Payments while outside Australia

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

Whether you’re in Australia or overseas you must tell us about any change to your circumstances. A change may affect your payment or concession card.

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 the specific rules for affected payments and concession cards and when you should tell us about your travel plans.

How to tell us about your travel

Tell us about your travel plans by either:

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

Before travelling overseas

Before you leave, make sure you can sign in to your myGov account so you can use it while overseas. If you sign in to myGov using a code sent by text, you’ll need to either:

  • be able to get a code to your registered mobile number, while outside Australia
  • change your myGov sign in option before you leave Australia.

Make sure you link your Centrelink online account to myGov before you leave Australia. Then you can access your letters and other services online while you're away.

Don’t forget to report your or your partner’s income before you leave. Especially if the date you need to report falls on or after you leave Australia. If you don’t, we may delay your payment.

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

If we’re paying you 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.

When you're overseas

If we can’t contact you while you’re outside Australia, we may 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 into your Australian or 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. This depends on the country you’re in.

The payment conversion is organised by the Reserve Bank of Australia using the exchange rate when the payment's 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 can't return to Australia due to unexpected issues. These issues may include a serious illness or natural disaster.

We may also be able to extend your payment if you’re both:

  • in a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement
  • getting Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment single, if widowed or Carer Payment, if caring for a pensioner partner.

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

When you return to Australia

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

You need to contact us if any of the following applies to you:

  • 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
  • you've been away from Australia for more than 5 years and must supply proof of residency to re-enrol for Medicare
  • you're paid under an international social security agreement
  • we’ve asked you to provide evidence for your reason for travel.

What the affected payments are

Payment affected by travelling or living outside Australia, include:

Page last updated: 15 January 2021