The Australian government has written a formal guarantee to Indonesia that Schapelle Corby wouldn't breach parole conditions, as Foreign Minister Bob Carr said detaining her in Kerobokan Jail any longer would be cruel.
The Australian consulate in Bali delivered the guarantee to the governor's office at the notorious jail on March 8, although Senator Carr said the letter doesn't ensure she will be released.
Rather, it "removes an impediment to her getting parole", he told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
"It doesn't guarantee parole. She's got to satisfy the Indonesian system."
Despite guaranteeing the convicted drug smuggler will conform to whatever parole conditions are imposed, Senator Carr was unable to say exactly what these would be.
"You might ask how do Indonesian families guarantee the behaviour of people they sign guarantees for," he said.
"The principle's the same."
Under Indonesian law, the family of anyone seeking parole must make similar promises, and as Corby's family "are not being recognised in Indonesia," it is up to the government to make the guarantee, Senator Carr said.
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said it wasn't clear how the government could guarantee the behaviour of an individual overseas.
This is the first time such a guarantee has been given by the Australian government but the move doesn't create a precedent, Senator Carr said, adding that incidents of Australians being detained overseas would be considered on a case by case basis.
"To spend even longer there would be, by our standards, somewhat cruel."
If granted parole, Corby will be given a passport but it will probably be seized by Indonesian authorities, Senator Carr said.
She would serve the rest of her term, due to finish in January 2017, in Bali, reporting monthly to the Australian consulate.
Senator Carr was also unsure when Corby could be paroled.
Her lawyer Iskandar Nawing said a parole application may be lodged as early as Wednesday or Thursday next week, although more advice was needed from Indonesian officials.
"I'm waiting for one more letter from immigration before we can submit a parole request," he said on Sunday.
"It is needed for Corby to stay with her sister, Mercedes, in Bali."
Even if a board made up of prison staff recommends Corby for parole, it would still have to receive final approval from the director general of corrections in Jakarta.
Indonesian Justice Ministry spokesman Goncang Raharjo said parole for Corby was possible but "she must have a permit to stay in Indonesia if she wants parole".
Sixteen foreigners have been granted parole in Indonesia, but none of them were incarcerated in Bali.
Corby, 35, was convicted in 2005 for attempting to smuggle four kilograms of marijuana into Bali in a bodyboard bag.
Her 20-year sentence was slashed by five years when she was granted clemency by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last May on humanitarian grounds, after she claimed to suffer from a mental illness that could endanger her life.