Brisbane Airport takes overseas outgoing passenger cards digital

By Chris C., March 23 2015
Brisbane Airport takes overseas outgoing passenger cards digital

Jetsetters departing from Brisbane International Airport no longer need to complete handwritten outgoing passenger cards thanks to a new ‘digital departure card’ feature in the BNE Airport iPhone and Android apps.

Passengers travelling with any airline simply open the app, click ‘departure card’ in the main menu and can then type the same information they would have traditionally written on a conventional passenger card.

That includes your name, occupation and passport details…

… through to your flight information and travel plans:

Here comes the tricky part: you can’t simply click ‘submit’ and send your information through to Customs – what you enter is instead converted into a 3D barcode, known as a ‘QR code’…

… which can be saved within the app and then later retrieved for scanning at the airport via the ‘My Trip’ tab, with travellers able to keep the basics on file to avoid filling them out every time they travel.

Currently exclusive to Brisbane Airport, the scanning kiosk takes the information from the barcode and prints a physical departure card with the same, which you’ll need to sign and date before proceeding through security.

Then, simply present the printout to a Customs officer, along with your boarding pass and passport. If you’re unable to use the app or you’d prefer to complete a traditional departure card, that’s fine too.

Passengers bound for Los Angeles with Qantas or New Zealand with either Qantas or Air New Zealand can also make a beeline for the passenger-pleasing and time-saving eGates at outbound passport control in Brisbane.

Read: Australian eGate departure trial proves a real time-saver

Similar to the familiar SmartGate technology when returning to Australia, Aussie travellers armed with electronic (chipped) passports can use the eGates to side-step the regular manned passport queues and instead process themselves out of the country – a real time-saver during peak periods.

If that’s your plan, just keep your printed or traditional departure card and boarding pass at hand, ready for inspection after you’re cleared through the eChannel – and if you’re filing a GST refund claim at the TRS desk, there’s now a time-saving app for that too.

Read: New iPhone, Android app speeds up GST refunds at TRS desk

The BNE Airport app can be downloaded for free via the iTunes Store for iPhones and through Google Play for Android-powered devices.

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738

So instead of filling out a card, I can download an app, then open it up, then type a bunch of information on my teensy keyboard, then scan a QR code in a machine, then wait for it to print out an actual physical card! Hooray!

Oh well, at least I save myself the trouble of finding a pen...

>"which you’ll need to sign and date before proceeding through security."

Oh, never mind then.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 592

That was my exact responce

I dont get what jollies Australian Government gets filling out forms!!! May be we need remind some of the senior bureaucrats that we are in 2015.

if the system can hold a person's biomentrics then it can digitize this process.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738

If you look at the outgoing passenger card, then it contains three types of information:

1. Name, nationality, passport number, flight number, date of birth: stuff that the airline already has on file and ought to be able to give to the immigration department.

2. Stuff that seems a little pointless, such as "usual occupation" and "purpose of trip". 

3. The declaration on whether you're taking large quantities of cash.


British Airways - Executive Club

24 Jan 2012

Total posts 74

The 'what is the purpose of your trip' and 'what is your state of residence' questions are for the benefits of the Aus Bureau of Stats, and not customs.

I think it's all governments! I got a Government survey recently on e-commerce and it was all paper based!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 416

why single out the australian govt, you have to fill incoming and outgoing forms for China, HKG, Malaysia  etc.

What happens if you have a child travelling with you?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2482

This is simply a new, optional way of completing the outgoing passenger cards – all other rules and procedures, including travelling with children, are unchanged.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

as in most variations in processes to achieve the same end's all about choice..use it if it suits you...don't use it if it doesn't....just because it doesn't suit YOU, that doesn't make the whole process redundant to ALL of us!!

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

a little 'add on'...i have little to no sympathy for travellers who don't carry a pen with them ...(especially 'business travellers')

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

Why I havent user a pen since December 2014 for work. We use digital. Media you know things like i pads and phones.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 551

Try signing your next inbound passenger card with your ipad onboard legend!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

27 Jan 2015

Total posts 29

Sounds like a great step in the right direction. Maybe future versions of this system will be a little more streamlined, but we have to start somewhere

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738


Or maybe it's a government department spending money on things because they sound newfangled and fancy ("Ooh! An app!"), without putting any thought into whether they'll actually be an improvement.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 700

Since you have the choice of a manual card or using the app I say roll it out to all Australian departures soon (since it seems very unlikely they won't bin the thing altogether). I know I'd use the app just because I can fill that information out before I get to the airport.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 157

I always have a stock of both the outgoign and incomig immigration cards.

I fiill out the outgoing card before I leave home. If you ask me, the APP seems a bit of a wasted effort if it doesn't completely automate the entire departure card process.

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 230

Never quite sure what purpose those cards serve. Maybe they were matched in the old days with incoming cards to ensure visitors left the country as required. But now, shouldn't our passports be scanned and all relevant info tracked on that basis alone. The whole thing seems redundant.


British Airways - Executive Club

24 Jan 2012

Total posts 74

The only advantage I see is, if you can store your info and only update your flight number and trip length each time you leave, then it may have some value.

Hopefully this is the first step of automation before they get rid of the cards altogether.

24 Mar 2015

Total posts 1

The app allows you to store all your personal profiling information for your next trip. It also allows you to create and store digital departure cards for your family and save their profiles too. Makes the cards a lot easier to read for customs, making the process smoother and faster. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 704

Can I just point out this has nothing to do with the government

It is Brisbane Airport (BAC) who have created an app to fill in the details and when you scan the barcode it prints out the info on a standard depature card and hence you still need to sign it and put the date you signed it on the card cause the current reglation says it has to be written on in pen

The gov had nothing to do with this in terms of funding and the app is not a government

The only airport to do this is Brisbane and yes you can fill out the depature card app on the way to the airport or at home and will save time

There are pens on the desk a Brisbane near the printer so no you don't have to bring a pen if all you carry with you is your ipad 

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