Bankruptcy is a legal financial status that can have positive and negative effects. It is strongly recommended that a debtor who is considering bankruptcy seek advice from an independent and qualified source. Bankruptcy can affect a person’s ability to get credit and employment opportunities.


Paul Latimer

Adjunct Professor, Swinburne Law School

Leaving Australia

Last updated

1 June 2021

Surrendering passports

Bankrupts must hand their passport to the trustee unless excused by the trustee (s 77(1)(a)(ii) Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cth) (‘Bankruptcy Act’)).

In general, the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), if it is the trustee in the bankruptcy, will not require bankrupts to hand in their passports.

Applications for permission to travel overseas

Bankrupts must apply in writing to the trustee for permission to travel overseas and pay a fee to make this application.

If AFSA is the trustee, it generally considers the following criteria when deciding whether or not to give permission to travel:

  • Is the travel necessary to earn income?
  • Does the travel relate to the death or serious illness of a close relative?
  • Has the bankrupt made arrangements for making compulsory contributions in advance?
  • Can the bankrupt show that someone else is paying for the travel?
  • Is there a return ticket?

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