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Sydney - Registration, Permits & Other Documentation

Australia practices a uniform immigration policy when it comes to the issuance of entry visas and work permits to expatriates (non-Australians). Every non-Australian, with the exception of New Zealand citizens, must possess a valid entry visa to enter Australia, whether it is a temporary visit, or a longer-term stay for employment, or for migratory purposes. Even expatriates from the UK or other commonwealth countries need a valid entry visa to enter Australia.

The Australian government has an extensive migrant policy, and there are many visa schemes foreigners can apply to, in order to legally reside and work in Australia. In this guide, only the more common types of visas are highlighted; for more details and the most updated information, it is best to refer to the Australian Government's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (website :

For skilled expatriates who are relocating to Sydney as an overseas posting by their employer / company, most expatriates would be eligible to apply under the Employer Sponsored Workers section. The most common type of visa is the Temporary Business (Long Stay) Visa. This visa permits foreigners to reside in Australia for up to 4 years. As the name suggests, this scheme applies only to employers / businesses who qualify to sponsor foreigners to work in their Australia-based business. Employers / businesses must show proof that the position cannot be suitably filled by someone else residing in the country. This visa can be applied online.

For expatriates who are relocating to Sydney for employment, but are not sponsored by their employers, expatriates can apply under the Professionals and Other Skilled Migrants Scheme, provided that they meet the general requirements (e.g. must be aged over 18 and below 45 years, and possess some of the skills and qualifications as indicated by the Australian Government). There are certain obligations that the employee must meet in order to qualify for this visa. A useful booklet on the procedures that can be downloaded from the Australian immigration website.

The Work and Holiday Visa is another non-permanent type of entry visa younger foreigners can consider applying for. This visa permits the bearer to reside in Australia for up to 12 months, and to undertake temporary employment. This visa is restricted for foreigners aged between 18-30 years, and there are different conditions depending on your nationality.

Foreigners interested to set up a business in Australia can also apply for a Business Development Visa. There is also a separate visa for doctors and nurses.

A word about the customs policy in Australia. Australia's customs are very strict when it comes to the import of any food items, so expatriates relocating to Australia are strongly recommended not to pack any type of food item, including milk related products. This rule applies to both cargo sent in by relocation companies, as well as any luggage that is hand-carried by expatriates while going through customs at the entry point into Australia.

There is no national identification card system in Sydney. In many instances, the Australian Driver's License (or Photo Card) issued by the NSW government is the de facto photo identification card for Australians and foreigners alike. Refer to this guide's section on Driving for more details about obtaining an Australian Driver's License. For NSW residents who do not have a driver's license, NSW residents can apply for a photocard. More details are available at < a href=""> As of 2008, birth cards are no longer issued in NSW.

In Sydney, the City of Sydney main council office is located in the Town Hall House at 456 Kent Street (Tel: +61 02 9265 9333 – available 24/7; email For walk-in assistance, the office is located on the second floor of the Town Hall House, and is open Mondays through Fridays, 8am to 6pm. The City of Sydney council office oversees day-to-day matters such as disposal of waste, issuance of parking permits and so on. For the location and contact details of other council offices (e.g. North Sydney), click here.

To register births, deaths and marriages that occurred in NSW, the NSW Registry of Births, Death and Marriages Sydney Office is located at 35 Regent Street, Chippendale. The office is open Mondays through Fridays, 8am to 430pm. Call Center Tel: 1300 655 236 (Mondays through Fridays, 9am to 5pm). For directions on how to get there, click here. For births, deaths and marriages that occur in another Australian state, you will need to register in that particular state.

Parents are responsible for registering the birth of their child within 60 days of the child's birth. The hospitals issue a Birth Registration Statement. All new births will be issued with a birth certificate, and parents must produce some documents as proof of identification when applying for a birth certificate. Click here for more details. For matters relating to citizenship of your newborn child, please contact your home country's embassy or consular office. Many embassies are located in Canberra instead of Sydney, but some countries have consular offices located in Sydney. Click here for a list of diplomatic missions in Australia and their contact details.

All deaths that occurred in the state of NSW must be registered within 7 days. Usually, a funeral director will assist in the registration of a death that has occurred in NSW, but you can contact the NSW Registry in Sydney if you are registering a death personally. A Medical Certificate Cause of Death issued by a doctor must be supplied.

Foreigners who wish to register their marriage in NSW can do so by applying for a marriage license from the NSW Registry in Sydney. To obtain a marriage certificate issued by the NSW Sydney Office, the marriage must be registered in NSW.

For matters relating to divorce, contact The Family Law Court (address: Lionel Bowen Building, 97-99 Goulburn Street; Tel: 1300 352 000; website: The NSW Registry does not handle divorce matters.

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