Parental responsibility

What does 'parental responsibility' mean?

We use the definition of parental responsibility in subsection 11(5) of the Australian Passports Act 2005.

Generally, this means that a person has parental responsibility if their name is on the child’s full birth certificate. Only an Australian family court can remove the parental responsibility of a parent named on a full birth certificate.

People not named on the birth certificate and entities such as welfare agencies can also have parental responsibility.

What if there’s only one parent on the birth certificate?

If there’s only one parent named on the child's birth certificate, and if there’s no Australian court order that either:

  • relates to parental responsibility or guardianship for the child, or
  • permits the child to have an Australian passport, travel internationally or live or spend time with a person outside Australia,

then you have to complete a B8 form (PDF 1.5MB), so that we can know about anyone else who may also have parental responsibility for your child.

What if my child has no birth certificate?

To help us know who has parental responsibility, you have to show us the child’s full, original birth certificate.

If you don’t have a full, original birth certificate for your child, then you’ll need to get one.

For children born in Australia, birth certificates are available from the Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state or territory where the child was born.

If you can’t get an overseas birth certificate, then each person with parental responsibility has to complete a B6 form (PDF 18KB) to explain why. Only do this if getting a birth certificate is genuinely impossible, not if it’s simply inconvenient or time-consuming.

What if my name is different to what’s on my child’s birth certificate?

If any of the child's parents' current names differ from those shown on the child's birth certificate, and if those parents consent to the child having a passport, then you’ll have to show us documents that link the parents’ current and former names.

What if there are court orders?

An Australian court order can change who has parental responsibility for a child.

You need to provide originals of all Australian court orders about your child.

You also have to complete a form to declare that there are no other orders you haven’t told us about:

  • Use a B10 form (PDF 633KB) if an Australian state or territory court order has granted parental responsibility or guardianship to one parent, or to one or more people who aren’t the parents named on the birth certificate, under child welfare law.  In this situation, you don’t need to complete a B7, B8 or B9 form.
  • Use a B7 form (PDF 567KB) for other kinds of court orders.  In this situation, you don’t need to complete a B8 form.

What about foreign court orders?

For the purposes of Australian passport law, foreign court orders only have legal effect if they’ve been registered under the Australian Family Law Act 1975 or the Western Australian Family Court Act 1997 – in which case they count as Australian family court orders. The Attorney-General’s Department has information about how to register a foreign court order.

You can choose to submit a foreign court order as evidence in support of a claim under special circumstances, but there’s no guarantee we’ll issue a passport.

Any foreign court orders that you choose to provide have to be in English or translated in full by an approved translation service.

What if there are family violence orders?

Family violence orders don’t change parental responsibility. You don’t have to tell us about family violence orders, but you can choose to show them to us if you make a claim of special circumstances

See also: