Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Passport application requirements

Using your passport

Troubleshooting


How long does it take to get a passport?

Whether you apply in Australia or overseas, you should allow approximately three weeks to get a new passport.

If you need to travel urgently, you can request priority service (an additional fee is payable). This will ensure we issue your passport within two business days PLUS delivery of receiving everything we need from you.

Why can't I lodge my application form online?

Your Australian passport is a valuable document that confirms your identity and citizenship. You must lodge your application in person so that we can verify your photo and identity evidence. We can also check that your application is complete and correct to minimise delays.

Why can’t I use the renewal form?

If you cannot access the passport renewal form online, you may not be eligible to renew. See Renewing your passport for more information.

Alternatively, you may be answering the security questions incorrectly. The answers to these questions must match exactly the information we hold on your passport records. If you believe you are eligible to renew but are unable to access or complete the renewal form online, call the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232 or, if you are overseas, contact the nearest Australian diplomatic mission or consulate.

Do I need to provide an original document or will a certified copy or extract do?

When you apply for an Australian passport you must provide original documents that confirm your Australian citizenship and your identity. Birth extracts, commemorative certificates, photocopies (including those that have been certified as a true copy) and fax copies are NOT acceptable.

An original document is one produced, and not altered by, the authority or organisation named on the document. A duplicate copy issued and certified as a true copy by the authority or organisation named on the original can be accepted as if it were an original document. A photocopy, even if certified, is not a duplicate copy.

Who can be the emergency contact person?

Your emergency contact person can be anyone you choose, but it is advisable to nominate someone who is not likely to be travelling with you. If you are completing your child's passport application form, you might like to nominate a grandparent, other relative or close family friend rather than yourself or the child's other parent.

I have a senior’s card, can I have a concessional passport?

Australians aged 75 and over can opt to have a five-year passport for half the cost of an ordinary 10-year passport.

I don't speak English well. Can I use an interpreter at my passport interview?

If you are not fluent in English you can bring someone with you to your passport interview to interpret for you. This could be a family member or a friend. The Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) can also arrange an interpreter for your interview through the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) National at no cost to you. Please notify APIS that you will need an interpreter, giving as much notice as possible. To contact APIS with the assistance of a phone interpreter, call TIS on 131 450 (from overseas call +61 3 9268 8832).

APIS, or the passport interviewer, will ask for your permission for an interpreter, family member or friend to talk on your behalf. Once you have given permission, that person can continue to ask you questions and explain the process.

Do I need six months validity left on my passport before I can travel from and then re enter Australia?

You passport is valid from the date it is issued until the date it expires. You can use it throughout this period, subject to meeting the visa and immigration requirements of the countries you wish to visit or transit.

Some foreign governments require visitors to carry passports with at least six months validity beyond their planned stay. You may be refused entry if you do not comply.

Well before you travel, you should check the entry requirements of the countries you plan to visit or transit. Contact the foreign diplomatic and consular representatives of the country you wish to visit in Australia, or seek advice from your travel agent.

My passport is nearly full but is valid for another four years. Is it possible to add extra pages?

No. You will need to obtain a new passport.

My passport has been lost or stolen. What should I do?

If your passport has been lost or stolen, you must report this to us without delay. We will cancel your passport so it cannot be misused by anyone else.

How do I find information on whether I need a visa and how to get one?

You should seek advice from the governments of the countries your plan to visit or ask your travel agent.

I got my passport when I was a child but I've now turned 18. Can I still use this passportt?

Yes, your passport is valid until its expiry date.

A member of my family died recently and their passport is not due to expire for some time. What should I do?

If you report the details to us, we will cancel the passport to ensure it cannot be misused by another person. Take the passport and the original death certificate to an Australia Post passport agency. If you wish to retain the passport as a memento, we will return it to you after it has been cancelled.

I am a dual citizen. Are there any restrictions on what passports I may have or use? 

All Australians including dual nationals should leave and enter Australia on their Australian passport.  If you have a passport from another country, you can use that for travel once you have left Australia. 

See Smartraveller for more information about dual citizenship and travel.

I misplaced my passport and it was handed in to the Passport Office and cancelled.  Why can't it be reinstated?

When a passport has been reported to us as lost or stolen, or if it has been found by someone else and handed in, we immediately cancel it and inform Australian and international border authorities.  This is to protect against misuse of your passport – and your identity – by others.  Cancellation is permanent and the passport cannot be reinstated.  

Forms

Why was the application form I completed online rejected at interview?

There are strict printing requirements to ensure your application can be scanned into our system. For more details, see our printing requirements.

How do I print a form so it fits the page?

See our printing requirements page for details on how to print passport forms generated online.

I have printed my online form and have found a mistake. How can I correct it?

You will have to amend the form and reprint the document. If you still have your application's summary page on the screen, select the step where the change is required from the list of steps provided underneath the 'Summary' title and make your change. Use the next button to save your change.

Once you are satisfied with your change, reprint the entire form for lodgment. This is necessary to prevent rejection of your application at lodgment due to mismatched details and form numbers.

To make a change after exiting your application, resume your application. Enter your name as per your application and the pre-lodgment PIN the system issued you with. The PIN is case sensitive. Select the step containing the information to be changed. Use the 'Next' button to save your change. Once you are satisfied with your change, reprint the entire form for lodgment.

Photos

Why does my photo have to meet technical requirements?

When your passport photo meets the technical requirements, processing at borders becomes much more efficient, especially if you use an automated system such as SmartGate in Australia. If we were to accept a photo that does not meet our requirements, you may have difficulty at international borders. A good quality passport photo also reduces the potential for identity fraud, which protects you as you travel.   Please do not attach the photos to your application form as this can damage them if not attached correctly.

Our detailed requirements for passport photos include examples of acceptable and unacceptable photos.

Access problems

Can I check the progress of my application after lodging it?

You can track your application online in two ways:

  1. by logging in and entering your family name, given names, date and place of birth, your mother's maiden name and  your previous passport number, as well as your form number (see screenshot below) and the date of lodgment; or
  2. by obtaining a tracking PIN - if you obtain a tracking PIN, you will be able to log in more easily using your form number and PIN only.

 The form number is the nine character code made up of eight numerals and a one-letter suffix displayed on  your application form.)

Portion of the form where the form number is displayed
 

Your tracking PIN is case sensitive.

Alternatively, in Australia you can contact the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232 toll free.

Outside Australia, contact the Australian diplomatic or mission or consulate where you lodged your application form.

I have a PIN so why can’t I login to check on the progress of my application?

The PIN you were issued when you began your application online will not enable you to track your application after you lodge it.

To track an application you will need a different PIN number known as a post-lodgment PIN (see above)

To obtain a post-lodgment PIN, log in to the system using your form number and confirm your identity when prompted.

Your post-lodgment PIN is case sensitive.

I cannot log in to the system because I cannot answer the security questions correctly.

Call the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232.