Bankruptcy refers to the situation where an individual is unable to meet their financial obligations and repay accrued debt. It occurs when an individual does not have enough money/assets to pay creditors or a debt that is owed. However, it is not to be confused with the American term in which ‘bankruptcy’ is used for companies and not individuals.


There may be a number of reasons why a bankrupt would want to leave the country, such as work prospects, to return home or visit family etc. A trustee will normally provide the bankrupt’s passport to the bankrupt to allow travel to occur. In certain circumstances, this may even allow the bankrupt to leave Australia permanently.

Any person who is an undischarged bankrupt must obtain written permission from their trustee to leave Australia. As soon as a bankrupt becomes aware that they may need to leave Australia, the bankrupt should write to his or her trustee well in advance of the proposed departure with the following details:

•  reasons for departing Australia
•  dates of departure and return
•  details of the itinerary and any overseas contact details
•  particulars about who will fund travel costs
•  any documentary evidence supporting the request eg confirmation by an employer of the need to
•  travel, confirmation of payment of costs by a third party

Under Section 77 of the Bankruptcy Act, a bankrupt must surrender their passports to their trustee. It is an offence to leave Australia without the written permission of the trustee and bankruptcy can be extended if this occurs.

Here at The Quinn Group, the dedicated team of lawyers and accountants at can assist you with advice and assistance for all your bankruptcy needs. Contact us now by submitting an online enquiry form or call 1300 QUINNS or on +61 2 9223 9166 to make an appointment.