong and you need money. Instead, you’ll generally need to depend on your travel insurer for financial help and practical support in times of trouble.

For more information, see the travel insurance  page.

Make sure your passport has enough validity

What if you lose your passport or someone steals it.

By law, you must report the loss or theft of your passport without delay.

Overseas: Contact an Australian embassy, high commission or Consulate.

In Australia: Call the Australian Passport Office on 131 232.

If your passport is stolen, report the incident to the police and get a copy of the police report. You’ll be asked to present the report when you replace the passport.

What if your passport is damaged?

Call the Australian Passport Office on 131 232 or visit an Australian Passport Office, Australian embassy, high commission or consulate to check if your passport is usable for international travel.

More information is available on the Australian Passports Office  website or:

  • Australia : Call the Australian Passport Office on 131 232.
  • Overseas : Contact your nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate .

Get the right visas for the countries you’re visiting or transiting. Visa conditions change regularly so before every trip check the relevant foreign embassy or consulate of the destinations you plan to visit. Contact details for foreign embassies are available at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade .

  • Each country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
  • In most cases, tourist visas don’t allow you to work in a foreign country, including voluntary or unpaid work.
  • Visa and entry permit conditions and expiry dates must be strictly followed. In some countries, visa overstay can lead to arrest.
  • Visa scams are common. Check Smartraveller travel advice for the correct visa links or contact the embassy or consulate of the countries you plan to visit.
  • DFAT in Australia and Australian missions overseas can’t help you arrange visas for other countries.

Check if you’re a dual national

If you or your parents were born in another country, you may be considered a citizen or national of that country, even if you’re also an Australian citizen. Before you leave, check the implications of local laws for dual nationals – for example, you may need to do military service in the country of your other nationality.

If you have dual citizenship, you should use your Australian passport when leaving and returning to Australia.

Some countries may not recognise your Australian citizenship if they consider you a national of their country, even when you’re travelling on an Australian passport. They may not permit Australian consular assistance to be provided to Australian citizens who, according to its laws, are considered to be its own nationals.

If you hold another country’s passport, seek advice about using it from the country’s embassy or consulate before you leave. For further information, see the Advice for dual nationals .

Australian citizens

If you’re an Australian citizen, you need to present a current Australian passport on your arrival to Australia. Australian citizens who travel without an Australian passport might have their entry delayed until their identity and claim to Australian citizenship is verified.

If you hold a visa and then become an Australian citizen, that visa ends and you can’t travel on it. When you enter Australia, you’ll enter as an Australian citizen.

Check the Civil Aviation Safety Authority website to ensure the items you’re packing are not dangerous goods.

You can also download the ‘Can I pack that?’ dangerous goods app to help you determine what you can and can’t pack, and learn how to pack items safely.

Information about what you can and can’t carry in your luggage is available from the TravelSECURE  website.

  • Check if your medication is considered illegal or a controlled substance overseas.
  • Obey the law – don’t purchase, use or travel with illegal drugs.
  • Pack and secure your luggage yourself so you know what you’re carrying.
  • Never carry anything into or out of another country for someone else.
  • Don’t leave your bags unattended in public areas or with a stranger.
  • Don’t use bags that don’t belong to you. Illegal drugs have been found in suitcases won as ‘prizes’ in online competitions. You may not be able to see the drugs at first glance, but security detection systems are likely to.

There’s no limit to the amount of physical currency you can bring into or take out of Australia. However, you must declare amounts of $10,000 or more in Australian currency or foreign equivalent.

If requested by an Australian Border Force or police officer, you must also disclose any promissory notes, traveller’s cheques, personal cheques, money orders, postal orders or other bearer-negotiable instruments, regardless of value.

More information is available from  AusTRAC  .

Before you go:

  • Find out the currency most commonly used at your destination and whether ATMs are widely available.
  • Organise options for accessing your money overseas, such as debit and credit cards, travel money cards, traveller’s cheques and cash.
  • Tell your bank you’re travelling and check if your cards will work.
  • Research how much local and foreign currency you can take into your destination .

Centrelink payments

There are rules about how your Centrelink payments or concession cards may be affected if you leave Australia. More information is available at servicesaustralia.gov.au.

Take copies of your important documents. Leave one set of copies with someone at home and keep another set with you, separate from the originals.

