Leaving Australia and Moving On

Find out how to close bank accounts, end contracts for utilities and insurance, export cars, move pets and notify schools and residency officials when leaving Australia…

When leaving Australia and moving on, there are a number of tasks to be completed before departure.

Social Security

Centrelink, the Australian government agency which manages social security payments, should be notified when leaving the country permanently. This should be done as early as possible.

Most social security benefits cease upon leaving the country unless the destination country has a social security agreement with Australia.

  • For more information on social security arrangements between Australia and other countries: Click here

Some payments can continue if Australia is only being left temporarily. Eligibility depends on how long an individual has lived in the country, the type of payment and the country being visited.

Once an individual is no longer resident in Australia they cease to be eligible for public health care. Medicare can be informed in one of the following ways:

  • Telephone Medicare, Tel: 132 011
  • Visit a local Medicare office: Click here
  • Send written notification to the capital city in the state currently lived in, including the relevant Medicare card number, to: Medicare Australia, GPO Box 9822

Financial Issues

Tax

When leaving Australia it is important to ensure that all tax affairs have been dealt with. If leaving before the end of the financial year, it may be possible to submit an income tax return early.

  • For information on dealing with tax when leaving the country from the Australia Taxation Office: Click here

Bank Accounts

Australian bank accounts can be closed by visiting the local branch of the bank holding the account. Most banks need proof of identification; contact them in advance to find out exactly which documents are required. Alternatively most banks can be notified in writing. Details of how the remaining balance should be paid must be included. The letter should be sent to the bank branch where the account was opened.

Prior to closing an account, any automatic payments for bills, rent or loan repayments should be cancelled. A "dishonour fee" is usually charged if this is not done. A forwarding address should be given to the bank for any outstanding correspondence.

If an Australian bank account is kept open when leaving the country, it is important to note the following points:

  • Any monthly fees on the account will continue to be charged
  • If an account is not used it is classed as dormant and closed. The length of time before an account is classed as dormant varies with different banks though 6 to 12 months is normal. A dormancy fee is charged and the remaining balance transferred to a "lost monies account". The bank must be contacted directly to find out how to retrieve this money

The Australian government provides advice on retrieving money from dormant or lost monies accounts.

Housing Issues

Terminating a rental contract

In most cases written notice should be given to a landlord or agent to inform them of intent to leave a rental property. Written notice should be given within the agreed notice period, which can vary depending on the situation. A time should be agreed with the landlords or agent to carry out a final inspection of the property. The rental bond (deposit), paid at the start of a rental period, should be returned if there has been no damage to the property and there is no money owing on the tenancy.

Utilities

When leaving a property the current gas, electricity and water providers should be contacted in advance to terminate the account. Many companies request access to the property on moving day to read meters so that they can provide an accurate final bill.

For information on contacting utility providers in Australia, see Angloinfo INFOrmation page Services, Electricity, Gas and Water in Australia

When leaving the country, arrange with the telephone provider to have the service disconnected. It is advisable to have this done on the day after moving, as many companies disconnect the line first thing in the morning. It is common for many people in Australia to receive Internet and television services from the same provider as their landline telephone; in this case, contacting the company stops all services.

Insurance

All Australian insurance policies, including home and car insurance, should be cancelled by contacting the provider. In most cases written notice is required. Car insurance companies may be able to provide proof of any accumulated no claims bonus, which can be used if insuring a vehicle in the new country.

Post and Redirecting Mail

Australia Post, which operates postal services in Australia, provides a number of services for people moving home:

  • Mail redirection to a new address overseas: The cost of the service depends on where in the world the mail is to be forwarded to. An application form, which can be downloaded from their website or collected from one of their outlets, needs to be completed. The form should be submitted at an Australia Post outlet so that the applicant's identification can be confirmed. For more information on mail forwarding: Click here

Schools

When moving away from Australia, inform the child's school in advance so that they can prepare a Transfer Certificate which contains the student's information. To aid with settling into a school in a different country, it is advisable to collect samples of the child's work in different subject areas and ask their teachers for any additional information. Notes should be made on any special programmes in which a child is enrolled, particularly if these are to be continued. All equipment belonging to the school should be returned. Leave a forwarding address for any outstanding correspondence.

A child's school in their new country should be contacted as soon as possible to inform them of their arrival and to obtain enrolment information.

Exporting a Car

Cars can be exported from Australia. Check the customs requirements in the destination country well in advance of moving so that all documents and paperwork can be prepared. Consulates or the Embassy in the new country can provide information on registration and licence obligations. Not all countries accept cars which comply with Australian Design Rules.

Exporting Pets

Pet owners should ensure that the animal leaving Australia complies with the regulations of the country it is travelling to. Most countries require documentation to be completed and plenty of time should be allowed for this, as the animal may need veterinary treatment to meet the requirements.

The first step in exporting a pet animal from Australia is to search the animal export conditions database (ANIMEX) on the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service website. The database has information on the export requirements to take a pet out of Australia including disease status, testing and treatments, health certification and the need for permits. It also includes import conditions for many countries around the world, as the animal needs to meet customs and import requirements in the new country.

Some countries require a pet to be quarantined for a period upon arrival in the country.

International airlines often have restricted flight times and routes for pet transport. These and other requirements for transporting a pet by air should be checked well in advance of moving. Some airlines insist that a professional pet exporter is used to arrange flights to ensure that everything is completed on time prior to departure. A professional pet exporter can assist with completing the required paperwork, arranging flights, and supplying travel crates. There are a number of international companies who specialise in moving pets around the world.

The International Air Transport Association provides guidelines on how to transport an animal by air. The container must allow the animal to stand and turn normally as well as sit and lie in a natural position.

  • For advice from the International Air Transport Association on transporting an animal and preparing for the journey: Click here

Travelling can be very traumatic for an animal, so it advisable to allow them to get used to their travelling crate in the months leading up to the flight. Different airlines have different regulations, so the rules for a chosen carrier should be checked when planning the journey.