Country – Australia

4. Australia

Australian Embassy Manila:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Living and Working Overseas:


Whether you are travelling overseas to visit family, as a tourist, for business or to live, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade encourages you to register your plans with us before you leave Australia. The registration information you provide will help us to contact or find you in an emergency – whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or family emergency. It may also be used to pass other information to you such as important travel advice updates, notice of elections and information on other matters relevant to travellers and expatriates.


Your passport is your most important travel document. All Australian citizens must have a valid passport before leaving Australia and maintain a valid passport while overseas.Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. Carry extra passport photos just in case your passport is lost or stolen and you need to replace it while you’re away.

Important documents

If you intend to stay overseas for an extended period, it’s recommended that you take your personal records with you, including certificates relating to:

  • birth, name change and marriage
  • citizenship
  • divorce and custody arrangements
  • police checks
  • educational qualifications.

Keep originals with you and be sure to leave copies with a friend or family member in Australia in case you misplace them overseas. You should also ensure that you have the necessary work visas or permits before you depart Australia. Immigration authorities may refuse entry if they assess that documents you carry indicate you may violate local visa conditions. If in doubt, check with the foreign mission of the country you’re planning to work in prior to your departure.

Some countries may require your original documents to be translated and/or authenticated. Information on legalisation services is available on our legalising documents page. Confirm any requirements for your documents before you leave Australia. Some legalisation services can only be performed in Australia.

Inform others

Before departing Australia, consider advising people and organisations you deal with of your forwarding address. If you’re unsure of where you’ll be living overseas, it’s often useful to have your mail forwarded to a friend or family member.

You can also use the services of a commercial organisation to forward mail to you overseas. Check the Yellow Pages directory under ‘Postal Services’ for company details. Please note that Australian missions cannot receive or store personal mail on your behalf.

Keep in touch

When overseas, regularly contact your family and friends. It’s important to let them know of any changes to your plans and that you’re well. You may be having a great time, but forgetting to contact family and friends can cause them needless stress and anxiety. Each year, DFAT receives thousands of calls from worried families who haven’t heard from loved ones overseas and are concerned for their safety.

Providing regular and detailed information to your family and friends will assist them to provide accurate information to DFAT if there is a serious concern for your welfare while overseas and need our help.

Welfare benefits

If you live overseas permanently, you won’t be able to continue to receive your Australian social security payment, except for certain pensions or certain payments from Centrelink in countries with which Australia has an agreement. For more information visit the Centreink website.



If you’re taking medicines overseas, we recommend that you:

  • discuss with your doctor the medication you’ll need to take
  • carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medication is, how much you’ll be taking with you, and stating that it’s for your own personal use
  • leave the medication in its original packaging so it’s clearly labelled with your name and dosage instructions.

If you’re travelling with medication, make sure it’s legal in the countries you’re visiting by contacting the relevant foreign mission in Australia.

If you have to inject your medication, it may be preferable to carry your own needles and syringes, if it’s allowed in the countries you’re visiting. If you buy needles and syringes overseas, make sure they are sealed and sterile.

If you need to purchase medication at your destination, be careful not to buy imitation or counterfeit medications and prescription drugs, and always check the strength of a medication with a doctor. Be aware that packaging and labelling may be similar to those available in Australia, but the strength and active ingredients can vary from country to country.

It’s an offence to carry or send Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicine overseas unless it’s for your own personal use, or for the use of someone travelling with you. You could be fined $5,000 and spend two years in prison if you break the law. Additional information is available from the Department of Health and Ageing or by calling the PBS information line on 1800 020 613.

More information on travelling with medication is available on the Medicare website or by calling the Overseas Drug Diversion information line on 1800 500 147.

Prescription glasses

If you wear glasses, take along a spare pair and/or a copy of the prescription so that they can be replaced more easily if lost or broken.

Travelling Overseas with PBS Medicine:

It is illegal to take or send Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines out of Australia that are not for your personal use or the use of someone travelling with you.

The Australian Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) provides all Australians and eligible visitors affordable access to more than 2600 prescription medicines.

It is illegal to take or send PBS subsidised medicine out of Australia unless it is for your personal use or the personal use of someone travelling with you.

PBS subsidised medicines are sometimes taken or sent from Australia for re-sale or for relatives and friends overseas who may not be able to get the medicine in their country. This is illegal and can be dangerous to the health of the person who gets the medicine.

Centrelink payments

If you get a Centrelink payment and you plan to leave Australia, make sure you find out how your departure may affect your payment.

For more information about how your payment could be affected while you are outside Australia, go to Payments paid while outside Australia. This will help you plan your trip and give you information about what you may need to tell us.

Age Pension and planning your retirement:

Payments for Older Australians:

Eligibility for Age Pension:

International Services:

Helps customers claim foreign pensions and receive their Australian Social Security payments while outside Australia

International Services:

  • can tell you whether an international social security agreement between Australia and another country may be able to help
  • you get an Australian pension, and
  • assists with non-Australian pension claims lodged in Australia. If we can’t help you claim your pension from another country, we can tell you who can help you.



Taxation overseas

The amount of tax that Australians must pay if they are earning money overseas will depend on personal circumstances. For further information, visit the Australian Taxation Office website, or call 13 28 61.

