One of the most tedious aspects of overseas flying is filling out that annoying green card prior to departure. There are never enough pens to go around and you usually forget your flight and/or passport number. Ain't nobody for time for that!
Well, it appears the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) agrees. From July 1, you will no longer be required to fill out these pesky cards while passing through immigration. Hurrah!
The DIBP has advised travel agents, airport and airline staff that it will no longer require OPCs from departing passengers. Instead, passenger names, flight numbers, destinations, passports and contact details will all be collated via each airline's Advance Passenger Information System (APIS).
The ABS, which was notified of the change back in April, issued the following statement:
The Australian Government is focussed on low contact automated border clearance technologies to manage the 50 million travellers expected annually by 2020. Removing paper-based passenger cards is integral to achieving a seamless and automated traveller experience.
DIBP has worked closely with the ABS and Tourism Research Australia to identify and successfully test alternate data sources to the OPC. Changes to use these alternative sources are now well underway to remove reliance on the paper OPC.
As a result, the OPC is on track to be retired in July 2017.
This is all thanks to a recent Migration Legislation Amendment that removes Regulation 3.01, namely, the requirement for a person to complete a passenger card when departing Australia.
Unfortunately, the equally annoying incoming passenger card (IPC) still needs to be filled out manually by passengers. However, a similar review is currently underway with the aim of removing reliance on paper cards for good. Then you can finally stop feeling bad about forgetting to bring a pen on your trip.