Damaged Travel Documents

Damaged travel documents: general

Under the Australian Passports Determination, Section 5.2 a passport ceases to be valid if the passport is damaged and no longer usable as evidence of the identity and citizenship of its holder or to facilitate international travel. The Determination describes the circumstances in which a passport may be considered to be damaged and therefore invalid. See ‘ Serious damage to travel document ’. Delegated officers under the Australian Passports Act, Section 24, employed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Immigration and Citizenship and Customs are authorised to make decisions as to whether a passport is seriously damaged and demand up the passport for cancellation and destruction. See ‘ Demanding the surrender of travel documents (impounds) ’.

A seriously damaged Australian travel document cannot be used as proof of citizenship or identity and therefore cannot be used to renew a passport (using a PC7 form). A lost/stolen fee may be charged for an unexpired seriously damaged Australian travel document that cannot clearly be identified as belonging to the applicant, see ‘ Unrecognised passport due to serious damage ’.

Minimal damage to travel document

Minor damage associated with normal wear and tear is not generally sufficient to render a travel document invalid. Examples include:

Serious damage to travel document

The Australian Passports Determination 2005, Section 5.2 provides for when a travel document may be declared invalid if it is seriously damaged so that it is unusable for its intended purpose (i.e. international travel or identity purposes) and the holder is likely to experience problems at border points because of the condition of the document.

One or more of the following features may render a travel document invalid:

Electronic chip failure

In the event of a chip being reported as having malfunctioned or failed, the client should be requested to present the passport to the nearest Australian Passport Office in Australia.