Can I Travel Overseas if I Have Filed for Bankruptcy? – Debt Negotiators

Man looking at a map preparing an overseas trip

Many people considering or facing bankruptcy have one question: can I travel overseas if I have filed for bankruptcy?

This is a valid concern, so we wrote this guide to answer your questions and help you understand your options for international travel during this time.

Can you travel overseas if you claim bankruptcy?

The short answer is yes. You can still leave Australia and travel internationally even if you’ve filed for bankruptcy. But you need to follow important guidelines or face consequences.

The following section will explain what you must do to ensure a smooth travel experience during your bankruptcy process.

Guidelines for bankruptcy travelling overseas

Before you book your overseas trip, you must first obtain your bankruptcy trustee’s permission for any international travel during bankruptcy. Your trustee can either be the Official Trustee or a registered trustee. 

To avoid any last-minute delays, ensure you apply to your trustee for permission at least two weeks before your planned departure date. 

Additionally, be aware of the $150 non-refundable application fee, with potential exemptions available if you’re facing financial hardship or have received disaster relief payments in the last 12 months from your date of application.

Your bankruptcy trustee can approve your request or withhold consent to travel overseas. Their decision will be based on various factors (see below).

Even if your travel request is approved, your trustee might impose specific restrictions on your trip, such as having a limited travel duration.

Applying for permission to travel overseas while bankrupt

Now that you know the guidelines for bankruptcy travelling overseas, the next step is to apply for permission. While you can submit your request verbally, it’s generally recommended to do so in writing for clarity and documentation purposes.

The Official Trustee offers an application form specifically for this to streamline the process. This form guides you through the information your trustee needs to make an informed decision.

In your application, you must provide your:

  • reason for travel, whether it’s for business, personal reasons, or a medical necessity
  • travel dates and itinerary, providing detailed information about your planned destinations, overseas address and activities
  • trip funding, which can be personal savings, contributions from others, or any other relevant sources
  • contact details while you’re overseas for any unforeseen circumstances

Once the bankruptcy trustee has received your application, they will carefully consider several factors before granting or denying your request. These factors include:

  • Reason for travel. The trustee will assess its significance and potential impact on your financial obligations.
  • Trip duration. The trustee will review the length of your trip, from leave to return date, to ensure it doesn’t interfere with your bankruptcy commitments.
  • Trip cost. The trustee will weigh the trip’s overall cost against your financial situation and potential impact on creditors.
  • Funding source. Knowing how you’ll fund the trip helps the trustee ensure it doesn’t negatively affect your ability to fulfil your bankruptcy obligations.
  • Compliance with bankruptcy obligations. Your consistent and responsible adherence to your bankruptcy agreement is crucial in influencing the trustee’s decision.

Reasons your application for overseas travel may be denied

Incomplete or inaccurate application

Submitting an application missing necessary information or containing errors can raise red flags for your trustee. Ensure you provide all the required details accurately and comprehensively.

Financial concerns

Your travel plans should not negatively impact your ability to fulfil bankruptcy obligations. If the trip cost appears excessive or you lack a clear strategy to finance it, your trustee might express concern about potential financial strain.

Unnecessary reasons for travel

Travel for non-essential purposes, such as purely recreational vacations, might face higher scrutiny than trips with significant justifications, such as compassionate reasons, essential business meetings, or medical appointments.

Unusual destinations

Certain destinations might raise security concerns for your trustee, particularly locations with higher risk factors or limited access to communication channels. If your chosen destination falls into this category, be prepared to provide additional information and clarify the purpose of your visit.

Countries known as tax havens may also raise red flags, as your bankruptcy trustee might suspect attempts to hide assets.

Compliance issues

Any past or ongoing disregard for your bankruptcy agreement, such as missing contributions payments or failing to disclose income, can significantly decrease your chances of obtaining travel permission. 

Demonstrate responsible adherence to your bankruptcy obligations, such as attending meetings and fulfilling reporting requirements, to build trust with your trustee and increase your chances of travel approval.

Debt Solutions with Debt Negotiators

While applying for overseas travel when bankrupt may seem complex, it may still be within reach with careful planning, transparency, and responsible communication with your trustee.

Remember, this guide serves as a general overview. We highly recommend seeking professional bankruptcy solutions advice from a financial counsellor or legal professional familiar with bankruptcy regulations.

For debt management, our debt solutions can help. Contact us today.


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