Travel outside Australia

There are rules about when you can get ABSTUDY when you travel outside Australia.

What the rules are

If you leave Australia to live in another country, your payment will stop on departure.

If you leave Australia on a temporary basis, you need to be travelling for an approved reason. Otherwise, your payment will stop on departure.

If you’re a secondary school student studying an approved course outside Australia, we may pay you for one of these periods:

  • up to 12 months
  • the duration of the study if you’re doing an approved international educational exchange program
  • the duration of your parent’s posting if the Commonwealth of Australia employs your parent and they’re posted overseas.

If you’re doing approved study or work outside Australia, we can pay you for the duration of the activity. But you must be one of the following:

  • a secondary non-school student
  • a tertiary student
  • a master’s student
  • a doctorate student
  • an Australian Apprentice.

Other approved reasons for payment overseas

We may pay ABSTUDY outside Australia for up to 6 weeks. But you must be travelling outside Australia for one of these approved reasons:

  • to attend an acute family crisis, for example, to visit a family member who is critically ill
  • to get eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia.

If you’re attending an Australian Defence Force Reserves training camp, you’ll get your payment for the duration of the training.

When to tell us about your travel

You should always tell us if you’re leaving Australia.

The easiest way to tell us about your travel plans is to use your Centrelink online account through myGov. You can get information on how your travel could affect your payments and concession cards. You may need to call us to discuss your circumstances further.

How to give us documents

If you’re a student studying outside Australia, you need to give us a written statement from your Australian educational institution. It must be on their official letterhead and confirm all of the following:

  • that you’ll remain enrolled with your Australian educational institution
  • your study load while overseas
  • the duration of your overseas study
  • your overseas study will count towards your Australian course.

If you’re an Australian Apprentice working or training outside Australia, you need to give us a written statement. This can be from either your:

  • employer
  • State Training Provider.

The statement must be on their official letterhead and confirm that the work or activity counts towards your Australian Apprenticeship.

You must give us your supporting documents before you leave Australia so your payment doesn’t stop.

If we have stopped your payment, we’ll reassess your payment once we get your supporting documents. If you’re travelling for an approved reason, we’ll restore your payments and pay you any missing payments.

Read more about payments while outside Australia.

Page last updated: 17 January 2020