I was born in the UK, have lived in Australia since 1988, and I hold both passports. With 2 of my children living in Scotland and the potential need to go and see them urgently, can I leave Australia using my UK passport and therefore bypass the need to apply for permission from the Australian Government to leave the country? I understand permission is given only in rare circumstances at the moment. I would plan to re-enter Australia on my Australian passport
Here is what the Australian Department of Home Affairs has to say:
Australian citizens should use their Australian passport to enter and leave Australia.
The Australian Border Force has more information on crossing the border.
If you have a passport from another country, you can use that after you leave Australia.
A passport is the best way to show that you are an Australian citizen. You might still be able to enter Australia if you are an Australian citizen without an Australian passport, but it will be more difficult. The airline might also stop you from boarding a plane to Australia.
So it appears that unlike other countries (USA, Canada, Israel etc), Australia does not formally require that you use your Australian passport to enter the country (but they nonetheless recommend it).
However, we are not living in normal times and the question is twofold. You mention current travel restrictions (Covid I suppose). The question is: Can I use a UK passport (to pass as non-Australian) and bypass travel restrictions normally applicable to Australian citizens ?
I am not familiar with the immigration process, probably they no longer put entry stamps in the passports of foreign visitors nowadays, but departures/arrivals are recorded in computer systems. If you were to show a UK passport at the exit gates, the customs officers would find no recent trace of your arrival, no matching record for your passport number, which could lead to awkward questions, ring alarm bells and force you to justify yourself.
Plus, aren't you required to have a visa as a UK citizen?
If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident you cannot leave Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions unless you have an exemption. You can apply online but you must meet at least one of the following:
- you are travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business
- you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds
Alternatively you are exempt from the restrictions if
You are exempt if you are:
- ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia
Nothing in the site says that dual-citizens are exempt from the quarantine rules - instead they explicitly say that not just Australian citizens, but non-Australians who are settled have to adhere to the exit guidelines as well. For me this means that even if you (only) show them your UK passport they might still consider you as a settled citizen (they might ask for your visa or other proof on how you are living in Australia in which case you'll likely have to tell them you are Australian and are a resident), and therefore block your exit.
However since you are travelling because of unavoidable personal business and/or compassionate grounds you might get an exemption. If you also give them proof that you wish to remain in the UK long-term and not return to Australia you might also get an exemption, as one of the proofs they accept is
- proof that you are moving to another country on a long term basis such as leases, job offers and evidence your goods are being transported
In any case:
we recommend you lodge a request for assessment at least two weeks prior to your intended departure.
TL;DR you must leave a country using the passport you entered it with.
Usually, the way this works is that you enter a country as a citizen of the country whose passport you enter as, and you need to follow the immigration rules as a person of that country.
I am assuming that you last entered Australia on your Australian passport, and therefore have all the advantages that a citizen of Australia have when entering the country. That is to say - you don't need a visa, and can stay for an unlimited time.
If you try to exit on your UK passport, that should set alarm bells off when you try it, because you didn't enter on that passport. The UK citizen with your name has not entered the country, but is now trying to leave.
If you entered with your UK passport, then you would be subject to the rules for a UK citizen entering Australia - you would need the necessary visa (or waiver), and you would be allowed to stay for a limited amount of time. BUT when you left Australia, you would need to leave on your UK passport - or else you would be subject to the laws regarding overstay (fines, deportation, possible blacklisting). Or at least a legal battle.
Also, if you actually succeed in leaving on your UK passport, you would then not have a record of the Australian citizen with your name ever leaving the country, and you would have a lot of explaining to do when you tried to enter again with your Australian passport.
If this is something you are actually considering doing, you should get legal advice from a lawyer with detailed immigration experience.