If you earn an income overseas, you may be required to pay tax on that income in the country where it’s earned. Australia has reciprocal agreements in place with only a few countries to prevent double taxation. You should check the rules and regulations with the other country’s foreign mission before you leave Australia.

Money and valuables

Settling-in expenses

Before you leave Australia, make sure you have sufficient funds to get settled in your new country. If you’re going overseas to work, your employer may provide you with a settling-in allowance, but this may not be paid to you for a few weeks.

Remember that living expenses vary in different parts of the world. There are many expenses to take into account when setting up a new home, such as connecting utilities. Find out what your obligations are up front so there are no surprises. If you run out of money and need to borrow from family or friends, it may take some time for the funds to reach you.

Shipping your personal and household belongings overseas can be very expensive. Assess what you need and find out what you can buy when you get there. If you know where you’ll be working, you should check with your employer to see if they will cover the relocation of your goods and if they will provide you with essential items on your arrival.

Check with the foreign mission of the country you’re going to about import and customs regulations, as you may not be allowed to bring certain items into the country.

Banking overseas

If you’re staying in a country for an extended period of time, you may want to set up a bank account in that country. Your bank in Australia may also be able to help with recommending banks overseas.

Before departing Australia it’s also advisable to check with your bank about the ease and cost of transferring money internationally between accounts in Australia and the country in which you’ll live. It’s important to find out if your host country has any rules which could limit the amount of funds you can transfer between your Australian bank accounts and your host country. Currency laws can be quite restrictive, so do your research. Speak to an accountant or the Australian Taxation Office for more information.

Additional hints on banking

  • Organise a variety of ways of accessing your money overseas, such as debit and credit cards, traveller’s cheques and cash.
  • Check with your bank whether your ATM card will work overseas.
  • Register with your bank the period you expect to be away.
  • Never let your credit card out of your sight.
  • Make two photocopies of your credit and ATM cards and other valuable documents such as your travel insurance policy, passport and visa. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave the other copy with someone at home.

Some helpful comments from ANZ Bank:

At ANZ we understand the needs of expat Australians and New Zealanders living abroad. That is why we have designed the ANZ Expat Mortgage that provides a solution for the property and investment needs of the Australian and New Zealand expat community. We can present you with clear information on the opportunities and risks that may be associated with offshore mortgages. We can assist you to structure a facility that may suit your needs whilst you reside in Asia.

With an ANZ Expat mortgage, you can:

  • Finance in the currency of your overseas income or the location of your property with the flexibility to switch between currencies
  • Enjoy service from a business that has an in-depth connection with the Australian and New Zealand property markets

ANZ Expat Mortages are offered through ANZ’s Singapore Branch, and are subject to ANZ’s credit policy. Terms and conditions available upon application. Fees and charges apply.

To find out more visit our branch or call (02) 818-8117.

Common questions about ANZ Expat mortgages

Q Is there a minimum loan amount?
A The minimum loan amount is $200,000 in NZD or AUD. You can borrow up to 80% of the purchase price or valuation of the security property, whichever is lower.

Q What are the interest rates?
A The interest rates are competitive and are based on costs of fund and can vary from time to time.

Once you’re settled in – making the most of the opportunities

ANZ can offer a unique network solution to your offshore banking needs whilst you’re in Asia. Whether it’s through our offshore banking centres in Singapore and Hong Kong or back in Australia and New Zealand, we can draw together a truly international solution for all your financial needs.

The ANZ team in the Philippines can connect you with our teams in offshore sites and assist in establishing arrangements to simplify what can be a complex task of managing your financial position across a number of countries.

Accumulating and investing cash

ANZ Savings Accounts and Term Deposits are available in PHP, USD, AUD, EUR and NZD and can help you maximize returns on your funds.



When you go overseas there are requirements you must meet in order to remain on the electoral roll, and in some cases to avoid a fine.

Familiarise yourself with your electoral responsibilities by visiting the Australian Electoral Commission website.

I am living or working overseas

If you are already enrolled, you can register as an overseas elector if you are intending to return to Australia within six years.

You can apply up to three months before, or within three years after, you leave Australia. To do this, complete and submit a:

Registration as an overseas elector form

This form provides you with an option to become a general postal voter so you will automatically receive a postal vote in the mail approximately 2–3 weeks after the announcement of the federal election.

If you are not enrolled, and have been overseas for less than three years, you may still be eligible to enrol if you are:

  • an Australian citizen aged 18 years or older,
  • intending to return to Australia within six years.

You cannot enrol for an overseas address; instead you must enrol in the electorate you were entitled to before you left Australia.

To apply for enrolment, complete and submit an:

Enrol to vote for federal elections from outside Australia form

For information about voting see how to vote while overseas.

I will be unable to vote while I’m overseas, what do I do?

It is not compulsory to enrol and vote while overseas.

If you are unable to vote you can complete and submit an;

Overseas notification form

This form provides you with the option to be removed from the electoral roll while you are overseas.

If you choose to be removed from the electoral roll, you will need to enrol again to be able to vote in any future federal elections.

Overseas forms

Registration as an overseas elector

Enrol to vote for federal elections from outside Australia

Enrol to vote as the spouse, de facto partner or child of an overseas elector

Overseas notification form

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