Hi, My name's Graham and I'm the Consul
at the Australian Consulate in New York. My name is Justin and I've been
an Australian consular officer here in Washington for the
last two and a half years. My name's Graeme and I'm with the Australian
Consulate-General in Los Angeles, and one of my roles to is help out Australians who find
themselves in difficulties and don't know where to turn. Some of those difficulties can be
avoided with some preparation such as for example making sure that
you satisfy US entry requirements.
Now, if you're entering the United
States under the visa waiver program you need to complete and ESTA, an
Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and the detaills on how you complete that
are on the smartraveller.Gov.Au website. If you're coming into the US on a visa make sure
that you understand the conditions of that visa and also, most importantly, understand
when the visa is going to expire. If this is your first visit, much will
be familiar about the United States but there are some important differences. For example, there are different
layers of policing in the US, including for example, university campus police.
The legal drinking age in the US is 21, not 18. Underage drinking is taken very seriously and if you're under the age of 21 and caught drinking
you can face severe fines or even a night or two in jail. You should always make sure you take
out comprehensive travel insurance too. Medical expenses can be huge over here and I'm aware of cases where people have
spent hundreds of thousands of dollars out of their own pocket covering medical bills
because they either didn't have travel insurance or they didn't have the right type of insurance.
There's a saying in the travel business actually, if you can't afford the travel insurance
then you can't afford to travel. While travelling it's a good idea to keep your friends
and family well informed of where you're going, and you can also register with us through Smartraveller, and that way if there's an emergency either here
or at home we'd be able to locate you quickly. If there is an emergency such as say an earthquake,
and of course LA does lie on an earthquake fault line then you should always follow the
instructions of the local authorities. I hope you find those tips useful.