Documents can include your:

  • travel insurance policy
  • itinerary and tickets
  • vaccination records
  • credit card numbers and traveller’s cheques
  • driver’s licence or international driving permit.

You’re responsible for managing your physical and mental health and accessing medication and medical equipment while overseas. Read up on the health issues affecting the countries you’re travelling to in our travel advice for your destination before you go.

Mental health and wellbeing

Taking care of your mental health is important. Advice on mental health and details of a range of wellbeing resources available to Australians overseas can be found at smartraveller.gov.au.

Vaccinations

  • Make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic at least 8 weeks before you depart and find out what vaccinations or health checks you need for your destination. Remember that some vaccines need time to take effect or more than one dose.
  • For information on COVID-19 vaccines , see website for the Department of Health.
  • Read about key health risks for your destination in our travel advice. You may need to meet certain health requirements to enter and exit your destination. For more information, contact your destination’s embassy or consulate in Australia before you depart.

Travelling with medications

Before you leave, check that the medication you plan to take is legal in the countries you’re visiting. Some medications may be legal but require a permit.

It’s an offence to carry or send Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicine overseas unless it’s for your own personal use or for someone travelling with you. You could be fined $5,000 and spend 2 years in prison if you break this law. More information is available from  Services Australia  or by calling 1800 500 147.

Taking medicines overseas

Keep a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor detailing your medication and leave your medicines in their original pharmacy packaging.

Read the travel advice for your destination and learn about the local laws or cultural considerations around medication.

Pack enough medication to stay in good health on your trip.

Make emergency plans in case things go wrong.

Reciprocal health care agreements

Australia has reciprocal health care agreements with 11 countries. These countries provide some emergency care to Australians.

Most agreements specify the care must be urgent and medically necessary. They usually need a co-payment from the patient.

A reciprocal health care agreement is not a substitute for insurance. You still need travel insurance.

For more information and a full list of countries, see our page on reciprocal healthcare , visit Services Australia or call 1800 500 147 from within Australia or +61 2 8633 3284 from overseas.

Flying safely

If you’re concerned your airline may question your fitness to fly, check their health requirements first and, if required, get a letter from your doctor confirming that you’re fit for air travel.

If you have a disability , contact your airline to find out about services such as shuttles, seating arrangements and special meals. Check the equipment they’ll allow on board.

If you need to carry needles and syringes, take a letter from your doctor explaining why you need them and seek early advice from your airline on how to comply with airport and air travel security regulations.

Due to COVID-19, most airlines require you to wear a mask while on board their planes. Some also have pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements. Check with your airline before you fly to make sure you meet any necessary requirements.

To find out more about healthy travel and vaccinations, see:

  • World Health Organization
  • National Immunisation Program
  • Smartraveller ‘Health’ pages

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While you’re away

When Australians travel, we’re far from our regular support networks. Learn what you can do in times of trouble, and how and when consular services can assist you while you’re away.

Make smart decisions while you’re away

You’ll enjoy your time overseas more if you don’t get sick or injured. You can make choices that reduce your risks.

  • Attending a public gathering? Make sure you’re aware of any local restrictions in place and know the health risks. You may need to wear a mask. Make sure you practise social distancing and wash or sanitise your hands.
  • Eating with your hands? Wash them first. Make sure they’re dry to reduce the risk of diseases –  traveller’s diarrhoea is the least of your worries.
  • Riding a motorbike or scooter? Check if you need a licence. Wear a helmet and proper protective clothing. Think about road safety, just like you would in Australia.
  • Exploring street food and local cuisine? Choose vendors and restaurants that look clean and are popular with locals.
  • Partying or getting romantic with someone? Use a condom. Not just for birth control, but to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Going on a road trip? Learn about the road rules and follow them. Stay within the law. Think about road safety and you’ll be less likely to have an accident and need medical assistance overseas.
  • Getting a tattoo? Choose a shop with high safety and hygiene standards. Always ensure they use fresh needles. If you make a bad choice, you can catch an infectious disease, including HIV/AIDS.
  • Going overseas for a medical procedure? Choose your hospital and surgeon wisely. Standards vary – a bad choice could lead to serious and expensive complications.

Read Smartraveller travel advice for country-specific risks to your safety and security. For the latest updates, subscribe to and follow Smartraveller on Facebook or Twitter. Always be aware of ‘Do not travel’ areas listed in the advice and stay up to date while travelling.

Some countries have a high crime rate and are prone to crimes including armed robbery, sexual assault, mugging, carjacking and kidnapping. Most crimes are opportunistic, such as pickpocketing or bag snatching.

Be careful about your personal security and belongings in public places and take precautions. Keep money and valuables out of sight and avoid displays of wealth.

ATM and credit card fraud, including skimming, can occur. Keep your credit card in sight to ensure your details are not copied. Avoid using ATMs that open onto the street and instead use ATMs in controlled areas such as banks or shops.

Where possible, use official taxis or reputable ride-sharing companies that can be booked by phone or app or from major hotels and inside airports. Don’t share taxis with strangers. Be wary if you’re approached at the airport by private drivers. In some countries, extortion and robbery can occur in unauthorised taxis.

Food and drink spiking is common around the world. Never leave your food or drink unattended or in the care of a stranger.

Demonstrations and civil unrest

Avoid all protests, demonstrations and rallies. Even peaceful events can turn violent without warning.

Read the Smartraveller travel advice for your destination. See advice under the ‘Safety’ heading for your destination at smartraveller.gov.au.

Find out if some areas or regions are more prone to unrest. If possible, avoid those areas.

Keep an eye on current events in your destination. Monitor local and international media for information about possible safety or security risks.

Check if there’s an upcoming election in your destination. During election periods, unrest and violent protests can happen.

Find out if there’s increased tension around controversial social or political topics. This can lead to unrest.

Know the history of your destination. Unrest often occurs around anniversaries of major events, especially politically or socially divisive dates of remembrance.

International terrorism remains a threat to Australians living and travelling overseas. Terrorists continue to carry out attacks across the world. They target locals and foreign tourists. The threat in some destinations is very high. The Australian Government’s ability to provide consular assistance is limited in these places.

Research local transport and tours

When organising your itinerary, check out the ‘Local travel’ section in the travel advice for your destination and read the ‘Getting around’ page at smartraveller.gov.au.

Some transport and tour operators don’t have adequate safety equipment or follow recommended maintenance standards. Research the company you plan to use and make sure your travel insurance covers the activities you’ll undertake.

Learn about road conditions and the traffic culture of the places you plan to visit.

Understand that driving and riding overseas can be very different from back home, even in countries considered quite similar to Australia. If you do the wrong thing, you could end up in trouble. You could cause an accident, injuring yourself or others. Another driver may assault you (road rage), or authorities may arrest and jail you.

It’s your responsibility to find out the local driving systems and comply.

  • Learn the laws: whether to keep left or right, who to give way to and other road rules.
  • Follow the etiquette: find out about considerate merging, lane splitting and flashing.
  • Honking: it’s polite and expected in some places – especially to let pedestrians know you’re there. In others, it’s illegal in most non-urgent scenarios.
  • Check what licence you need: International Driving Permit, Australian driver’s licence or motorbike licence. If you’re staying long term, you may need a local licence.

Aviation safety and maintenance standards vary throughout the world. Some countries have lower aviation safety and security standards than Australia. This can be a particular risk for domestic flights overseas. Before you book, research the safety standards for any airlines and aircraft you plan to take.

More information is available in our ‘ Getting around ’ page.

Obey the law

It’s your responsibility to research the local laws in your destination – and obey them.

Like in Australia, ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. In some countries you could break the law without intending to. Local police are unlikely to accept ‘I didn’t know’ as an excuse.

If you break the law, you could be arrested or jailed. If imprisoned, you’d have to work with the local legal and prison systems, as we’re limited in the assistance we can provide.

In some cases, you may be bound by Australian laws as well. Check the ‘Local laws’ section in each country travel advice before you go.

Consular services and the law

Be aware that the local laws and penalties of each country you visit also apply to you. The Australian Government can’t get you out of trouble or jail. The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government may do to assist Australians overseas. It also sets out what we can’t do. 

Never buy, use or travel with illegal drugs when overseas. You’re subject to all local laws and penalties in your destination, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. These can include the death penalty. Even small amounts of recreational drugs or some prescription medications can get you arrested or jailed.

Extraterritorial laws

The provision of consular assistance to Australians doesn’t protect you from the consequences of actions that are prohibited under Australian law. Consular officials have to report serious criminal misconduct of this kind to the Australian Federal Police.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, human trafficking, modern slavery and forced marriage, apply to Australians when they’re overseas.

