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Contact details

Transfers from Australia

We are responsible for administering the International Transfer of Prisoners (ITP) Scheme.

Information on transfers from foreign countries to Australia can be found on the Transfers to Australia page.

The downloads below include the ITP Statement of Policy as well as the information pack for transfers from Australia:

Application forms

Prisoners applying for transfer from Australia are required to use the official application forms, listed below. The forms may also be obtained from authorities in Australian prisons.

Different forms need to be completed by prisoners who are in prison or a hospital facility, prisoners who are serving the suspended part of their sentence, and prisoners who have been released on parole.

Prisoners who are serving a sentence of imprisonment in a prison or a hospital facility, and have not been released on parole and are not serving a suspended part of a sentence, are required to submit the following application forms:

Prisoners who are on parole are required to submit the following application forms:

Prisoners who are serving the suspended part of their sentence are required to submit the following forms:

By signing the Collection, use and disclosure of personal information form, the prisoner consents to the disclosure of personal information they provide on these application forms to other parties for the purpose of processing their application.

For more information, refer to our department's privacy policy.

Completed applications should be sent to:

International Transfer of Prisoners Unit
Attorney-General's Department
3-5 National Circuit
BARTON ACT 2600

We will be in regular contact with the prisoner while their application is being processed.

Requirements for transfer from Australia

A prisoner may apply to transfer from Australia to a foreign country if:

  • the foreign country is listed as a transfer country under the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997
  • the prisoner is either:
    • a national of the transfer country, or
    • has community ties with the transfer country (note that some countries only allow nationals to transfer under the ITP Scheme)
  • neither the prisoner's sentence of imprisonment nor the conviction on which it is based is subject to appeal
  • the conduct constituting the offence for which the prisoner is serving a sentence would also constitute an offence in the country to which the prisoner seeks to transfer (this requirement may be waived in certain cases), and
  • at least six months of the prisoner's sentence remains to be served; or one year for transfers to or from some countries with whom Australia has a bilateral arrangement (this requirement may be waived in some circumstances).

Please check with local consular staff or prison authorities for further information on the transfer requirements of particular countries.

Sentence enforcement

Generally the sentence a prisoner will serve in a foreign country will be as close as possible in nature and duration to the sentence they are currently serving in Australia. The sentence of imprisonment cannot be harsher than that imposed in Australia.

The sentence and imprisonment conditions of the foreign country will apply, including parole and remission conditions.

A transfer will only occur if the proposed enforcement of the Australian sentence in the transfer country is considered acceptable by the Australian Government and the prisoner consents to the transfer on the terms proposed by the foreign country.

The ITP Statement of Policy provides further information on sentence enforcement requirements.

Community ties with a transfer country

A prisoner has community ties with a transfer country if:

  • the prisoner's principal place of residence immediately before being sentenced to imprisonment in Australia was in the transfer country; or
  • a close family member* of the prisoner has a principal place of residence in the transfer country; or
  • the prisoner has a close continuing relationship (involving frequent personal contact and a personal interest in the other person's welfare) with anyone whose principal place of residence is in the transfer country.

*Note: Close family member is defined in the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997

Transfer on parole

A prisoner may be eligible to transfer from Australia if they are on parole or coming up for parole, or serving the suspended part of their sentence, depending on the requirements of the country to which they seek to transfer.

Some foreign countries may not allow prisoners on parole, or prisoners serving the suspended part of their sentence, to transfer under the ITP Scheme.

Timeframes

The time that it takes to process an application for transfer varies from case to case.

Finalising applications for transfer from Australia can take some time, as they must be considered by a number of different parties, including the Australian Government, the government of the foreign country; and in some cases, the relevant Australian state or territory.

When the Attorney-General's Department receives an application for transfer from Australia, we will seek reports from the state or territory in which the applicant is imprisoned, including information about the prisoner's sentence, health, behaviour and custodial progress.

Once the reports are received, the Australian Government will write to the transfer country to ask it whether, and on what terms, it would agree to the prisoner's transfer taking place.

If the transfer country provides its consent to the transfer, and the proposed terms of transfer are considered acceptable, the prisoner (if convicted of a Commonwealth offence) will be asked if he or she consents to the transfer on the terms proposed by the transfer country.

[For prisoners convicted of an Australian state or territory offence, if the transfer country provides its consent to the transfer, the Australian Minister for Justice will consider the application and determine whether to provide preliminary consent to the transfer on the proposed terms. If the Australian Minister for Justice provides preliminary consent, the consent of the relevant State or Territory Minister to the transfer will be sought. If the relevant State or Territory Minister consents to the transfer on the proposed terms, the prisoner's consent to the transfer will then be also sought].

If the prisoner consents to the transfer on the agreed terms, the Australian Minister for Justice will consider the application and determine whether to consent to the transfer.

If the Australian Minister for Justice consents, the Minister will sign a warrant authorising the prisoner's transfer.

Once the warrant has been signed, arrangements for the prisoner's physical transfer will be made between the relevant state or territory and the foreign government.

The process for applications for transfer from Australia is outlined in the following diagram:

Diagram showing the process for prisoner transfer, as outlined above.
Click on diagram for full size

The Australian Minister for Justice assesses each transfer application on its merits, taking all relevant factors into account.

For transfers from Australia, relevant factors may include:

  • the extent to which the prisoner's rehabilitation and reintegration into society would be assisted by the transfer
  • whether the prisoner is an Australian citizen
  • whether the proposed terms of enforcement of the Australian sentence upon transfer are acceptable
  • the views of relevant authorities and agencies, such as the Australian Federal Police
  • any relevant humanitarian considerations that apply to the case such as the health and age of the prisoners.

In some circumstances prisoners transferring out of Australia may be asked by the transfer country to reimburse some or all of the costs of their transfer. The transfer country will generally advise of any requirements regarding transfer costs at the time of proposing terms of transfer.

Decisions made by the Australian Minister for Justice are reviewable under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act.

Prisoners who are considering whether to seek a review of a decision made by the Minister may wish to seek their own independent legal advice.

Prisoners may also reapply for transfer. However, unless the prisoner is able to provide new information or demonstrate a change in circumstances relevant to their request for transfer, any application made less than twelve months since an earlier application was refused or withdrawn will not be progressed.