Incomplete consent

What if not everyone consents to a child passport?

If there isn’t full consent, the only way to guarantee that we’ll issue a passport is to show us an Australian court order that permits the child to have an Australian passport, travel internationally or live or spend time with a person outside Australia.

You’ll need to show us originals of all orders that relate to the child (not just the most recent order) and complete a a B7 form (PDF 0.5 MB) to declare that there are no other court orders or further legal proceedings.

What if I don’t have full consent or an Australian court order that permits the child to travel?

We’ll consider whether special circumstances apply.

What are special circumstances?

If you don't have either:

  • consent from everyone with parental responsibility for the child, or
  • an Australian court order that permits the child to have an Australian passport, travel internationally or live or spend time with a person outside Australia,

then we’ll consider issuing a passport under the special circumstances in subsection 11(2) of the Australian Passports Act 2005 and section 10 of the Australian Passports Determination 2015

Special circumstances can include, but are not limited to:

  • the existence of child welfare orders
  • an inability to contact the non-consenting person for a reasonable period of time
  • the absence of contact with the non-consenting person for a substantial period
  • a court order from a country that has signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction permitting a child to have a travel document, travel internationally or to have contact with a person outside the country where the order was made.

How do I claim special circumstances?

In addition to the passport application form, you also have to complete:

  • a B8 form (PDF 1.5 MB) if the child’s birth certificate only names one parent and there’s no Australian court order that relates to parental responsibility or guardianship for the child, or
  • a B10 form (PDF 0.5 MB) if there’s a court order from an Australian state or territory court transferring parental responsibility or guardianship under child welfare law, or
  • in all other situations, a separate B9 form (PDF) for each person with parental responsibility who doesn’t consent.

You need to attach any evidence that supports your claim to special circumstances. Depending on the situation, examples of evidence could include family violence orders, foreign court orders, medical or police reports, or statements from government agencies.

You also need to show us originals of any Australian court orders that relate to parental responsibility or guardianship for the child (not just the most recent order). Unless you’re completing a B10 form, you need to accompany the court orders with a B7 form (PDF 0.5 MB) to declare that there are no other court orders or further legal proceedings.

Will you contact the other parent if I apply under special circumstances?

In assessing a special circumstances case, we may seek to contact a non‑consenting parent or other persons for further information.

What if there are pending legal proceedings?

If there are legal proceedings under way that may affect parental responsibility for the child, the issuing of a travel document to the child or the child’s ability to travel internationally, there are limits to the special circumstances we can consider. You may therefore wish to seek the court’s direction on passport issue before lodging the application.

If I claim special circumstances, does that guarantee my child will get a passport?

No.

When we consider a child passport application under the special circumstances provisions, there’s no guarantee we’ll issue a passport.

The delegate assessing the case can decide to:

  • issue a passport, or
  • refuse to issue a passport because special circumstances don’t exist, or
  • refuse to exercise their discretion to issue a passport because the matter should be dealt with by a court.

Of these possible outcomes, only one – a decision to refuse to issue a passport because special circumstances don’t exist – is a reviewable decision.

If a child passport isn’t issued, can I appeal the decision?

A decision to refuse to issue a passport because special circumstances don’t exist is a reviewable decision.

However, a decision to refuse to exercise discretion to issue a passport because the matter should be dealt with by a court is not reviewable.

If a child passport isn’t issued, do I get the fee back?

If we decide not to issue a passport to a child, we generally don’t refund the application fee.

Will my child’s passport application take longer if I claim special circumstances?

Yes.

Child passport applications which claim special circumstances take longer to process than other applications, generally six to eight weeks, and maybe even longer.

As there’s no guarantee that the application will be successful, you shouldn’t make firm overseas travel plans until you know whether we’ll issue a passport.

Can I get priority processing for a child passport if I claim special circumstances?

If you claim special circumstances, you can only request priority processing if:

  • we’ve already assessed the application and told you that we’ve decided to issue a passport, and
  • you can also show us that there’s a compassionate or compelling reason to issue the passport urgently.

Examples of compassionate or compelling reasons include the death or serious illness of an immediate family member or an unexpected need for urgent travel by family members who have caring responsibilities for the child.

You’ll need supporting documentation, such as a letter from the treating doctor or an employer.

See also: