What you need to know about the Airport Watchlist

In some circumstances, a parent who holds concerns about a child’s travel can apply for a child to be listed on the Family Law Watchlist, formerly known as the Airport Watchlist.

What is a Family Law Watchlist?

It is a system used by the Australian Federal Police to monitor children who are prohibited by Court Orders from leaving Australia. When a departing parent attempts the unauthorised removal of a child from Australia, an alert is raised and the child will be stopped at the airport and prevented from leaving Australia.

It can be absolute or conditional. An absolute Order will stop the child from traveling altogether. A conditional Order will allow parents to provide consent via a statutory declaration to the Federal Police, and remove the child from the Watchlist for a defined period of time.

How to obtain a Family Law Watchlist?

  1. Attempt family dispute resolution or mediation and obtain a section 60I certificate (exemptions for the section 60I certificate can be granted in limited circumstances);
  2. Complete the court documents to seek an Order to place the child on the Family Law Watchlist;
  3. File the complete Court documents at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia;
  4. Complete the Family Law Watchlist Request form;
  5. Send a copy of the Family Law Watchlist request form and initiate an application to the Australian Federal Police to notify them of the application being made.

Taking or sending a child from Australia contrary to a court Order can result in a charge of contempt of Court.

To remove the child from the Family Law Watchlist, a further court Order will need to be sought. The Australian Federal Police cannot remove the child from the Watchlist without an Order of the Court.

If you have concerns about your child being taken overseas, talk to us without further delay. We can assist with a FREE 15-minute family law consultation.


Kehsee Ng

Kehsee Ng

Family Lawyer

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