Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Where can I get further passports advice from?

This website contains detailed information on most passport related topics. Select the Information and Useful links button to display an index of the topics covered by this website.

The Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) may be contacted on 131 232. APIS provides free service and advice to clients within Australia and New Zealand. An inter-active voice menu directs a caller to follow prompts based on the applicant’s enquiry stream. Select option zero (0) to speak with an advisor.

Overseas clients may contact the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission for advice.

I am a pensioner or have a senior’s card; can I have a senior’s passport?

Australian citizens aged 75 years and over may apply for a senior’s passport. A senior’s Passport is issued with a validity period of 5 years.

The decision to offer a five year senior’s passport to Australians aged 75 years and over was made by a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade following representations from senior Australians who wished to undertake limited travel and did not need a 10 year validity passport. The age of 75 was selected as it was considered to best suit the needs of this age group. The cost of the five year passport was determined at half the cost of a standard passport which is valid for 10 years.

In relation to passport applications the term ‘senior’ is used by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to specifically refer to Australians who are 75 years or over. The term is not associated with the varying definitions used by other organisations in Australia.

How can I check on my application’s progress?

After your application has been received by an Australian Passport Office you can check its progress on this website.

Select “My Application’s Progress” from the home page of this website. You will need to know your application form number to access this service. Your form number is the 9 character code (8 numerals and 1 letter suffix) displayed on your application form.

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

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

How long does it take to get a passport?

In Australia the Australian Passport Office is committed to mailing out an eligible applicant's passport within ten working days of receiving all information and documentation we require.

We are equally committed to prompt processing of passport applications made overseas at any Australian diplomatic or consular mission. In most cases an eligible applicant's full validity passport will be available for collection or despatch from the mission within ten working days of a passport interview if all our requirements are met. It will be issued by one of our passport production centres - London, Washington, or Canberra. You should allow extra time for local mail delivery if you have requested that the passport be mailed to you. If you cannot wait ten working days for a full validity passport, the mission can issue an emergency passport to cover urgent travel needs. There is no application fee for issuing an emergency passport but you need to pay a priority processing fee.

Our Priority Processing Service guarantees that your passport will be ready for collection or despatch from a Passport Office within two working days of the office receiving everything it needs from you. However, you should allow extra time for Australia Post outlets to forward your application to us and for your passport to reach you by registered mail. There is a fee for this service in addition to the normal passport application fee. This service is not available for applications for full validity passports made overseas, except in London and Washington.

What forms do I need and where do I get one?

Passport application forms may be completed and printed from this website. Select the "Passport Applications" button located on the home page. Your answers to our questions will direct you to the correct application form.

Alternatively in Australia visit an Australia Post outlet, an Australian Passport Office or ring the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232. If contacting APIS select option zero (0) if you need to speak with an advisor.

Outside Australia please contact the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission.

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

Australian passports are valid for travel into and out of Australia regardless of the length of remaining validity. An Australian passport remains valid until the expiry date.

However, it is the right of any country to control entry into their borders and this is usually done via visas or ensuring sufficient validity remains on the visitor’s travel document. Entry requirements are decided by foreign governments and are not something that the Australian Government can influence.

You need to ensure that your passport has adequate validity to meet the entry requirements of the countries you intend to visit (or transit). Some countries require travellers to have at least six months validity remaining on their passports beyond the period of intended stay, and immigration authorities may refuse entry if you arrive with less than this. Airlines and passenger shipping lines may refuse to carry you if your passport has inadequate validity.

Before travel you should contact the Embassy, High Commission or Consular representative of all the countries you will be travelling to, or seek advice from your travel agent, to identify each country’s passport validity requirements. If you are unsure, it is safest to renew your passport prior to travelling.

Does my Passport have a Machine Readable Zone (MRZ)? Do I need a visa to travel to the USA?

All Australian passports being issued in Australia, and most Australian travel documents issued overseas, are machine readable.

