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Payments while outside Australia

To get your payment or concession card while outside Australia, you must continue to meet the qualification rules for that payment or concession card.

While overseas it is important to advise us about any change to your circumstances that would normally affect your payment or concession card, the same as you would if you were in Australia.

How leaving Australia may affect your payment

There are rules covering how travelling outside Australia may affect your payment or concession card. These depend on the payment or concession card you get. When you leave Australia we may adjust or stop your payment or concession card based on these rules.

Read more about specific rules for affected payments and concession cards and find out when you should tell us about your travel plans.

How to tell us about your travel

Tell us about your travel plans using:

Australia’s immigration department will also advise us when you leave Australia.

Before travelling overseas

Register for an online account through myGov before you leave Australia. Then you can access your letters and other services online while you are away.

If the date you need to report your or your partner's earnings falls on or after you leave Australia, report on the business day before you leave. Otherwise we may delay your payment.

It's important to advise us about any change to your circumstances that would normally affect your payment or concession card.

If you are being paid as a single person because your partner is overseas, and you're leaving Australia to visit your partner, contact us before you leave. We need to review your payment before you leave. Otherwise we may pay you too much.

While overseas

If we can’t get in touch with you while you’re outside Australia, in certain circumstances we may need to stop your payment or concession card.

How we'll pay you

If your payments can continue while you’re outside Australia and you intend to be away for:

  • less than 12 months, we'll continue to pay your payment into your Australian bank account every 2 weeks
  • more than 12 months, we'll pay you every 4 weeks either:
    • into your Australian bank account, or
    • into an overseas bank account

We’ll discuss these options with you when you contact us.

Overseas account

If your payment goes into an overseas account, we’ll pay you in the local currency or US dollars, depending on the country you’re in.

The payment conversion is organised by the Reserve Bank of Australia using the exchange rate at the time the payment is issued. In most cases the money will reach your account 2 to 6 days after it’s issued.

You’ll have to pay any fees or bank charges to access your funds while you’re outside Australia.

Use our international bank account forms to notify us of your overseas account.

If you can't return to Australia as planned and your payment has stopped

If you've reached the end of the period we can pay you while you're overseas, we usually can't restore your payment until you return to Australia.

It may be possible to have your payment extended if:

  • you are reaching the end of the period and you can't return to Australia due to unexpected issues such as
    • serious illness,
    • or natural disaster, or
  • you are in a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement, and you are getting one of the payments listed below:
    • Disability Support Pension
    • Bereavement Allowance
    • Parenting Payment single, if widowed
    • Carer Payment, if caring for a pensioner partner

To find out if your payment can continue, contact International Services.

Returning to Australia

In most cases you don't need to tell us that you've returned to Australia.

You need to contact us if:

  • your payment or concession card stopped while you were away and didn’t restore automatically when you returned
  • you're returning to live in Australia after having lived outside Australia
    • if you've been away for more than 5 years you must supply proof of residency in Australia to re-enrol for Medicare
  • you're paid under an international social security agreement, or
  • we have asked you to provide evidence for your reason for travel

Affected payments

Payment affected by travelling or living outside Australia, include:

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Page last updated: 5 July 2017