An ‘alert’ is an internal warning or notification placed on an individual’s record in the Passport Issuing Control System (PICS). Staff issuing travel documents must check PICS for alerts when processing every application.

If an alert has been issued for a person and the person applies for a travel document, the alert warns the officer processing the application that certain information must be considered in relation to the application or that a travel document must not be issued.

Alerts relate only to the issue of an Australian travel document. Alerts have no relevance to a person’s movements in or out of Australia nor can an alert prevent such travel where that person already holds a valid Australian or foreign travel document or is able to obtain a foreign travel document.

Checking for an alert

Requesting an alert

A person or eligible institution can request the placement of an alert on an individual’s record in PICS, as long as they can demonstrate a valid and reasonable case for:

All requests must be in writing and include:

DIAC creates citizenship alerts directly in PICS.

Law enforcement agencies and certain other organisations may request cancellation of a travel document and/or refusal to issue a passport. See ‘ Refusal/Cancellation Requests by Competent Authorities ’.

Advice to a person who requests an alert

When a person requests an alert, they must be advised in writing about the outcome of their request.

If the request has been successful, the person must be advised that an alert has been placed on PICS. A separate alert must be created for each application or issue. Under no circumstances should an existing alert be amended to incorporate new information.

The advice must state the period for which the alert will be in force and, if only for 12 months (for Stop Child alerts), indicate that it will be automatically deleted from the system after this period unless a request for renewal of the alert is received in writing and is accepted.

Validity period of alerts

Most alerts have a lifespan, after which they no longer apply. When alerts are created a period of time must be specified. See ‘ ’ for guidelines on alert periods.

A child alert is valid for 12 months only unless supported by a court order. If there is a court order which specifies a period of time, the alert must match the period specified in the court order. See ‘ Child alerts ’.