Before you go

What to do before you travel or move overseas. How your plans may affect your payments, concession cards, health care and child support.

Travelling or moving overseas can affect your payments and concession cards from us. Some will stop while you’re travelling or when you move.

Be COVID-19 ready

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed the way we travel. You need proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations for the country you’re visiting. Read more about how to get the vaccine.

If you’ve already been vaccinated, learn how to get proof of your vaccination, so you’re ready for travel.

There are different requirements for people who can’t be vaccinated. If you can’t have a COVID-19 vaccine for medical reasons you may need different proof of your vaccination status.

Unvaccinated citizens and permanent residents may need to apply for a travel restriction exemption using the Department of Home Affairs’ Travel exemption portal.

To return home, you’ll need proof of your vaccination. Make sure you have an Australian International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate before you go. If you haven’t been able to return to Australia since the pandemic began, you may need to show different proof of vaccination when returning home.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smartraveller website has information about COVID-19 and travel. Smartraveller also lists COVID-19 restrictions and warnings as part of its advice based on your destination.

You should also check COVID-19 travel rules for the country you’re going to and the airline you’re flying with. They may require you to have a negative COVID-19 test result before travelling or upon arrival.

Follow the step-by-step guide to travelling during COVID-19 on the Smartraveller website to make sure it’s safe to go.

What happens when you come home depends on which state or territory you’re returning to.

Tell us before you travel

You may need to let us know before you leave Australia and how long you’re going for. This will ensure we pay you correctly.

If you get a Centrelink payment or concession card

You must continue to meet the eligibility rules to keep your payments or concessions card while you’re outside Australia. If you don’t let us know you’re leaving Australia, we may overpay you and you’ll have to pay us back.

You can update your details and tell us about your travel plans either by:

Follow our online guide to advise us of travel using your Centrelink online account through myGov.

If you’re enrolled in Medicare

Medicare doesn’t cover you while you’re overseas. Make sure you have a plan for health care before you travel. Countries that have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with us may cover some of the cost. Check if you’re covered. This doesn’t replace travel insurance.

You may need to enrol in Medicare when you return home. This will depend on how long you travel for. Different rules may apply if you’re a permanent resident or an Australian citizen.

If you have a Child Support Case

If you’re leaving Australia, please call us on the Child Support enquiry line before you leave. Your departure may affect how we manage your case.

If you have a child support debt we may issue a Departure Prohibition Order. It’ll stop you from leaving Australia until you either:

  • pay your debt in full
  • enter into an acceptable payment arrangement.

We don’t need a court order to stop you from leaving Australia.

If your circumstances change while overseas, call one of our Child Support international lines.

Check your myGov Account settings

Check your myGov Account settings to make sure you can access myGov while you’re travelling overseas. You’ll either need access to SMS on your phone, or you’ll need to change your myGov sign in options.

Read about travelling overseas and accessing myGov on the myGov website.

If you can’t access myGov, you can’t update your details online while you’re away.

If you don’t have a myGov account, you’ll need to create one and link to a member service such as Centrelink, Medicare or Child Support. You only need to do this once.

Read our online guides for help to:

Learn about visas and security

The Smartraveller website has information about Australians travelling overseas, including information about:

  • visas for other countries
  • security alerts and safety
  • passport services
  • consular services for help while you’re away
  • travel insurance.

Get to know the website and read about the country of your destination.

Check our social security agreements with other countries

Australia has international social security agreements with some countries. If you're moving to an agreement country, you may be able to claim payments from us and that country.

Page last updated: 25 February 2022