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Consular Services to Australian citizens and permanent residents living in and travelling through or the United States are provided by the Embassy and by the Consulates-General in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Honolulu and San Francisco.
If you require consular assistance, contact your nearest Australian mission. For consular emergencies outside normal business hours in the United States you may call the Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +1 888 239 3501.
What we can and cannot do
The Australian Government will do what it can to help Australians in difficulty overseas, but there are legal and practical limits to what can and cannot be done.
Consular Services Charter
The Consular Services Charter outlines the high standard of service that our clients can expect when seeking Consular Assistance.
The Privacy Act and Consular Services
The Privacy Act 1988 (the Act) imposes legal requirements on the ways in which Australian government departments and agencies may collect, store, use and disclose personal information about an individual with whom departments and agencies have dealings.
The requirements of the Act have important implications for consular work. As a rule, consular officers may not disclose to anyone personal information regarding an individual without first obtaining the expressed consent of that individual.
Although sympathetic to the distress this can cause concerned family and friends, consular officers must comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act.
Australian Visa, Immigration and / or Citizenship matters
Consular staff are unable to provide any information regarding Australian visa, immigration or citizenship matters. For information, visit www.immi.gov.au or contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Americas Service Center on +1 613 216 7603.
U.S. Visa, Immigration and / or Citizenship matters
Likewise, consular staff are unable to assist Australians with United States visa, immigration or citizenship matters.
If you have any questions regarding United States visa, immigration or citizenship matters, you should contact the United States Embassy or one of the United States Consulates-General in Australia prior to your departure.
Once in the U.S., you should contact United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on +1 800 375 5283, or the Department of State’s Visa Services enquiry line on +1 202 663 1225.
J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program
Australians who are subject to, but do not wish to comply with, the two-year home-country residence requirement, may apply for a waiver of that requirement under any one of the five applicable grounds provided for by United States immigration law.
One of those grounds is on the basis of a "No Objection" Statement issued by the Australian Government. Information on applying for a "No Objection" Statement can be found here.
Legal Representation: Local Lawyers and Immigration Attorneys
The Embassy does not maintain a list of local lawyers and/or immigration attorneys.
Each State Bar Association provides a lawyer referral service. Contact details for the State Bar Associations can be found here. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (based in Washington DC) also offers a lawyer referral service. For further information, visit www.aila.org.
*** Neither the Australian Government, nor the Embassy, can accept any responsibility whatsoever for the competence or otherwise of any of the practitioners recommended by these services, nor for any costs involved.
Understanding your obligations and ensuring that you have appropriate taxation arrangements in place is your responsibility. Consular staff are not qualified to advise you on taxation matters and cannot provide ‘Tax Packs’.
All queries relating to Australian taxation, including how to lodge your tax return from the United States, should be directed to the Australian Taxation Office (www.ato.gov.au, tel.: +61 2 6216 1111).
Centrelink and the Provision of Australian Social Security Benefits (incl. Age Pension, 'baby bonus')
The Centrelink program delivers a range of payments and services for retirees, the unemployed, families, carers, parents, people with disabilities, Indigenous Australians, and people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and provides services at times of major change.
Consular staff are unable to provide information on Centrelink’s range of payments and services. If you wish to apply for or need to discuss issues relating to the provision of Australian Social Security, contact Centrelink International Services on +1 866 343 3086 (toll-free from the United States) or visit http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/dhs/centrelink.
*** Centrelink services are provided between 8.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). AEST is currently 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST), and therefore 14, 13 and 12 hours ahead of the Central (CST), Mountain (MST) and Pacific (PST) time zones respectively.
Birth, Deaths and Marriages (BDM)
The Embassy does not issue birth, death or marriage certificates. If you wish to register a birth, death or marriage, or obtain a copy of your existing Australian birth, death or marriage certificate, you may apply through the official web site of the relevant State or Territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Obtaining a Police Clearance or Criminal History Check
Australians requiring Police Clearance or Criminal History checks should contact the appropriate State or Territory Police force. The type, cost and application forms required for clearance certificates vary, however any State or Territory in Australia will be able to provide at least one of the following certificates:
- Certificate issued on the basis of fingerprints;
- Certificate issued on the basis of a name check; and
- National Police Clearance Certificate.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) can also issue a National Police Clearance Certificate that covers criminal records in all Australian States and Territories, except Queensland. The AFP has advised that this certificate is acceptable in all countries.
Renewal of Australian Drivers' Licences
The renewal of Australian drivers’ licences is handled by the various State and Territory authorities. The Embassy does not issue or renew drivers’ licences and can only assist with the witnessing and certifying of documents if required. For further questions, or to obtain the relevant documentation for renewing your licence, please contact the transport office in the relevant Australian State or Territory.
International Driving Permits
Some rental car agencies in the United States require an International Driving Permit (IDP) as part of the agreement. An IDP is a widely recognised document that serves as proof of validation of your Australian drivers’ license. An IDP is not itself a licence, however - you must also have a current Australian licence.
IDPs are issued by associated members of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA). To obtain an IDP, please contact the relevant authority in your State or Territory.
Returning Remains to Australia
When human remains are to be returned to Australia for burial or cremation, there are requirements to meet under the Quarantine Act 1908. For assistance with returning remains to Australia, contact the Embassy or one of the five Consulates-General throughout the United States.