Residents of overseas countries who are not Australian citizens require a visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to enter Australia. This must be obtained prior to arrival in Australia, except for New Zealand citizens who are issued with a visa on arrival.
An ETA will let you spend up to three months in Australia. Certain travel agents and airlines can provide visitors with an ETA. An ETA can also be applied for on the internet using the Australian Government's Electronic Travel Authority System.
For stays of longer than three months, you must apply for a visa. Visas are available from Australian visa offices, such as Australian embassies, high commissions and consulates.
For further information on visa and entry conditions into Australia, see Visas & Immigration.
Upon your arrival into Australia from overseas, you must declare all food, plant material and animal products you may be carrying with you. This is to ensure they are free of pests and diseases which could harm Australia's agricultural industries.
If you declare any items which present a disease risk, options may exist for them to be treated to make them safe, otherwise they may need to be destroyed.
For further information about entering Australia from overseas, see quarantine travel information.
Driving motor vehicles in Victoria
Overseas visitors to Victoria are permitted to drive motor vehicles on the state's roads provided they have a current and valid overseas driver licence and they only driving vehicles of the same class that their licence was issued for. This driver licence must either be printed in the English language, otherwise an English translation of it must be provided. An acceptable translation of a non-English driver licence is an International Driving Permit (IDP) which most countries around the world can issue, however the IDP must be accompanied by the original licence.
Road safety is taken very seriously in Victoria, so ensure when driving that you:
- Drive on the left hand side of the road
- Wear a seat belt at all times
- Do not drive if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.05% or above
- Do not drive if under the influence of illicit drugs
For further information, consult the guide to using Victoria's roads.
Electricity from mains supply power points in Australia is alternating current which is usually specified as being supplied at 230 to 240 volts with a frequency of 50 Hz. Officially, mains supply voltage is 230 volts with a tolerance range of +10% and -6% (i.e. 216 to 253 volts).
Using your mobile (cell) phone
Mobile phone network operators in Australia have international roaming agreements with a number of operators overseas. So if there is an agreement in place between your mobile service provider and an Australian mobile telephone network, you should be able to arrange in advance to have your mobile phone operate in Australia. Note that higher call charges typically apply when making use of a roaming service, and you may also be charged for not only making outgoing calls but also incoming ones which are diverted from your provider back home to your mobile operating in Australia.
A more cost-effective solution, particularly for an extended stay in Australia, is to purchase a pre-paid Australian SIM card for your mobile phone. This allows you to connect directly with mobile service providers in Australia, giving you competitive call rates and the ability to check your credit balance and top it up as required. You will be issued with an Australian mobile phone number which you can give out to people. Note that your mobile phone must be not be locked to a specific provider's network, otherwise you'll be unable to use the Australian SIM card in your phone.
Major mobile phone companies operating in Australia that offer pre-paid mobile phone services include:
Throughout Victoria, public internet access is provided at a range of venues including libraries, community centres, visitor centres, backpacker lodges, internet cafes and tourist attractions. Some of these may be free of cost (typically at libraries), while other venues may charge a modest fee, usually based on the time spent accessing the internet.
- Public libraries in Victoria - locate a library
- Free wireless hotspots - use your laptop at these venues for internet access
An increasing number of accommodation properties in Victoria offer Wi-Fi or broadband internet access for guests who bring a laptop computer with them.
Medicare is the name of Australia's public health care system. The Australian Government has reciprocal health care agreements with the governments of Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, allowing residents of those countries access to medically necessary treatment offered by Medicare. These limited services may be free or discounted. For further important information, see Health Care for Visitors to Australia from the Australian Government.
Even if you're from one of the nations that has a reciprocal health care agreement, travel insurance with comprehensive health cover is strongly recommended. This should be taken out prior to your arrival in Australia.
Living in Victoria
Would you like to live in Victoria? Every year, many people immigrate to Victoria from overseas, settling into Melbourne or regional centres. For information on what Victoria offers and how you can become a resident of this state, see Work and Live in Victoria.