Can I travel overseas during bankruptcy?

During bankruptcy you must request permission from your trustee to leave Australia.

You do not need to seek approval for travel within Australia or to Australian islands and territories (e.g. Norfolk or Christmas island).

How do I apply for permission to travel overseas?

You need to apply to your trustee.

  • Submitting an application doesn't guarantee approval.
  • Your trustee can place restrictions on your travel approval.
  • Your trustee may hold your passport during your bankruptcy.

For more information see: I want to apply to travel overseas

What if I don't have a passport?

Bankruptcy does not prevent you from applying for a passport. For information about passport applications and eligibility contact the Australian Passport Office.

What if I need to travel for work purposes?

If you need to travel overseas for work, you still need to request permission.

If your trustee is the Official Trustee[?] (AFSA):

  • An application fee is payable.
  • If you will be travelling on a regular basis, we may be able to provide ongoing approval so you needn't apply each time. We would ask you to provide evidence from your employer under these circumstances.

What if I need to travel urgently or for compassionate reasons?

You still need to request permission.

If your trustee is the Official Trustee (AFSA):

  • An application fee is payable.
  • If you need to leave Australia in a few days, we recommend you submit your application online and then call us to discuss your application.

What happens if I travel overseas without permission?

You are committing an offence under the Bankruptcy Act[?] if you:

  • travel overseas without permission
  • travel beyond the destinations and dates your trustee has approved
  • don't comply with any conditions that your trustee imposes.

You could face the following penalties:

  • An extension of your bankruptcy for 5 years from your return date. The penalty can be up to 8 years in some circumstances.
  • A term of imprisonment.