Australian machine readable passports feature a two line machine readable zone (MRZ) at the bottom of the biographical data page, consistent with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

Passport picture with MRZ highlighted


The US Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act will eventually require that the passport of any Visa Waiver Program traveller should contain a biometric identifier that meets standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade began issuing Australian Passports with a biometric identifier on the 24th of October 2005. Australian passports issued prior to that date will not contain a biometric identifier.

The US Government has advised that Australians who currently hold a valid passport which contains a machine readable zone on the personal details page will still be eligible to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program. These passports do not need to contain a biometric identifier.

For further information regarding US entry requirements please contact the US Embassy of Australia website at http://canberra.usembassy.gov/ or visit www.state.gov the US State Department website.

Can I lodge my application form online?

Passport application forms can be filled in and printed online, but not lodged. You will need to sign the completed application form in black ink and lodge it at the time of your personal interview, together with all of the supporting documentation listed on the application form.

In Australia most forms are lodged at Australia Post outlets. Clients able to demonstrate an urgent need to travel may call APIS on 131 232 to make an appointment to lodge at an Australian Passport Office.

Overseas applicants should contact the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission to obtain details for lodgement.

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 which confirm your Australian citizenship and your identity. Please note that 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:
A document produced by the authority or organisation named on the document and which has not been altered since it was produced. A duplicate copy (note - a duplicate copy is not a photocopy) which has been issued and certified as a true copy by the authority or organisation named on the original document may also be accepted as if it were an original.

My name has changed. Can I travel in my previous name, otherwise how do I change the name on my passport?

It is legal to travel in your previous name, but it is recommended in this case that your tickets are issued in the same name.

Passports are issued in your name at birth or citizenship. They may be issued in a different name if you have a name change document issued by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM) or an amended citizenship certificate issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

We cannot change the name appearing in your current passport. A full application form is required to apply for a passport to be issued in your new name. You must provide supporting documentation from RBDM or DIAC. Normal fees may apply.

You must bring to an interview, originals of documents that explain all name changes.

To obtain a new passport for a name change due to marriage, you will need to present a marriage certificate issued by the RBDM, a completed application, current passport and photographs. A gratis passport (i.e. free of charge) will only be issued if you apply for your new passport within 12 months of your marriage. The passport being replaced should have at least 2 years validity remaining otherwise you will be unable to replace the gratis document using the streamlined renewal process. In these circumstances, the new passport would only be issued up to the date of validity of the current passport. In all other circumstances, the full fee will have to be paid for a new passport.

If you wish to revert to the use of a previous family name following divorce, to obtain a new passport, you will need to lodge the original of your divorce certificate (decree nisi absolute), a completed application, current passport, current identification in the new name (if available) and photographs. The replacement passport will be issued gratis for the remaining validity period if the name change is requested within 12 months of the event.

The same requirements for marriage and divorce apply to adult partners of Registered Relationships. Depending on your situation, you may need to provide a Registered Relationship Certificate or a Revocation of Registered Relationship Certificate.

If you revert to your previous name following the death of your spouse (or adult partner of a Registered relationship), the original of the death certificate and your full birth certificate or Registered Relationship certificate issued by the RBDM should be provided. The replacement passport will be issued gratis for the remaining validity period if the name change is requested within 12 months of the event.

Must I be an Australian Citizen to apply for an Australian Passport and how do I check my citizenship?

In order to be eligible for an Australian passport, you must be an Australian citizen.

The Citizenship Amendment Act 1986 changed the criteria for determining Australian citizenship. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is responsible for matters relating to citizenship. Visit the DIAC websites www.immi.gov.au or www.citizenship.gov.au; or Telephone the Citizenship Information Line (CIL) on 131 880 for further information.

At interview, you will be required to provide proof of citizenship. From 1 July 2008 documents you must provide which confirm your Australian citizenship are either:

Born in Australia
Your full RBDM Australian birth certificate, and if you were born on or after 20 August 1986, proof that one of your parents was an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia at the time of your birth;

Born Overseas
Your Australian citizenship certificate, or an extract from the register of citizenship by descent, or an extract from the register of Australian births abroad.

Please note that birth extracts, commemorative certificates, photocopies and fax copies are NOT acceptable.

