Non-citizen travel documents

Can I get a passport if I’m not a citizen?

Australian passports are only for Australian citizens. However, we issue other travel documents to certain non-citizens:

  • refugees
  • stateless people
  • non-citizens who for other reasons can’t get travel documents from their country of nationality.

The types of travel documents we issue to non-citizens are:

  • Convention Travel Documents (CTDs)
  • Certificates of Identity (COIs).

These travel documents don't confer Australian citizenship or Australian consular protection. They're not evidence of any right to re‑enter or remain in Australia. They exist simply to facilitate overseas travel for people who would otherwise have no travel document.

You’ll need to meet the visa and travel document requirements of the countries to which you intend to travel. COIs are accepted in fewer overseas countries than CTDs.

Who gets a Convention Travel Document?

You may be eligible for a Convention Travel Document, also known as a Titre de Voyage, if:

  • you’re in Australia, and
  • you’re not an Australian citizen, and
  • the Department of Home Affairs has recognised you as a refugee under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Who gets a Certificate of Identity?

You may be eligible for a Certificate of Identity if you’re:

  • not an Australian citizen, and
  • about to leave Australia, and either
  • stateless, or
  • unable to obtain a valid travel document from your country of nationality.

Can I get a CTD or COI overseas?

Outside Australia, it’s difficult to replace a Convention Travel Document or Certificate of Identity if it's lost, stolen, expired or damaged.

You can’t apply for these documents if you’re outside Australia and you’ve never held either of them before.

Can I get a CTD or COI if I’m unlawful?

Yes.

How do I choose between a CTD and a COI?

You don’t have to.

When we receive your application, we’ll assess your situation and work out which document you’re eligible to receive.

How long are CTDs and COIs valid for?

Convention Travel Documents are usually valid for one or two years.

Certificates of Identity are usually valid for two years. If you return to your home country and are eligible for a travel document from that country, your Certificate of Identity becomes invalid immediately.

How do I apply for a CTD or COI?

The only way to get an application form is to call us on 131 232. Select option zero (0) to be connected with an operator.

When you’ve filled in the form and have all the documents we require, you’ll need to call us again on 131 232 to make an appointment to lodge your application at a capital city passport office. You have to go to a passport office, not Australia Post.

If you’re overseas, contact your nearest Australian diplomatic or consular office to discuss whether you’re eligible to replace an existing CTD or COI.

When you lodge the application, we’ll ask you to sign a letter to confirm:

  • that you understand the terms of issue of the document
  • that it’s your responsibility to:
    • tell the Department of Home Affairs about your new travel document, and
    • confirm with every country you intend visiting that you meet their entry requirements.

You’ll need to tell the Department of Home Affairs about your new document so that:

  • it can update your visa with your new travel document
  • it can inform you about the travel conditions of your visa and whether you’ll be able to re-enter Australia
  • it can approve your travel, if your visa conditions require you to seek permission.

If you breach your visa conditions, your visa could be cancelled.

How do I get interpreting assistance?

If you need interpreting assistance to speak to us about your application, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450. TIS will arrange an interpreter in the language you speak and transfer your call to us at no cost to you.

What documents do I need?

When you apply for a Convention Travel Document (CTD) or Certificate of Identity (COI), you’ll need to bring us:

  • identity documents, and
  • any previous CTD or COI we’ve issued to you, and
  • a record of your current visa status.

The record of your visa status can include:

  • a Document for Travel to Australia (DFTTA) issued at the time you first travelled to Australia
  • a Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) printout
  • a Department of Home Affairs visa grant letter
  • an ImmiCard.

If you’re not a refugee, you’ll need to show us that you have overseas travel plans, for instance a draft itinerary or a travel booking quote. However, you should wait until you have your COI or CTD before you make firm travel arrangements or commit any funds for travel.

Unless you’re a refugee living lawfully in Australia, or you’re stateless, you need to show to us that you can’t get a travel document from the country of your nationality.

If you claim to be stateless in accordance with the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, we’ll confirm your claim with the Department of Home Affairs. An Australian immigration document that shows ‘stateless’ as your nationality is not enough to prove that you’re stateless. If you’re applying for a CTD or COI for a child, you’ll also need to meet our requirements for parental consent. There are special instructions if the child is a ward of the Immigration Minister.

More information from the Department of Home Affairs: