Macau

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Friday, 10 January 2014.   It has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Macau.

Macau overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Macau.
  • Typhoon season is between May and October. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly. Monitor local media and follow the instructions of local emergency officials. For more information see Natural disasters, severe weather and climate.
  • Exercise common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia.
  • Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Macau. The Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong provides consular assistance to Australians in Macau.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China with separate visa and entry administration to that of mainland China. Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. We strongly encourage you to seek information from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the People's Republic of China or the Macau Immigration Services (Servico de Migracao on (853) 2872 5488) for the most up-to-date information, well in advance of travel.

Cantonese and Portuguese speakers can visit the Macau Immigration Services website.

Australian tourists do not require visas for visits of less than 30 days.

If you travel to Macau SAR from mainland China you may require a new Chinese visa if you intend to re-enter mainland China. For further information about visa issues, you should contact your nearest Chinese embassy or consulate. We strongly recommend that you get an appropriate visa for China before leaving Australia. You should also read our travel advice for China.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Crime

There is little violent crime in Macau, howeverpetty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching occurs, particularly in crowded shopping areas, markets, the airport and near casinos. Drink spiking is possible so do not leave drinks unattended in casinos, bars or nightclubs.

Take normal precautions when using ATMs or direct debit machines. We recommend you use ATMs in controlled areas such as inside banks, shops, shopping centres or casinos. If approached while using an ATM, cancel the transaction before speaking to anyone.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards, and cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out what the most appropriate currency to carry is and whether your ATM card will work in Macau.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Macau, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs, including ‘soft‘ drugs, include heavy fines and imprisonment.

Laws prohibiting demonstrations without government approval are strictly enforced. If arrested you could be imprisoned or deported.

You should avoid taking photographs of military installations in Macau.

Macau has strict laws regarding the import and/or possession of weapons and items that may resemble weapons, including replicas, antiques, toys, or fashion accessories that resemble such items. The import and possession of such items is illegal unless permits have been obtained from local authorities beforehand.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Under Chinese law, dual nationality is not recognised. However, Macau's basic law allows dual nationals of Chinese descent to register their Australian nationality with the Macau Identification Bureau (Direccao dos Servicos de Identificacao), if they wish to be considered as a national of Australia and receive access to Australian consular services if required. If you are an Australian/Macau dual national, you are advised to seek further information on completing a Declaration of Change of Nationality, and the consequences of this, from the Macau Identification Bureau:

Macau Identification Bureau
Largo do Senado No. 18
Edificio Comercial China 2.0-5.0 Andares, Macau
Telephone (853) 2835 6615

If you plan to enter mainland China from Macau, you should do so on your Australian passport. If you travel on other documents, we may not be able to provide you with consular assistance as China does not recognise dual nationality.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information for dual nationals.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The standard of medical facilities in Macau is adequate, however in the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to Hong Kong may be considered necessary due to the availability of specialists and high standard of medical care. Private hospitals in Macau will insist on confirmation of insurance cover, guarantee of payment or an up-front deposit prior to admitting patients.

The levels of air pollution in Macau may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. People with existing heart or respiratory illnesses should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activities on days where high pollution levels are reported. The Macau Bureau of Meteorology provides up-to-date air quality reports on its website.

Outbreaks of the mosquito-borne illness dengue fever occur from time to time. We recommend you take measures to avoid mosquito bites, including using insect repellent, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof.

The mosquito-borne disease Japanese encephalitis is found throughout many regions of North, South and South-East Asia and Papua New Guinea. A Japanese encephalitis vaccine is registered for use and is currently available in Australia. For further details contact your travel health doctor.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, hepatitis and hand, foot and mouth disease) occur sporadically. We recommend that you avoid raw and undercooked food. Drink only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice cubes. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is common in Macau with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. In Asia, outbreaks of HFMD usually start in March/April and peak in May but can continue until August to October each year. It mostly affects children under the age of 10 years but adult cases (particularly young adults) are not unusual. The illness is characterised by fever as well as blisters and rashes on the hands, feet and buttocks. HFMD is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges and faeces of infected people. Normal hygiene precautions should be taken, including careful and frequent hand washing.

Where to get help

Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Macau. You can obtain consular assistance, including for lost and stolen passports, from the nearest Australian Consulate-General which is in Hong Kong at:

Australian Consulate-General, Hong Kong

23/F Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Telephone: (852) 2827 8881
Facsimile: (852) 2585 4457
Website: http://www.hongkong.china.embassy.gov.au

If you are travelling to Macau, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency-whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Consulate-General you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Typhoon season is between May and October. Macau has a well-developed severe weather alert and monitoring system. Further information is available from the Macau Observatory or the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. Monitor local media reports and follow the instructions of local emergency officials.

If you are travelling during typhoon season, you should contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.

You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly. Local safety procedures require businesses and transportation to close during a typhoon level 8 (T8) and above. Flights and ferry rides into and out of Macau may be delayed or suspended, including for weather related issues. Contact your travel operator or airline for the latest departure information. You should familiarise yourself with your hotel evacuation plans. Carry your travel documents at all times (i.e. passport, photo identification, etc.) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. We also suggest that you contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

In accordance with Hong Kong typhoon management strategies, the Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong closes when the T8 signal is given in Hong Kong. Consular assistance remains available through the 24 –hour Consular Emergency Centre on either Hong Kong telephone number +852 2827 8881 or Australian telephone number +61 2 62613305.

For further information, see our severe weather page.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.