I appreciate when countries make the immigration process easier, be it on arrival or departure. Over the years we’ve seen fewer countries have departure immigration formalities, which I’d consider to be a positive change. After all, if the country knows that you’re leaving on a flight and has the data associated with it, then the concept of an immigration checkpoint on departure is sort of unnecessary.
Australia is one of the countries that has required international travelers to fill out cards both on arrival and departure. On arrival you need the form for the immigration checkpoint, while on departure that process has changed a bit, since automated kiosks have been introduced. For example, I flew from Melbourne to Los Angeles just recently, and even though I filled out the form, I didn’t actually have to use it.
As it turns out, there’s a box where you’re supposed to drop off the form on departure, though I didn’t realize that, given the new automated kiosks they have. If everyone isn’t using this (because the process really isn’t clear) and if it’s not enforced, then there’s not much value in such a system.
The good news is that Australia is officially phasing out the outgoing passenger card as of July 1, 2017. After all, most of the data found on this form is also information that’s either provided on arrival or attached to the ticket, so it’s sort of redundant.
AusBT notes that the incoming passenger card will be revised in July 2017 with this change, and will likely be phased out at some point in 2018. It’s always great to see countries add more automated systems, which make the arrival and departure experience quicker and save paper, without compromising security.