A child in Australia cannot depart Australia without having the consent of both parents or those who have parental responsibility.
To prevent the unauthorised removal of a child from Australia, a parent can apply to the Court for an order to place the child’s name on the airport watchlist.
What is the Airport Watch list?
The airport watch list is a system wherein a parent can place a child’s name on the Australian Federal Police (“AFP”). A departing parent or party who attempts the unauthorised removal of a child from Australia is stopped at the airport and unable to leave.
When can a child be placed on the Airport Watchlist?
You may put a child on the airport watchlist in the following circumstances:
- A court has issued an Order limiting or preventing the child’s travel;
- A Court has issued an Injunction limiting or preventing the child’s travel;
- There is an application before the Court seeking to limit or prevent overseas travel of the child;
- There is an application before the Court seeking an Order to place the child on the Family Law Watchlist; and/or
- An Order or Injunction is limiting or restricting the child’s travel overseas which is under an appeal.
How do you place your child on the airport watchlist?
To place your child on the airport watchlist, you must:
- Complete an airport watchlist request form and either:
- File an Application with a Court seeking to limit or prevent the child from travelling overseas and includes a request that the AFP place the child’s name on the Family Law Watchlist; or
- Obtain a Court Order that limits or prevents overseas travel of the child and includes a request that the AFP place the child’s name on the Family Law Watchlist.
What is the difference between a conditional or absolute watchlist?
A Watchlist Order may be absolute or conditional. For instance:
- An absolute Order will prevent the child from travelling altogether.
- A conditional Order will allow the parents to provide authenticated consent, removing the child from the Watchlist for a defined period of time. This consent is a statutory declaration signed by both parties, which can be provided to the Federal Police, proving that both parents consent to the child leaving Australia for a particular period of time.
What happens if my child is on the airport watchlist?
The Family Law Act restrains all parties concerned from taking the child out of Australia, once an application has is made to the Court seeking a child’s to be placed on the airport watchlist, .
How to check the Airport Watchlist?
To establish whether a child is on the Family Law Watchlist, you or your lawyer will need to complete an Airport Watchlist Enquiry Form. The results of your enquiry will be subject to non-distribution or publication of information related to family law proceedings.
You must provide a certified copy of a Government-issued identification, such as a Drivers Licence or Passport. If possible, and to assist your inquiry, you also recommend that you also provide a copy of the Application or Order that places your child or children on the Family Law Watchlist.
Completed forms must be emailed or faxed to the AFP.
How do I remove my child from the airport watchlist?
If you wish to remove your child’s name from the airport watchlist, it is generally required that you obtain a further Court Order removing that child’s name from the airport watchlist.