An Australian passport possesses an added degree of significance beyond serving as an identification document. It is in deference to this fact that it is ranked among the top ten ‘strongest’ in the world, along with Japan, Germany, South Korea, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Canada, Czech Republic, Malta, Poland etc. An Australian passport guarantees visa-free access for periods ranging from 7 days to 180 days to more than 50 countries, as well as an instant visa to a number of countries. According to the Henley Passport Index, a credible global ranking, the Australian passport unlocks visa-free travel possibilities to 185 countries in the world.
The Australian Passport Office, domiciled in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is responsible for overseeing passport issuance. Australian Passports are generally of two categories: adult, seniors and children. These categories are differentiated by varying validity timeframes. In the case of adult passports, it takes ten years to expire. Seniors passport expires after five years.
General Eligibility Requirements
Overall eligibility requirements dictate that interested applicants meet the basic criterion of Australian citizenship. This condition is satisfied if:
- Applicant was born in Australia on a date not exceeding August 20, 1986
- Applicant was born on a date matching or exceeding August 20, 1986, to a parent who was either a citizen or permanent resident in Australia.
- Applicant has lived their first ten years of life after birth in Australia and was born on a date matching or exceeding August 20, 1986
- Applicant’s place and date of birth were in the former Australian Territory of Papua and before September 16, 1975
- Applicant was born in the diaspora on a date before January 26, 1949, to an Australian father and emigrated to Australia on a date before May 1, 1987.
- Applicant was permanently resident and adopted in Australia by an Australian citizen on a date matching or exceeding November 22, 1984
- Applicant was a migrant who acquired citizenship status in Australia.
- Applicant acquired citizenship by reason of descent consequent upon an application
- Applicant acquired citizenship status as a benefactor of the provisions of ‘full and permanent’ Hague arrangements
- Applicant was formerly a British subject as of January 25, 1949, and became resident in Australia for a minimum period of five years beginning from January 26, 1944, and terminating on January 25, 1949.
- Applicant was formerly a British subject as of January 25, 1949, and in marital union with a male Australian citizen, relocated to Australia and acquired permanent residence before January 26, 1949
- Applicant was a British subject of New Guinean descent on January 25, 1949
This variant of Australian passport is purposely for unmarried Australian citizens aged 17 and below – married applicants who fall within this category are statutorily mandated to apply for adult passports. Australian child passport has two different validity timeframes. Applicants who fall between 16 and 17 years are issued passports that are valid for 10 years. 15-year-olds and below are issued passports useable for five years. Applications are conducted with the consent and involvement of guardians legally responsible for the applicant.
Applicants compulsorily present original copies of the following documents during the application process:
- Evidence of Australian citizenship
- An official certificate of birth, specifying gender and birthplace
- In the event of name changes, supporting legal documents to prove.
- Court documents and supplementary passport forms will be required to establish holders of legal rights, authority, and responsibilities over the child.
Applicants also require a guarantor, an adult Australian citizen related in no way to the applicant or anyone exercising parental responsibility for the child. To qualify to act as guarantor, such an individual must have known the child for a specified period of twelve months and beyond. Guarantors supply signatures and information for forms and documents.
Applications for child passports may be undertaken through two platforms – namely:
– Through Australia Post
Applications routed through this method go through the following procedures:
- Completion of an online form or collection of a paper copy of the application form from a designated Australian Post location
- A passport photograph
- Application lodging at a designated Australian Post location
- Payment of a non-refundable application fee. The Australia Post accepts payments through electronic channels or by cash.
Delivery and receipt of passport occur within six weeks from the date the application is lodged and collected.
– Through An Australian Foreign Diplomatic Mission
This application method is for applicants who are living outside Australia. The following procedures apply:
- Filling out an online application form. In the event that this is not possible, paper copies of the form can be gotten in person from the Australian foreign mission.
- Attachment of documents to verify the applicant’s identity and citizenship. These documents include an Australian citizenship certificate or official birth certificate.
- Written consent from each person legally responsible for the child.
- Passport photographs
- Guarantor’s form
- Booking an interview appointment at the Australian foreign mission location to submit the filled application
- Application submission and payment of application fee.
The delivery timeline for this method is a maximum of 6 weeks.
Adult Australian Passports are issued to Australian citizens aged 18 and above with a validity period of 10 years. Eligible Australian citizens satisfy a number of requirements relating to identity and citizenship. The following documents are typically required:
- An official Australian birth certificate
- Evidence to authenticate Australian citizenship
- Identification documents bearing photograph, signature and address as at the time of application. Acceptable identification documents are grouped into three categories: Category A, Category B and Category C. Category A documents are comprised of a valid Australian-issued driver licence, an Australian-issued proof of age card (for applicants in Australia), foreign residency identity card, foreign-issued driver licence (for applicants outside Australia). Category B documents include credit card, Medicare or Centre link cards, foreign-issued passport (for domestic-based applicants), national health card, social security card, credit card and national insurance card (for foreign-based applicants). Category C documents include vehicle registration or insurance credentials, utility bills, bank or credit card statements, home insurance documents.
- Supporting documents to prove name or gender change.
Along with these necessary documents, the applicant is required to produce a guarantor or referee. The referee/guarantor, as the rules state, must be an adult Australian who has known the applicant for a period exceeding one year. Furthermore, such an individual must not share a common address and relations with the applicant. The guarantor or referee supplies contact information to be used by the applicant for application such as name, number and address in Australia. Applicants applying from outside Australia are given the latitude to recruit their guarantor from a pool of options, like a current Australian passport holder or any foreign national belonging to specified occupations.
The Application Process
To apply, applicants may either complete an online application or use the following options:
Applying through Australia Post
This method involves in-person visits to an Australian Post location to collect a paper copy of the application form and lodge a completed application. Some Post locations may require appointment bookings. The lodging process involves the examination of original copies of required documents and passport photographs to ensure they meet set criteria. The applicant may also be quizzed to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of all information contained in the completed application. Applicants will also pay a non-refundable application fee.
Delivery of passports applied for using this method typically does not exceed six weeks.
Applying through an Australian Foreign Diplomatic Mission
An applicant living outside Australia may alternatively lodge an application at the nearest Australian foreign diplomatic mission (embassy, high commission, consulate etc.). This method involves the presentation of requirements and supporting documents along with an application fee payment.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much is the application fee for an Australian passport?
Application fee charges vary according to the type of passport applied for. Current charges are as follows A $308 (for passports with ten-year validity), A $155 (for passports with a five-year validity), A $193 (for a replacement passport and overseas emergency passport). Passport applications may also incur additional charges such as A$225 (for urgent applications), surcharges of A$138 and $67 for foreign-based adult and child applicants, respectively, and A$15 for observations made after passport. The passport fee is payable after lodging the application.
2. What are the available methods of paying the passport application fee?
Fees charged for passport applications can be paid through a number of channels. Apart from applications made via the Australia Post, other application methods require electronic payments with no allowance for cash payments.
3. How long does it take to receive an Australian Passport after application?
Passport delivery occurs within six weeks. However, applicants may be able to shorten the wait to two working days. This is done through priority processing for an extra fee charged in the latter case.