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Wednesday, September 20, 2023

How to apply for Australian passport

Australia, the largest “continent-country” in the world, is famous everywhere for its natural wonders, large open spaces, fantastic world-class beaches, deserts, “The Great Outback”, “The Bush”, and so many more such unique places that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.

Additionally, Australia also is one of the most urbanized countries in the world. It is home to world-famous megacities like Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, to name a few.

The lure and charm of Australia

Australia prides itself on its fairness in treating everyone, irrespective of class, caste, colour, race, or religion. It believes in giving everyone “a fair go” at all opportunities wherever they are. It is also very famous for its dry yet witty sense of humour, and also the sporting prowess of its people.

Caleb Russel/Unsplash.Copyright2022

The stunning scenery of some of the locales in this beautiful country is yet another factor that keeps pulling people towards it, irrespective of borders.

The above reasons, and more, are why people all over the world, even the Western nations, are so keen on moving and settling “Down Under”.

In addition to the above, there are a few more reasons why people all over the world seek and covet an Australian Passport –

Superb job opportunities – Australia has a great work culture, as well as very high salaries across all occupation levels and grades. It also has shorter work hours and a well-balanced “work-life balance” culture.

Excellent climate – Most of the habitable areas of Australia are in the Temperate Zone, which means pleasant and cool weather all through the year.

Excellent quality of life – The beautiful weather, shorter working hours, world-class working conditions, more Public Holidays, high wages across industries, and varied cuisine all combine together to provide a quality of life in Australia, that is unmatched across most nations.

Friendly people; welcoming culture – People in Australia generally are very friendly and open. They welcome outsiders warmly and are quite chilled-out as a population.
Excellent health-care system – Access to top-quality health care is much easier in Australia than in many other countries. This ensures peace of mind and assurance for applicants, especially those with families.

All of the above reasons and more, contribute in a very significant way to people all over the world clamouring for an Australian Passport, and settling down or working in Australia.

Why apply for an Australian Passport?

An Australian Passport is currently one of the most coveted and desired identification documents in the world. It is ranked # 8 in the list of most powerful passports in the world, in terms of freedom to travel. An Australian Passport holder can travel freely to nearly 180 countries, both visa-free, as well as with visa-on-arrival. It is generally considered one of the best passports to travel on, globally.

Australian Passport
Museums Victoria/Unsplash.Copyright2022

Additionally, you get full consular assistance anywhere in the world, when you travel with this passport. This becomes critical if you meet with an accident or are accused of any crime, while you’re in a foreign country. Also, the Australian Consulate offers all possible assistance to the maximum possible extent, if a passport holder dies overseas.

If you want to know more about the Australian administration you can also check out this article.

Let’s now discuss the ways for applying for a Passport.

Department of foreign affairs and Trade

The Australian Department of foreign affairs and Trade is the passport-issuing authority in Australia. Let’s now see the documents required for applying for a passport. They are –

Your Complete Birth Certificate – This is for ascertaining and confirming your exact date of birth. If an individual is born in Australia, this would be an original certificate of birth, issued by the Australian Registry of Births. You’ll need to bring this to the passport office.

Any and all evidence of you being an Australian citizen – This depends on 3 factors –

  • If you were born overseas – If you were born outside Australia, then, you would be asked to furnish an Australian Certificate of Citizenship in your name, when visiting the passport office.
  • If you were born in Australia, before 20th August 1986 – In this case, an applicant only has to show his full Birth Certificate issued by the Australian Registry for Births, Deaths, and Marriages, at the passport office.
  • If you were born in Australia, on or after 20th August 1986 – For this, an applicant can show any one of –
  • An Australian Certificate of Citizenship was issued in your name.
  • A passport issued in your name on or after 1st January 2000, which was valid for a minimum of 2 years, and

Any other document that proves that you are an Australian citizen by birth.

All personal identification documents, with your photos, signatures, and present-day residential addresses.
If you have changed your name/sex, then, all documents relating to such changes.

All the above documents have to be brought physically while you lodge your application. Also, all these documents MUST BE in originals. Copies are not accepted.

For overseas individuals opting to apply for a passport, the procedure, as per foreign affairs and trade, is –

You need to ascertain, first and foremost, the type of passport form to be used for your application.