Australians also risk prosecution under Australian law if they engage in hostile activity overseas, or if they travel with the intention of engaging in hostile activity overseas. For more information, see the Australian National Security website. .

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian laws that criminalise engaging in child sexual abuse and child abuse material while outside Australia. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment. For more information, see our ‘ Child sex offences ’ page.

Violations of Australia’s child sex laws should be reported to the Australian Federal Police by calling 131AFP (131 237) from within Australia or +61 2 5127 0005 from overseas. Alternatively, the matter can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

You can also complete a Transnational Child Sexual Exploitation report online at afp.gov.au or by writing to the:

Evaluation and Referral Centre Australian Federal Police GPO Box 401 Canberra ACT 2602 Australia

It’s important to respect local cultures and customs when travelling.

  • Research the local customs of the country you’re travelling to and, if in doubt, seek local advice.
  • Dress appropriately. Consider your clothing in the context of the culture you’re visiting. Many countries are more conservative than Australia. They may have different standards for women and men.
  • Show respect when visiting cultural, historical and sacred sites. In some countries, inappropriate or indecent behaviour can lead to arrest.
  • Always ask permission before taking photos of people and respect their wishes if they decline. In some countries, it’s illegal to take photos of certain places, such as government buildings, airports and ports or police or military property.
  • In some countries it’s not acceptable for couples to be very affectionate in public. Laws and attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI+) travellers around the world can be very different from those in Australia, and this can create risks for LGBTI+ travellers. Check the ‘ Advice for LGBTI+ travellers ’ page. and each country travel advisory for more information.

If your child is born overseas, you must first apply for citizenship by descent and have this approved before an Australian passport can be issued. For information on registering a child by descent, see homeaffairs.gov.au .

Information about overseas adoption and surrogacy is available from the Department of Home Affairs .

Child custody

Before you leave Australia with your child, make sure you get consent to do so from any person or institution that has parental responsibility, or get a court order permitting their travel. If you don’t do this, you may be committing a crime. Many countries have reciprocal arrangements with Australia, recognising parenting orders, but some don’t, so be sure to check before you travel.

For more information, see the ‘ Travelling with children ’ page.

Relationships

Some countries’ legal systems impose strict limits on women’s rights. While these may be harsh by Australian standards, they’ll apply to you when you’re in that country. Make sure you read the travel advice for each destination before you travel.

Be wary of relationships started over the internet. Cyber-dating scams are common and Australians have lost large amounts of money on sham marriage partners. In some instances, relationship scammers kidnap and hold to ransom Australians who’ve travelled overseas to meet their online partner.

If you’re going overseas to get married, you must work within the legal systems of Australia and the country you’re getting married in. Make sure you check the legal, cultural and religious implications for yourself, your partner and any current or future children. If you need advice specific to your destination, contact the local embassy, high commission or consulate.

Each year, DFAT receives thousands of calls from worried family members and friends who haven’t heard from someone who is travelling. Keeping in touch not only saves your friends and family a lot of worry, but it can also make it easier to find you in an emergency.

  • Leave a copy of your itinerary with your family or a friend and let them know if it changes.
  • Arrange options for staying in touch with family and friends while overseas (mobile phone, pre-paid or post-paid international calling card, SMS, social media, email, etc.).
  • Tell your family and friends how often they’ll hear from you and stick to your word.
  • Let your family and friends know if you’re travelling to a remote area and won’t be contactable.

More information

The Smartraveller website has useful travel hints for specific travel groups, including:

  • Australians with mental health concerns
  • business travellers
  • dual nationals
  • LGBTI+ travellers
  • people living and working overseas
  • mature travellers
  • school leavers
  • travellers with a disability

It also has information about how to cope with unexpected events overseas, including:

  • being arrested or jailed
  • crises or natural disasters
  • medical emergencies or needing medical assistance
  • money problems
  • sexual assault
  • when someone has died
  • when someone is missing

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Coming home

When you return to Australia, there are a few basic things you can do to make your re-entry quicker and easier:

  • Have the correct documents completed and ready.
  • Make sure you declare any items that may be restricted or prohibited or carry diseases.
  • Know your duty-free allowances.
  • Familiarise yourself with any COVID-19 re-entry measures – quarantine arrangements, testing requirements and the traveller declaration.
  • Smartraveller: COVID-19 and travel

Standard Australian immigration and biosecurity requirements apply to all incoming passengers.

