Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, acceptable business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, etc.

Business Customs

Conducting business in Australia is relatively easy for American companies due to the similarities in language, cultural environment, business practices, and customer expectations. Australians pay attention to advance planning, promptness, follow-up, and are generally direct in their business dealings. They typically conduct business on a first-name basis and exchange business cards for information purposes, but without any special ceremony. Token gift exhange is not common; however, luncheon and breakfest meetings are common. Australians do not typically schedule business functions on weekends. Business attire is the norm for the cities, and rural areas are slightly more informal.

Travel Advisory

For State Department travel warnings, please visit the website.

For additional State Department information on Australia, please visit the website.

Visa Requirements

Americans traveling to Australia for business and/or leisure must hold a valid US passport and either a visa or an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). ETA’s are available via the Internet here or here and from participating US travel agents and airlines when making travel arrangements. There is an AUD20 service fee for each ETA application. Americans can apply to Australian Embassies, High Commissions, and Consulates for a visa. For the location of the nearest Australian diplomatic facility, please refer to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Requirements for work and resident visas are more stringent. Americans should contact the nearest Australian visa office well in advance of travel.

US Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following links.

State Department Visa website
US Embassy in Australia

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has extended the use of SmartGate to US citizens on arrival in Australia. SmartGate is a simple way for eligible travelers arriving into Australia's international airports to self-process through passport control. Further information is available here.

 

Currency

Australia’s local currency is the Australian Dollar. Further information on Australia’s currency is available on the website.
 

Telecommunications/Electronics

Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure is well developed. Australian telecommunications providers include: Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and Virgin. All the cell phone carriers run 4G networks. You will need to make prior arrangements with your communications carrier or service provider to ensure you are able to use your cellular phone in Australia. Power voltage is 240 volts/50Hz.

Australia and New Zealand use power terminals that differ from those used in the United States. Hence, adaptors can be purchased at airports or specific electronic stores.

Internet access is widely available at airports, hotels, and internet cafés. There are many Wi-Fi hotspots in the central business districts (CBDs) of the biggest cities.

For more information on telecommunications in Australia see the  Australian Communications and Media Authority website.

 

Transportation

It is a 14-hour non-stop flight from the West Coast of the United States (San Francisco or Los Angeles) to the East Coast of Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane). Several international airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, and Air Pacific fly this trans-pacific route.
Most flights depart from the United States late in the evening and arrive in Australia early morning, with a day lost at the International Date Line. Travel to or from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, South America, and South Africa from Australia is also convenient.

Frequent interstate flights connect the five major Australian cities. The major airlines servicing domestic routes include Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar Airways. Discounts may be available on domestic airfares when purchased in conjunction with international tickets. Australia has an extensive and efficient domestic transportation system, including air, rail, coach, and sea services.

Australians drive on the left side of the road. Major US and Australian car rental agencies operate throughout the country. Reservations are available through airports, hotels, travel agents, or directly, using a credit card and a US or international driver's license.

Public transportation is well developed throughout urban areas. Convenient bus, rail, and air services are available between cities and country towns.

International Air Travel Times

Los Angeles to Sydney - 14 hours
New York to Sydney (via Los Angeles or San Francisco) - 21 hours
Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney – 16 hours
Honolulu to Sydney - nine hours
Tokyo to Sydney - nine hours
Hong Kong to Sydney - nine hours
Singapore to Sydney - eight hours
 
Air Travel Times Within Australia

Sydney to Melbourne - one hour
Sydney to Brisbane - one hour
Sydney to Perth - four hours
Sydney to Canberra - 35 minutes
Melbourne to Brisbane - two hours
Melbourne to Perth - four hours
Brisbane to Perth - six hours

Language

Australia is an English-speaking country.

Health

Australia has no notable health risks and public tap water is safe to drink. There are active campaigns to encourage the population to protect themselves from exposure to Australia’s strong sun and to use sunscreen.  Medical and dental services, and all types of health facilities, are comparable with those in the United States. Visitors can easily receive medical attention, but may be required to pay for services immediately, either by cash or credit card.

Local Time, Business Hours & Holidays

Australia has three time zones: Eastern, Central, and Western. Not all Australian states observe daylight savings time and the dates for the switch to and from daylight savings time varies. To check the current time in Australia, refer to the website.

Office business hours are generally between 9:00am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday. Most shops in major city centers are open on Saturday and Sunday and at least one night a week for evening trading. Banks are open to the public from 9:00am-4:00pm, Monday through Friday, with 24/7 ATM service. Restaurants and convenience stores are typically open for extended hours.
Australians generally take annual vacation in December and January, combining Christmas/New Year with the school summer vacation period. Consequently, business slows down and it may be difficult to schedule business appointments during this time. Business travelers should ascertain whether their contacts are available during this period before scheduling trips to Australia.
A list of Public Holidays in Australia can be found on the Australian Government website.

 

Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings

Certain goods may be brought into Australia on a temporary basis for a period of up to 12 months without the payment of duty or taxes. These goods are referred to as temporary imports.  Approval for temporary imports is granted under Section 162 or Section 162A of the Customs Act 1901.

Goods that qualify as temporary imports may also be imported under carnet, where a security is lodged with a carnet issuing body overseas, or under security, where a security is lodged with the Australian Customs Service (Customs) at the time of import. The nature of the goods, what they will be used for while they are in Australia, and who is importing the goods will determine whether or not the goods will qualify.

There are conditions placed on temporary imports.  The most important condition is that you export the goods within the time limits approved.  If the goods are not exported within the time limit you will have to pay to customs an amount equal to the duty and taxes that would have been payable if when you first imported the goods, the goods had not been treated as temporary imports.
For further information, please visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

 

Travel Related Web Resources

Australian Communications Authority
Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection
Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection office in the US
Australian Embassy Website
Australian Embassy US Visas Website
Australian Visa information
Public Holidays in Australia
Time conversion
US State Dept. Visa Website
US State Dept. Travel Warnings
US State Dept. Visa Website

Australian Tourist Office

Australian Tourist Commission

Australian State Tourist Offices

Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales Tourist Commission
Victorian Tourist Commission
 

 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Australia Trade Development and Promotion Business Travel and Etiquette