Now, once you have decided, you can get your specific passport form by –

  1. Downloading one from http://passports.gov.au/
  2. Visiting your nearest Australian Consulate and requesting a form.

You can also contact the nearest Australian High Commission or Consulate and request for a form to be mailed to you.

Types of Passport Application forms

As specified by the Department of foreign affairs and Trade, there are 2 types of Application forms that you can opt for, depending on your individual requirement –

1) PC7 – This is the form that should be filled out for passport renewal.
2) PC8 – This form should be used for applying for a new passport overseas application.

For additional information about the Department of foreign affairs and trade, check this article.

Image Source: Depositphotos

Applying for an Australian passport

Usually, the process of applying for a passport is divided into 7 different steps, as specified by the Department of Foreign Affairs –

STEP 1 – Find and arrange all your original documents

This is the same as explained above – Birth Certificate, evidence of existing Australian citizenship, All personal identification and, name/sex change documents.

How do you prove your Australian Citizenship?

If you have one of –

Conferral Certificate
Evidence Certificate
Declaratory Certificate
Certificate of Naturalisation
You will be considered an Australian citizen.

For a passport application, the following documents can be considered as the equivalent of an Australian Citizenship Certificate –

Citizenship by descent

Australian Citizenship Certificate of Adoption
Any Acquisition Letter issued by the Home Affairs department, with the status “Acquired” in the “Citizenship Status” field (for citizenship by descent, or adoption only)

Proving Citizenship by Birth

For anyone born on or after 20th August 1986, if any one parent was an Australian citizen on the day you were born, a complete Birth Certificate, and –

Your parent’s full birth certificate that clearly displays that he/she was born in Australia, before 20th August 1986
The passports issued to your parents, on or after 20 August 1986, should have been valid for a minimum of 2 years, and also issued BEFORE you were born, and
Your parent’s Australian Citizenship Certificate shows that they acquired Australian Citizenship before you were born.

STEP 2 – Find and arrange an individual to be your referee/guarantor

For any new Australian passport application, you’ll need a guarantor or a referee. This works in 2 ways

If you use the online passport application service and also apply in Australia, you’ll need to nominate a referee. For all other cases, you’ll need to nominate a guarantor.
A referee (online applications) does not need to commit to or sign anything but confirms your identity, if / when the Australian passport office contacts him/her.
A guarantor (offline applications), should sign Section 11 of your Passport Application Form and also must endorse the back of your passport photo, by writing “This is a true photo of “, and signing with a black pen.

Now, as specified by the Department of foreign affairs and Trade, there are certain mandatory conditions for referees and guarantors too. You need to make sure that –

Your referee/guarantor MUST BE an Australian citizen, who has known you for at least a year, and
The referee/guarantor CAN NOT BE any kind of relative, or in any kind of de-facto relationship with you, or living at the same residential address as you.

You will need your referee/guarantor’s full name, ongoing phone number, and either their latest Australian passport details or the latest address mentioned in the electoral roll, for the last 12 months.

For overseas passport applications, your guarantor needs to be someone with a current Australian passport, or an individual of any nationality working in any approved Occupational Group, as mentioned in the Australian diplomatic or consular missions.

STEP 3 – Completing the Passport Application

Image Source: Depositphotos

There are two ways of completing your Application –

Offline Mode – If you’re not going the online way, you can just visit the nearest participating Australia Post outlet, or a Passport Office, and request a blank Passport Application Form. You can also visit an Australian diplomatic or Consular Mission and request a blank Application Form. You may also need to book an appointment at your nearest Passport Office. Additionally, you can call on 131 232, or manually contact an Australian diplomatic or Consular Mission. The Mission will ensure that you qualify, and then, send you a pre-filled Application form, by either e-mail or post.

Online Mode – Going online is the easiest way to go about your Passport Application. This is a fully-automated AI-based website that guides you through each question, to ensure that you get your answers right. According to a survey, more than 70% of applicants avail of the online service.

STEP 4 – Print the completed Application form

For online applications submitted within Australia, the system will auto-generate an application checklist. The applicant needs to make sure to print this checklist, as it informs the applicant about all the original documents to bring with him/her when they lodge their application form.