Australia has strict biosecurity requirements to help minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering the country. You must comply with biosecurity requirements before entering Australia. Luggage is screened using detector dogs, X-ray machines and baggage inspection. If you’re caught carrying undeclared biosecurity risk goods, you could be fined or prosecuted.

You may need to show a yellow fever vaccination certificate on your return to Australia if you have visited a yellow fever risk country. Additional biosecurity requirements related to COVID-19 may also apply. More information is available at the Department of Health  website. .

You must declare certain foods, plant material and animal products to a Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment biosecurity officer. If you have goods you don’t wish to declare, you can dispose of them in bins in the airport terminal. In many cases, the goods you declare will be returned to you after inspection.

Failure to declare certain items of biosecurity risk can result in visa cancellations for non-Australian residents. You should declare any items you’re unsure of to avoid this outcome.

If your goods don’t meet Australia’s import requirements, they may be directed for treatment, export or destruction at your expense.

Prohibited goods

Other items that are controlled must be declared on arrival, including:

  • firearms, weapons, tobacco and ammunition
  • performance-enhancing and image-enhancing drugs
  • medicines including prescription medications, alternative and herbal medicines, vitamins and mineral preparation formulas
  • currency – $10,000 or more in physical Australian currency or foreign equivalent or other bearer-negotiable instruments
  • protected wildlife such as coral, orchids, caviar, ivory and hunting trophies
  • agricultural and veterinary chemical products
  • illegal pornography and child exploitation material
  • heritage-listed goods such as works of art, stamps, coins, archaeological objects and specimens
  • defence and strategic goods.

Wildlife products

  • As well as approval from the Department of Home Affairs, many wildlife products require approval from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to allow entry into Australia. ‘Wildlife’ includes (but is not limited to) any whole, part or derivative of a plant or animal, either living or non-living.

For more information, see:

  • Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  • Department of Home Affairs

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Getting help overseas

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Know what to do if you find yourself in an emergency situation.

Depending on the nature of your emergency, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, bank, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider.

The Smartraveller travel advisories list emergency contact numbers for each destination. Be aware that enforcement and ethical standards for police and security authorities vary between countries. Always remember to get a police report if you report a crime.

Travel insurance companies often have 24-hour call centres that you can contact from anywhere in the world. If you get sick overseas, are a victim of crime or are involved in an emergency, contact your travel insurance provider as soon as possible. Carry your travel insurance policy information and contact numbers with you.

Consular services

If you have exhausted these options and are still facing serious difficulties, the Australian Government may be able to assist you. DFAT provides consular services to Australians facing serious difficulties overseas in line with the Consular Services Charter . These include:

  • assisting Australian citizens in difficult situations overseas, including serious injury, illness or death, and arrest and detention
  • providing support during crisis situations and international emergencies
  • Delivering information and advice to help Australians help themselves and avoid difficulties overseas
  • issuing passports and travel documents to Australian citizens
  • offering a limited range of notarial services, such as witnessing and legalising documents, and administering oaths and affirmations (fees apply).

The Consular Services Charter outlines the consular assistance that can be provided to Australians overseas, and a range of tasks that are outside the consular role.

In some countries, Canadian missions provide assistance to Australians. Up-to-date contact information for Australian and relevant Canadian missions overseas is listed on the DFAT website .

Your privacy

Your personal information is protected by law, including under the Privacy Act 1988 . Personal information may be used by us to provide consular assistance. Information about how we collect, use, disclose and store personal information related to consular cases is in our Consular Privacy Collection Statement available at online or by requesting a copy from the department.

By law, consular officials must charge fees for notarial and certain other services. These fees are determined by an Act of Parliament and don’t reflect the full cost of providing these services.

Consular Emergency Centre

DFAT’s Consular Emergency Centre supports Australia’s embassies, high commissions and consulates to provide 24/7 consular assistance where the problem is serious and requires emergency support. If you can’t contact your closest Australian high commission or consulate and need immediate assistance, call 1300 555 135 from within Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas.

Mental health support overseas

If you have any doubts or concerns about seeking mental health support in your location and need immediate assistance, contact your nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate, or call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305.

Quick references guide

If you or a family member is seriously sick and in need of medical care overseas :

  • Seek medical assistance from local doctors or hospitals, or via your hotel or tour manager.
  • Contact your travel insurer – travel insurance companies often have 24-hour call centres.
  • Call the nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate and follow the telephone prompts.
  • If you can’t make contact call the Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on 1300 555 135 from within Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas.

If you or a family member has been sexually assaulted or are the victim of a serious crime overseas:

  • If you can’t make contact call the Consular Emergency Centre (CEC) in Canberra on 1300 555 135 from within Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas. The CEC will make contact with the nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate to provide direct assistance.

If you or a family member has been robbed or need money overseas:

  • In the case of theft, contact your travel insurer. Your insurer may require you to report the loss to local police and obtain a police report.
  • Contact family and friends and look to use a commercial money transfer service or a bank to transfer funds.

If you or a family member is arrested  overseas:

  • Call the nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate, noting that there are limits to what consular staff can do. We can’t get you out of prison or detention or provide legal advice, but we can give you access to a range of information, including contact details for local lawyers. We’ll do what we can to see you’re treated in accordance with local laws and processes. We’ll raise any welfare concerns with prison authorities.

If someone is missing overseas:

  • Call their phone, email them and seek to make contact via social media.
  • Call family members and friends and check with those at their last address, banks, travel agents, airlines, tour companies or employers.
  • If this is not successful and there are reasons for concern, contact your local police in Australia to report a missing person before calling the Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on 1300 555 135 from within Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas.

Related content

A handy checklist to tell you what you need to do before you head off on your trip.

Information to help you understand what consular staff in Australia and overseas can do to assist prisoners and their families when someone is arrested overseas.

Explore this page to learn about resources we offer industry, media, education and the community.

Situation in Haiti March 29, 2024

U.s. citizens in haiti, update january 10, 2024, information for u.s. citizens in the middle east.

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Crisis and Disaster Abroad: Be Ready

What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis

Information for U.S. Citizens about a U.S. Government-Assisted Evacuation

Your Health Abroad

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Information for U.S. Citizens in Russia – Travel Options Out of Russia

Lodging Safety

There are a number of ways to receive updates to our safety and security information. Choose the one that is right for you.  

All Travel Advisories and Alerts

  • Create an account at STEP.state.gov and provide the details of your specific trip, including dates of arrival and departure for the countries you choose.
  • We will email you new Travel Advisories and Alerts as soon as we issue them, so be sure to provide an email address that you can access during your trip.

Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)

  • OSAC is a public-private partnership within the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security that promotes cooperation between American private/non-profit companies  and the U.S. government on security issues.
  • OSAC publishes our Travel Advisories and Alerts , which are sortable by world regions and security categories. Note: OSAC’s listing of Travel Advisories and Alerts may not be updated immediately during evening and weekend hours.
  • You may also subscribe to OSAC’s daily newsletters for additional security information. See OSAC.gov for more details.

Twitter/Facebook

  • We will post Travel Advisories and Alerts to our @TravelGov Twitter and Facebook accounts. However, due to social media algorithms that control the type and order of messages you receive, you may not see them all. Please see our individual country pages to view the Travel Advisory and recent Alerts for a specific country.

Travel Advisories Only

  • If you are not traveling now, but are interested in monitoring safety conditions for specific destination(s) overseas, sign up to receive Travel Advisory updates at STEP.state.gov under Staying at Home?

List of Countries with Travel Advisory Levels

  • To see all Travel Advisories, visit travel.state.gov/traveladvisories , where you can sort by country, level, or date updated.
  • Our interactive map at travelmaps.state.gov provides a global view of Travel Advisory levels.
  • You can receive all 200+Travel Advisories via RSS feed via an RSS reader app from your favorite app store.
  • If your organization has a website or mobile app, you can ask your administrator or programmer to use our API. Find out more here .

Media Notes

  • The State Department’s media team will send email updates that include Level 3 and Level 4 Travel Advisory changes and reissuances. Sign up here .

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You can download an RSS reader app from your favorite app store and subscribe to the RSS feed for a U.S. embassy to receive all Alerts for a specific country. See this list .

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How the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program could help you on your next trip abroad

Caroline Tanner

Editor's Note

Though careful planning and common sense are two of the best ways to stay safe when traveling, security situations can rapidly change in foreign countries.

That's why the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs has created the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to help keep you up-to-date on relevant security updates from the nearest U.S. consulate, wherever in the world you happen to be.

Here's how to sign up for STEP.

Who should register for STEP?

smart traveller gov

The primary purpose of STEP is to keep American citizens safe. Here are a few reasons to consider signing up:

  • You're traveling to an area that's politically unstable or prone to violence.
  • You're taking an extended trip (several weeks or months) where you have limited Wi-Fi access.
  • You're traveling for a major event, summit or conference (like the World Cup) that might become the target of protests or attacks.
  • You're a minority traveling to an area where you might be targeted as an outsider.
  • You'd like an additional safety resource during your trip, no matter the destination.

Some group trips or programs may require participants to enroll. For instance, I had to enroll when I studied abroad in college.

In the event of a rapidly deteriorating situation, such as a coup or natural disaster, STEP can connect you with evacuation efforts or provide important safety information and help you take care of yourself.

How to register

To register, create an account and fill in your personal information and emergency contact details.

smart traveller gov

Once your account is set up, log in and register each specific trip or residence abroad. You'll repeat this process for each new trip to receive STEP alerts.

smart traveller gov

You'll then be prompted to enroll any upcoming trips to receive STEP notifications. Select the nearest U.S. consulate to where you'll be staying. Note that "destination" refers to the country (not a specific city, state or territory), and the available options will auto-fill as you type.

Next, fill in the dates of your trip, the reason you're traveling and how you can be reached while abroad. If there are any timely alerts specific to your destination, you'll also be alerted of that information at this point.

smart traveller gov

Bottom line

It may be helpful to think of STEP like travel insurance: If all goes well, you won't need to use it, and you might even forget you have it.

However, if things go wrong while you're traveling abroad, your local U.S. embassy is the quickest way to get help; the embassy's goal is to ensure all Americans in its jurisdiction are safe and accounted for. This is when STEP notifications can become incredibly important.

The entire sign-up process takes less than five minutes, and the trip registration process takes about 60 seconds.

For additional resources, be sure to follow the State Department on Twitter and bookmark its international travel page for the latest country alerts.

Related reading:

  • The difference between CDC and State Department travel warnings
  • Confused by State Department travel advisories? Here's what they mean
  • If you need a passport quickly, this service may be for you
  • Passport processing wait times decrease for the 1st time since February
  • Prepare to wait: Current Global Entry processing times are up to 11 months

IMAGES

  1. Destinations

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  2. Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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  3. How to Register to Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

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  4. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

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  5. Travel smart advice for all travellers

    smart traveller gov

  6. Everything you need to know about the State Department's Smart Traveler

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COMMENTS

  1. Homepage | Smartraveller

    12 Mar 2024. Recent research found that Smartraveller is a trusted source of advice. But it also found that Australians still take unnecessary risks when they head overseas, especially with travel insurance. Editorial. Insurance. Read more. 20 Feb 2024.

  2. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

    The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel ...

  3. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

    Join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) After you set up your account, you can pick what types of messages you want to get. Stay in touch during an emergency. Signing up for STEP helps the U.S. embassy get in touch with you if there’s an emergency. And, if your family or friends in the U.S. can’t reach you with urgent news while ...

  4. Travel smart advice for all travellers | Smartraveller

    entry and exit requirements. We can help you consider the level of risk you may face, so you can make informed decisions about where and when to travel overseas. Smartraveller uses 4 levels of travel advice for all destinations: Level 1: Exercise normal safety precautions. Level 2: Exercise a high degree of caution.

  5. SmartTraveler - Apps on Google Play

    About this app. travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more. With Smart Traveler, you can create personal itineraries, add notes, and organize your trips. Smart Traveler also provides access to the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). unrest in foreign countries, or lost/stolen passports overseas.

  6. Travelers - United States Department of State

    Please enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and be located in an emergency. Please call 1 (888) 407-4747 (U.S. and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 (overseas) or contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. As a first step in planning any trip abroad, check the Travel Advisories for your intended destination.

  7. Staying Connected - Travel

    Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) Create an account at STEP.state.gov and provide the details of your specific trip, including dates of arrival and departure for the countries you choose. We will email you new Travel Advisories and Alerts as soon as we issue them, so be sure to provide an email address that you can access during your trip.

  8. How the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ...

    The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs has created the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to help keep you up-to-date on relevant security updates from the nearest U.S. consulate.