Existing Passport holders in possession of a valid Australian passport or passport that has expired less than 24 months ago, wishing to use the streamlined passport renewal process must provide the Australian passport to be replaced.

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

We do not issue visas for overseas travel and cannot provide information on other countries visa requirements. Only the countries you plan to visit can provide up-to-date information about their visa requirements.

To obtain information about visa requirements:

  • Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the country you intend to visit, well in advance of travel.
  • Be sure that you obtain all appropriate visas, including transit visas where these are required.
  • Provide all required information when applying for visas.
The Australian government is unable to intervene in any cases in which an Australian has been refused a visa or denied entry to another country.

The validity and type of visa issued must be strictly adhered to and failure to comply could result in substantial penalties.

Remember that if there is a problem with your visa, deportation is at your expense. You should check the status of the visas with the authority which issued them.

Who can be the emergency contact person?

Your emergency contact person can be anyone you like, but it is advisable that you 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.

Why was my photo rejected?

Detailed requirements for photographs for Australian passports are outlined on application forms and on the Passport website page www.passports.gov.au/web/requirements/photos.aspx.

Basic photo requirements are:

Size:
     Minimum 35mm wide x 40mm high
     Maximum 40mm wide x 50mm high

Image quality: Good quality colour displaying natural flesh tone. No marks or creasing

Aspect: Subject looking directly at camera with neutral/natural expression and mouth closed. Head uncovered if religion permits, facial features must be clearly shown from bottom of chin to top of forehead. Chin to crown measurement should be between 32mm and 36mm.

Glasses: May be worn, if normally required, clear lenses to show eyes and no flash reflection off lenses.

Background: White or light neutral single colour preferred.

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

No, it is not possible to add pages to Australian passports. You will need to apply for a new passport by completing a passport application form. Most adults will be able to use a passport renewal form. A child’s passport will need to be replaced by lodging a full passport application form.

An ordinary or standard Australian passport contains 35 visa pages. It is valid for 10 years while a child’s or senior’s passport is valid for five years. The standard passport is adequate for most travellers.

Frequent travellers should apply for a frequent traveller’s passport which has 67 visa pages and is valid for 10 years. A higher application fee applies.

I have just completed my passport application online, did you receive it?

Application forms may be completed online but not lodged.

All passport applications completed online must be printed by the applicant. Most forms should be lodged at an Australia Post outlet or an Australian diplomatic or consular mission if overseas, together with relevant supporting documents. Some Australia Post outlets and Australian diplomatic or consular mission will require you to make an appointment before they will conduct a passports interview. We recommend that you contact the office where you intend to lodge your form and make an appointment for a passport interview.

The passport application fee will be collected at the time of lodgement.

Clients within Australia with an urgent need to travel are advised to lodge their completed application form at a Passport Office. To lodge your form at a Passport Office, contact the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232 to book an interview as an appointment is essential.

Why can’t I use the renewal form?

You can only use the renewal form if you are an Australian citizen aged 18 years or over and
Either:

  • have an adult Australian passport that was valid for at least two years when issued, and
  • was issued after 1/7/2000, and
  • was issued in your current name, date of birth and sex,
OR:
  • have a child Australian passport that was valid for at least two years when issued, and
  • was issued after 1/7/2005, and
  • you were 16 years or over at the time of issue, and
  • was issued in your current name, date of birth and sex.
Note: If you cannot present your passport at the time of renewal you cannot use the renewal process.

If you cannot access the passport renewal form online then you may not be eligible to use a renewal form.

Alternatively, you may be answering the security questions incorrectly. The answers to these questions must exactly match what is on your passport records in order for you to proceed.

If you have exhausted these possibilities and still believe you are eligible for a renewal form, in Australia please contact the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) by calling 131 232. If overseas please contact the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission.

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

In Australia, you can report the loss or theft of your Australian passport by telephone. Contact the Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232.

Outside Australia clients should contact the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission for advice.

If you know the document number of your passport, use the online reporting facility offered by this website to report the loss.

