What is the Incoming Passenger Card (IPC)?

incomming passenger card australia

All passengers on their way to Australia are issued with Incoming Passenger Cards (IPCs) before landing. The cards are handed out on board which gives you plenty of time to complete it with the required information.

The IPCs are required under Australian law and visitors cannot enter the country without completing one. The required information includes personal data, and questions regarding security, quarantine, and customs requirements.

IPCs have been a requirement ever since the 1950s. However, the Australian authorities have recognized the need to replace the IPCs with a modern, electronic alternative which saves everyone time at the border.

What is an IPC to enter Australia?

An IPC is a white and orange card which contains a series of questions which passengers must complete to be able to enter Australia. IPCs serve the following range of purposes:

  • A declaration that the passenger meets the health and character requirements (for non-Australian citizens).
  • An application form for the Special Category Visa.
  • A visa application form for Norfolk Island Permanent Residents.

What Information do Passengers Need to Provide?

There are 2 sides to IPCs and passengers must ensure that all the sections have been completed. Leaving questions unanswered can cause unnecessary delays and hold-ups at the border.

Front of the IPC

The front of the card contains questions on the following:

  • Full name
  • Passport number
  • Flight number (or the name of the ship)
  • Address of stay in Australia
  • If you intend to live in Australia for the next 12 months
  • Declarations regarding customs and quarantine

Back of the IPC

In addition to the questions on the back, passengers also have to sign and date the back of the IPC. The questions on the back on the card relate to:

  • The country of departures
  • Date of birth
  • Job or occupation
  • Nationality (as shown on passport)
  • Contact details (in Australia)
  • Emergency contact details
  • Past criminal convictions
  • Health status
  • Migration status

More about Completing the IPC

The form must be completed in English as there are no alternative versions in other languages. Passengers must complete both sides of the form fully and accurately. People who struggle to understand certain parts of the form can ask the staff on the plane for assistance.

The IPC can also be completed on behalf of another traveler. This is normally the case for parents and guardians of children, and for carers of passengers with special needs.

Will IPCs be replaced by 2020?

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said it plans to replace IPCs and create a seamless, automated travel experience. “The Government is focused on low contact automated border clearance processes and technologies to manage the 50 million travelers expected annually by 2020,” it said.

The government can already obtain passenger information from other sources, such as the Advance Passenger Information System, which means they no longer rely on the IPCs as much as in past decades. Alternatives to the cards are already being designed and tested and should be available soon.