Passport fraud

The Australian passport is internationally regarded as a high quality travel and identity document. This is a key reason why Australians are granted visa-free travel to some countries, and are generally allowed to cross borders without hindrance. 

We maintain the integrity of the Australian passport in several ways, including through rigorous processing of applications, a technically sophisticated passport booklet and the prevention and detection of passport fraud.

We can refuse to process an application for an Australian travel document if we have reasonable grounds to suspect that there is fraud or dishonesty in the application. In these cases, the application fee will not be refunded. Examples include:

  • forging the signature of a person with parental responsibility for a child, whether or not that person consents to the issue of a travel document to the child
  • failing to identify all persons with parental responsibility for a child
  • falsely signing as a witness on a travel document application
  • misrepresenting the length of time the guarantor has known the applicant.

A team of professional fraud investigators vigorously pursues breaches of the Australian Passports Act 2005. Offences under the Act are indictable and can attract terms of imprisonment of 10 years or 1000 penalty units.*

Offences in relation to travel document applications, travel documents and their use include:

  • making false or misleading statements
  • giving false or misleading information
  • producing false or misleading documents
  • improperly using or possessing an Australian travel document, including by giving your passport to someone else to use
  • selling, damaging, altering or dishonestly obtaining an Australian travel document
  • failing to report a lost or stolen Australian travel document.

If you suspect someone of committing passport fraud, or if you think you may be a victim, please advise us by emailing passports.fraud@dfat.gov.au or calling an Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232 or contacting an Australian diplomatic mission or consulate. We will treat your information in strict confidence.

If you are a victim of identity crime, you can seek support by contacting Idcare through www.idcare.org or phone toll free in Australia on 1300 432 273.

For more information about identity security, visit www.ag.gov.au/identitysecurity

* One penalty unit is currently valued at $180. The value is reviewed every three years. The next review will be in 2018.