Entry and Exit
In view of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, you may also wish to refer to the official website of the Australian Department of Health at https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-travellers for information on public health travel advisory affecting travellers from Singapore, and the Australian Department of Home Affairs on travel restrictions (https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus). As entry restrictions may change at short notice, we advise you to contact your travel agency, or the nearest Embassy of Australia to ensure that you have accurate information for your specific purpose prior to departure.
Singaporeans are required to obtain a visa before travelling to Australia. Some visas can be applied online, while others need to be applied at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) in Singapore.
The Australian Department of Home Affairs provides that Singapore citizens visiting for short-term tourism or business may apply online for the Electronic Travel Authority (visa subclass 601) before their travels. The ETA, if granted, will be valid for one year and will allow Singapore citizens to visit multiple times for up to 90 days per visit. Singapore citizens may also apply for a Long Validity Visitor visa (visa subclass 600) at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) in Singapore. Applicants must provide their personal biometric identifiers when they apply for the visa. The visa, if granted, will be valid for six years and will allow Singapore citizens to visit multiple times for up to 90 days per visit. As visa requirements often change at short notice, we advise you to contact your travel agency, or the Australian High Commission in Singapore for up-to-date information.
Australia commits to strict biosecurity policies to protect its unique environment and its human, animal and plant health. Before you arrive in Australia, you will be given an Incoming Passenger Card. You must mark “YES” on your card if you are carrying, on your person, in your luggage or carry-on, goods that may pose a biosecurity risk, such as plant material, animal products, certain food, traditional medicine or herbs and wooden articles. You must declare honestly as false or misleading declaration is a serious offence in Australia. For more information on biosecurity, you may visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.
Visitors or long-term stayers in Australia must ensure they do not overstay beyond their given visa period. Overstaying is taken very seriously by the Australian Border Force and may also result in difficulties for future visits to Australia. Hence, if you intend to stay longer than the period granted on your visa, or find out that your visa has expired, you must seek advice from the nearest Department of Immigration and Border Protection office. Further information and guidance can be found on the Australian Border Force website.
Safety and Security
While Australia is generally safe, there have been incidents of pickpocketing, apartment break-ins or vehicle break-ins. Hence, you must exercise precautions on personal safety and over your belongings at all times. Vehicle break-ins are particularly common in tourist spots in Western Australia, for which care must be taken not to leave belongings unattended in your rental/vehicles, to avoid, among others, the loss of your passport, wallet, bag, other valuable items, and incurring fees payable for a damaged rental vehicle.
Australia is geographically almost as large as the United States. Visitors to Australia often underestimate the distances taken to travel from one location to another. Interstate overland travel (by car for example) across Australia can last hours to days. Distance-driving under unfamiliar road and weather conditions along with irregular mobile phone connectivity in rural areas heightens the risk to a foreign driver’s safety and well-being. If driving, it is important that you plan your journeys carefully, and take frequent rest breaks. Where possible, also consider alternative travel options such as bus or coaches, when visiting remote tourist spots. If you plan to drive, please ensure that you bring along your passport and driving licence, familiarise yourself with and adhere to road and traffic rules in the state that you are travelling.
Australia imposes strict penalties for any driver that flouts traffic and road rules.
It is strictly illegal, in all Australian states, if the driver or passenger does not wear a seatbelt. In Western Australia, for example, not wearing a seatbelt will result in a penalty of the minimum of AUD 550.00 as a passenger. Drivers are responsible for their passengers, and will also be penalised just as much if any passenger is unrestrained.
Causing harm in any traffic accident in any state in Australia is a serious offence, and offenders will be prosecuted, with the potential for severe penalties including jail time.
Citizens who are detained by law enforcement authorities in Australia can request Consular access, and the authority will procedurally offer Consular access to detained foreigners. Any detained citizen will need to expressly consent to Consular access before the Singapore High Commission can render assistance to them.
General Travel Advice
Overseas Travel – Be Informed & Be Safe [13 November 2019]
In view of the upcoming school holidays, Singaporeans planning overseas travel are reminded to take the necessary precautions, including being prepared to deal with accidents, natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Singaporeans are also reminded to be familiar with your destination’s local laws and customs restrictions, including immigration procedures and entry requirements.
Singaporeans travelling to and from Malaysia, in particular via the land checkpoints, are reminded to ensure that your passport is presented to a Malaysian immigration officer and stamped correctly before leaving the Malaysian immigration booth. Failure to do so is an immigration offence in Malaysia and the penalties can be severe, including detention, a fine, and a ban from future entry into the country.
In 2019, demonstrations have occurred in several major cities across the world. Such demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence. It is important for Singaporeans to keep abreast of local news, avoid any protests or demonstrations and heed the advice of the local authorities.
When participating in outdoor leisure activities overseas, Singaporeans should be mindful that certain sporting activities, especially in open seas, may carry risks. Besides ensuring that one has the physical competencies and appropriate condition to undertake the activity, every effort should be made to ascertain if the trip organiser or guide is reliable and competent, and that appropriate safety and contingency plans are in place. When in doubt, Singaporeans should consult the relevant professional bodies or sporting associations for specific advice.
For those planning to travel, here are some tips:
· Familiarise yourself with our network of overseas missions.
· Purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage.
· Equip yourself with research about your destination’s entry requirements, current situation, local laws and customs.
· eRegister with us on our website (https://www.mfa.gov.sg) so that we may reach out to you during an emergency.
· Always take care of your personal safety, remain vigilant and monitor local weather news, advisories, and security developments.
· Exercise caution around large gatherings and avoid locations known for demonstrations or disturbances.
· Be prepared for possible delays and last-minute changes in travel plans especially during unforeseen events such as natural disasters, social unrests or terror attacks.
· Stay connected with your friends and family. Inform them of your whereabouts and provide them with your overseas contact details.
In the event that you require consular assistance, please contact the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.
Advisory: Email Scams [Updated: 12 May 2016]
There has been an increasing number of reports in recent years of individuals receiving scam emails purportedly sent from friends in distress overseas. These emails typically originate from an email address known to the receiver bearing claims of the sender getting into trouble overseas and urgently requesting financial assistance. The sender would also claim to have approached a Singapore Embassy/Consulate and the local Police for help to no avail.
MFA takes the safety of all Singaporeans very seriously. Singaporeans in distress approaching our Overseas Missions for assistance will be rendered with all necessary consular assistance. If you receive such emails from purported friends seeking funds transfers, we strongly advise you to call them first to verify the authenticity of the emails before responding to their request. It is also not advisable to give out any personal information such as NRIC/passport nos., address, telephone number, etc. Any form of reply, even one of non-interest, could result in more unsolicited emails. Members of the public who suspect that they have fallen prey to such scams should report the matter to the Police immediately. Should Singaporeans abroad require consular assistance, they can contact the nearest Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24-hr Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.