Australia Eliminates Outgoing Passenger Cards As Of July 1, 2017

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.

Comments

  1. Good news. Even better when they fully eliminate cards on arrival. A few weeks ago, the immigration process was a bit confusing on arrival. We were told those using the electronic kiosks didn’t need landing cards but then turned back to fill one out when we didn’t have landing cards completed.

  2. I would also point out it’s one of the few countries (in my experience) that makes its own citizens fill in arrival cards!

  3. @Guy Donald, filling out the arrival card has never bothered me. It’s easy enough to complete before landing. Why we have to fill out the arrival card is due to biosecurity. We have the best measures in the world and have so far avoided all sorts of pestilence that plague other countries which arent blessed with ocean borders.

    However, new technologies are being introduced that will mean those sneaking in live animals, wood products etc that could pose a bio security threat will get caught up easier. The arrivals card declaration subsequently won’t be needed in a year or two. I’m rather hoping catching more people with better surveillance will mean more episodes of Border Security. It’s always great watching people on television lie to the Federal Police about what’s in their bag (the best one ever being the lady who said ‘It’s not food, see, I eat…’ – cue her eating what is apparently not food, an entire suitcase of fruit!).

    The card that always annoyed me though was the exit card. I’m glad it is being scrapped since it was always a hassle finding somewhere to fill it out before security. Fortunately, I discovered a couple of years ago that travel agents stock them and so I could start filling them out before going to the airport. It still felt more inconvenient than the arrivals one though, perhaps because I don’t see a major benefit to having it.

  4. “We were told those using the electronic kiosks didn’t need landing cards but then turned back to fill one out when we didn’t have landing cards completed.”

    Yeah same happened to me last year, making incoming passengers wonder why it was so poorly organized.

    “Why we have to fill out the arrival card is due to biosecurity. We have the best measures in the world and have so far avoided all sorts of pestilence that plague other countries which arent blessed with ocean borders.”

    Hello, rabbits

  5. A few years ago, departing Melbourne on an A380, I counted 7 checkpoints of various sorts between the terminal entrance and the plane. It took me 2-1/2 hours to get through the process. I won’t be sad to see the end of the How-could-you-ever-leave-the-wonderful-country-of-Australia checkpoint.

  6. I find it annoying that when I travel to the US I have to complete (and pay for) and ETSA entry into the country and then have to fill in the entry form (after 15 hours on a plane) that asks for exactly the same information. What’s the point of technology if it’s not going to be utilised?

  7. Good to see. The changeover should be pretty smooth. MEL has had the automated departure immigration gates for a little while now and people were meant to put the card in a box placed just after the gates rather than hand it to an officer under the old skool system. Apart from people not realising and failing to put the cards in the box, there’s also hints of cynicism about what actually happens to the cards (is there a paper shredder hidden in the base that the box sits on?). So really come July 1st, all that should happen is that the forms and box disappear. A small but nice change.

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