If you apply online from any overseas location, the website will automatically generate a completed Application form for you. You’ll need to –

Print the completed form.
If you reside in a country that doesn’t use standard A4 paper, you’ll need to set your printer to utilize the “Scale to printable area” option.
Bring all the original documents as mentioned in Step 1, when you lodge your application form.

STEP 5 – Arrange for your Passport photos

The passport photos you submit should meet a specific set of criteria while lodging your application form –

There should be 2 high-quality identical photos.
Both of them should be less than 6 months old.
The photos should be generated using dye sublimation, and NOT an inkjet printer.
Absolutely no retouching (for removal of moles, warts, wrinkles, scars, etc…) of any kind will be allowed.
They should be clear and focused, with no red eye.
They should be taken either in the plain white or light grey background that contrasts your face.
The photos should be taken in uniform lighting, with no shadows or reflections.
They should be taken in appropriate brightness and contrast to display your natural skin tone.
Your face should be perfectly centred and you should be looking at the camera straight on. Your face should not be tilted in any direction whatsoever.
Your hair should not cover your face so that the edges of your face are clearly delineated and visible.
Your expression should be neutral, i.e, no smiling, frowning, or laughing.
If you’re used to covering your head for religious purposes, or if you’re used to covering your head whilst crossing international borders, then, you can wear the same coverage in your passport photo.
Jewellery should NOT BE a part of your face at any time when your picture is being captured. No jewellery should obscure any part of your face, especially your eyes, mouth, and nose. Additionally, there should be absolutely no reflection from rings or studs.
In case you wear spectacles, the frame or glass SHOULD NOT obscure your eyes, and also, there should be no reflection from the lenses.

In addition to the above conditions, one of your two photos MUST BE endorsed by a guarantor.

Each photo has to be 35 to 40 mm wide, and 45 to 50 mm tall.

STEP 6 – Lodge your application and pay the fee

After completing all steps mentioned in STEP 5, you need to lodge your application and pay the passport fee at any participating Australian Post outlet or an Australian Consul or Diplomatic Mission.

You may need to book an appointment in certain locations, as part of the lodging process.

When you visit the passport office to lodge your application, you’ll need to carry your application checklist or form, your photos, and any other original documents that are required by the authorities.

STEP 7 – Informing when your Passport is ready

This is the final step in your passport application process. The Passport office will send you an email when your passport is ready. The entire process, from lodging your application to the actual delivery of your passport, can take up to 6 weeks.

Passport office

Image Source: Depositphotos

The Australian Passport Office is an independent entity working for the Australian government, with bureaucratic oversight of the Department of foreign affairs and trade. The passport office provides all passports to Australian citizens. It also issues all other travel-related documents to both citizens, as well as non-citizens.

The passport office works in sync with both, Australia post and Australian Passport Information Services (APIS). The passport office is the best way to lodge your application offline.

Fees for an Adult Passport Application

There are a few fee tiers that you’ll need to pay, depending on the criteria that you fit in –

Passport with 10-year validity (for anyone above the age of 16): $308
Passport with 5-year validity (for children under the age of 16): $155
Optional Passport for persons above the age of 75: $155
Replacement Passport: $193
Overseas Emergency Passport: $193

Additional Fees –

Priority Processing: $225
Overseas surcharge – Adult: $138
Overseas surcharge – Child: $67
Where to pay the Passport fees

You can pay the fees at –

The Passport Office, or
At any participating Australia Post outlet

If you are overseas, then, you’ll have to pay the amount equivalent in your local currency, for the above-mentioned fee amounts.

Emergency Passports

In usual cases, you have to wait for up to 6 weeks from lodging your application, till you receive your passport. In cases, where an individual cannot wait that long, you can still apply for an Emergency Passport.

Emergency Passports are valid for 12 months, and they also don’t have an embedded chip in them. Due to this deficiency, some countries restrict the usage of such Emergency Passports.

It is suggested that you apply for a full-validity passport simultaneously, with your Emergency Passport, so that when you arrive home after your travel, you can immediately collect your full-validity passport.

Footer Legal Menu

The footer legal menu of the official site can also aid you with resources to get Australian passports. The footer menu has sections like contact or call us that provide you with trustworthy contact information to their office.

An Australian Passport will allow a holder, visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to most countries in the world. This is why millions of people all over the world apply for Australian passports.

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