We recommend you conduct an extensive search for your missing passport before reporting the document as lost or stolen. Once your passport is reported as lost or stolen its status will be permanently changed to prevent travel.

Your passport is a vital tool in proving your identity. You must promptly report the loss or theft of your passport. It is an offence not to report the loss or theft of your Australian passport as soon as you learn of the loss. Reporting the loss will allow your passport to be immediately and permanently cancelled, preventing its misuse by terrorists or criminals.

Missing in the mail?

You may report your passport missing in the mail if it was despatched from a Passport Office more than five working days ago and mailed to an Australian address.

Passports reported as missing within 60 days of despatch are not considered to be Lost or Stolen and therefore incur no penalty. Telephone the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232 if you believe it to be missing in the mail. Please check with Australia Post before reporting it missing. It may take up to one week for delivery, depending on your location.

If the mailing address for your passport is outside Australia, please contact your nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission

I have turned 18 and have a child’s passport. Can I still travel on it or do I need an adult passport?

An Australian Passport issued to a person under 18 years of age is valid for five years from the date of issue. If the holder turns 18 years of age while the passport has remaining validity, they may continue to use the passport until the expiry date.

If you have any further enquiries from within Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232. If overseas please contact the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission.

How do I apply for an Australian passport?

Passport application forms can be filled in and printed from this website. Application forms are also available from Australia Post outlets, Passport Offices, Australian diplomatic or consular missions and The Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) by calling 131 232 within Australia.

The notes pages provided with passport application forms provide important information which will help you complete and lodge your application.

Passport fees are payable at the time of lodgement.

Forms should be lodged at an Australia Post outlet or Australian diplomatic or consular mission.

Most passport applicants will need to attend a passport interview to lodge and pay the passport application fee. Adult forms should be personally lodged by the applicant. Child passport applications should be lodged by a parent or person with full legal parental responsibility for the child.

Contact the office where you intend to lodge your form to make an appointment for a passports interview prior to attending.

In Australia if you need to travel urgently you may qualify to lodge your form directly with a Passport Office. You must call 131 232 first as an appointment is essential.

Existing passport holders may be eligible to lodge a passport renewal form. Passport renewal forms are available from this website and by contacting APIS on 131 232. Only applicants may request a renewal form. Your identity must be confirmed before a renewal form is provided. Renewal forms are issued with your personal details pre-filled, they are not available from Australia Post outlets.

The application form I completed on the website was rejected at interview. Why don’t online forms fit the page?

The printed size of your Internet generated application form is determined by the print settings/page scaling options on your PC. The print setting required is usually "fit to page" or "shrink to fit".

To change the page scaling for our application forms: Open the PDF; select file and print; go to page scaling and select “fit to page" or "shrink to fit" and press ok to print.

The notes provided for our application forms contain the required print settings under the title "Requirements for printing application forms". We ask our clients to read this page before pressing the agree button to access the application forms.

Clients without access to A4 paper, using the US legal paper size should select the “no page scaling” option.

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

The PINs or personal identity numbers are case sensitive. Enter capitals as capitals. Also check the letter I and numeral 1 as they are easily confused.

Two separate PINs are required to provide access to resume your application and to track your application’s progress.

The PIN provided to allow resumption of your application form, via the “Resume application” menu button, is provided after entry of your personal details and completion of step 1 of your form.

The option to obtain a PIN for use with the “My application’s progress” function is offered following the initial security login required to confirm your identity and protect the privacy of your information.

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

If you still have your application’s Summary page on screen simply 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, please reprint the entire form for lodgement. This action will assist the Passport Office to process your form and may prevent rejection of your application at lodgement due to miss matched details and form numbers.

To make a change after exiting your application, select the “Resume Application” button located on the left hand side of the Passports Online websites homepage. Enter your name as per your application and your six digit PIN. 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, please reprint the entire form for lodgement.

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. 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 National on 131 450.

APIS, or the passport interviewer, will ask for your permission for an interpreter, family member or friend to talk for you. Once you have given permission, that person can continue to ask you questions, and explain the process. For further information, see the ‘We speak your language’ page.