- We place a high priority on combating passport fraud and protecting the integrity of Australian travel documents
- The Australian Passports Act 2005 (the Act) includes a number of fraud-related offences, both in the application process and the subsequent use of Australian passports
- To safeguard against identity theft, you are required by law to report the loss or theft of your passport
Protecting the Australian passport
The Australian passport is regarded internationally as a high quality identity document. This is a key reason why Australians are granted visa-free travel to a number of overseas countries and allowed to travel across borders without hindrance.
The Australian Passport Office maintains the integrity of the Australian passport in a number of important ways, including the vigorous prosecution of acts of fraud, rigorous application processes and a technically sophisticated passport booklet.
What is passport fraud?
The Australian Passports Act 2005 includes a number of offences relating to fraud, both in the passport application process and the subsequent use of Australian passports.
These offences include:
- making or giving false statements in a passport application
- presenting false or misleading documents in a passport application
- improperly using or possessing an Australian passport
- selling, damaging, altering or dishonestly obtaining an Australian passport
- failing to report a lost or stolen Australian passport
Passport fraud may include such things as:
- forging the signature of a guarantor, witness or another person who has parental responsibility for a minor
- signing that you have witnessed a signature when you haven’t seen the person sign
- signing as the guarantor for someone you have not known for more than 12 months and declaring that you have
- using fake identity or birth documents or those not belonging to you
- giving your passport to someone else to use
- giving or selling your identity documents
Protecting the identities of Australian citizens is central to Australia’s national security and economic interests. Identity theft can be devastating to individuals, businesses and government. The misuse of false or stolen identities can be used to enable:
- terrorist acts
- serious crime
- breaches of border and citizenship controls
- financial crime, including money laundering, and financing of terrorism.
Victims of identity theft suffer significant financial and emotional costs and may experience difficulties in regaining control of their identity
Your passport is a vital tool in proving your identity.
Help us to help you protect your identity. Keep your passport secure at all times and be wary of providing your passport details especially over the Internet. For more information about identity security visit: www.ag.gov.au/identitysecurity
If your passport is lost or stolen
The loss or theft of your passport may also leave you vulnerable to identity fraud.
You are required by law to report the loss or theft of your passport as soon as possible.
If your passport goes missing you must report it to the Australian Passport Office online at www.passports.gov.au, or by calling the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232, or in person at your nearest Australian passport office. If you are overseas you may also report the loss to the nearest Australian diplomatic mission or consulate.
Passports reported as lost or stolen will be immediately and permanently cancelled. A cancelled passport must not be used for travel. It is illegal to do so and heavy penalties apply. We notify border control authorities in Australia and abroad when a passport is cancelled and request them to confiscate any cancelled passport that comes to their notice.
These measures help prevent the misuse of your lost or stolen passport.
If you recover a passport after reporting it lost or stolen, you must return it to the nearest Australian passport office. If you are overseas, return it to an Australian diplomatic mission or consulate. The passport will be physically cancelled and may be returned to you on request. However, the document can no longer be used for travel purposes. Under no circumstances should you try to use a passport that has been reported as lost or stolen.
Prosecution and penalties
Fraud prevention and detection is a key component of the Australian Passport Office’s passport issuing process. A team of professional fraud investigators vigorously pursues breaches of the Australian Passports Act 2005
Offences under the Australian Passports Act 2005 are indictable offences and can attract terms of imprisonment of 10 years or 1000 penalty units, or both (as at 28 December 2012, the value of each penalty unit was set at $170)
What to do if you know about passport fraud
If you have knowledge of anyone who may have committed passport fraud, or if you think you might be a victim, please advise the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232. If you are overseas, contact an Australian diplomatic mission or consulate. To find one near you, visit www.dfat.gov.au/missions/
Alternatively you may report fraud by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your information will be treated in strict confidence.
Please safeguard your passport
Remember to safeguard your passport at all times. When travelling overseas, it is often the only proof of identity that will be accepted. Please store you passport in the wallet provided to prevent damage. Additional fees apply to replace lost or stolen passports.
For the latest information about passports and copies of our other publications, visit our website, www.passports.gov.au or call the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) 131 232 in Australia. If you are overseas, contact an Australian diplomatic mission or consulate.
For travel advice and practical information to help you prepare for safe overseas travel, go to www.smartraveller.gov.au
If you are not fluent in English, you can use the Australian Government's Translating and Interpreting Service at your passport interview at no cost. If you need an interpreter or are visually impaired and need general passport information, please call APIS on 131 232
If you are deaf, or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service: TTY users telephone 133 677 and Speak and Listen users telephone 1300 555 727. Ask for APIS on 131 232.
We value your comments
We work hard to improve our service to you and we welcome your input about how our staff can make it even better. Please submit any compliments, complaints or comments to us in any of the following ways: