Passport validity

An ordinary Australian adult passport is valid for a period of 10 years. A child’s or senior’s passport is valid for five years (and costs less).

Before you book your travel, please ensure that your passport and those of any children who may be travelling with you are still valid. If you plan to travel in less than two working days’ time and your passport has expired, you will have to rearrange your travel as the priority-processing service only guarantees issue of a passport within two working days. You may be able to travel on a valid foreign passport if you are a dual national, but you should enter and leave Australia on your Australian passport. For more information on this, see the Smartraveller Travel Tips.

If you have reported your passport lost or stolen and subsequently recovered it, you must not use it. A passport that is reported lost or stolen is permanently and irrevocably cancelled and using it is a crime under the Australian Passports Act 2005. You must take a recovered passport to the nearest Australian Passport Office, Australia Post outlet, or the nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate (if overseas) to have it physically cancelled. If you recover and personally return your passport within three months of reporting it as lost or stolen, you may qualify for a one-off payment equivalent to the basic lost or stolen passport fee.

Be aware that different countries have different passport validity requirements for permitting entry (e.g. at least six months beyond the period of intended stay). If your passport has inadequate validity, you may be refused entry or not be allowed to board your aircraft or ship in the first place. Before you travel, always check the passport validity requirements of the country, or countries, you intend to visit (or transit) by consulting your travel agent or contacting the appropriate foreign embassy or consulate.

If your passport runs out of pages, you will be required to obtain a new one even if your existing passport is still valid. New pages cannot be added to a passport. If you intend to do a lot of travelling, you might consider getting a frequent traveller’s passport, which has a larger number of visa pages (and costs more than the ordinary passport). You should also be aware that many countries do not accept unexpired visas that are in cancelled passports even if you have a new passport; you may have to get a new visa in the new passport. Contact the country concerned before travelling.

If your passport has expired within the last 24 months, you can submit a renewal form, rather than a full new application form. This is quicker and easier and does not require you to provide as much documentation.

Passport picture with MRZ highlighted

Since 26 October 2004, all travellers entering the United States under the visa waiver program have had to travel with a valid machine-readable passport. Australian passports that do not have a Machine Readable Zone (MRZ - see picture left) at the bottom of the personal particulars page of their passport are not machine-readable. If you have any concerns as to whether your passport is machine-readable, please contact the Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232 (within Australia) or your nearest Australian diplomatic mission or consulate (if overseas).