Entitlement & Lodgement
Entitled to an Australian passport
In accordance with the Australian Passports Act 2005, Section 7, an Australian citizen is entitled on application to be issued with an Australian passport. However Section 8 of the Act states that before a passport may be issued, citizenship and identity requirements must be satisfied. Sections 11 to 17 of the Act set out circumstances where the Minister may cancel and/or refuse to issue a passport.
Non entitlement to an Australian passport
An Australian passport must not be issued to a person who:
- Is not an Australian citizen or has ceased to be an Australian citizen. See ‘ Citizenship ’.
- Is not able to provide satisfactory proof of identity. See ‘ Identity ’.
Non Australian citizen or citizenship in doubt
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is responsible for decisions of citizenship.
In cases where it is clear that an applicant is not an Australian citizen, the decision to refuse an Australian passport is the responsibility of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
If there is any doubt regarding the applicant’s citizenship status for any reason, their application must not be accepted.
See also ‘ Doubt regarding Australian citizenship ’.
Refusal to issue a passport to an Australian citizen
The Australian Passports Act 2005, Sections 11 to 17, set out the provisions under which the Minister can cancel a passport and/or refuse to issue a passport to an Australian citizen for reasons relating to:
- The applicant is a child and all persons who have parental responsibility have not provided consent or the Approved Senior Officer (ASO) has not given approval for the issue of a travel document under the Australian Passports Act 2005, Subsection 11(2).
- The applicant is the subject of a competent authority refusal/cancellation request or has been refused the issue of a passport by the Minister or delegate under the Australian Passports Act 2005, Sections 12, 13, 14 or 16 (shown below) and has an alert recorded on the Passport Issuing Control System (PICS) preventing issue of travel document (see ‘ Refusal/Cancellation Requests by Competent Authorities ’):
- Australian law enforcement matters. See ‘ Australian law enforcement ’.
- International law enforcement cooperation. See ‘ International law enforcement ’.
- Potential harmful conduct/ security/offences against the Australian Passports Act 2005. See ‘ Potential for harmful conduct ’.
- Financial assistance to travellers (debts owed to the Commonwealth). See ‘ Debtors: request by competent authority ’.
- The applicant has reported the loss and/or theft of 2 or more Australian passports issued to the person within the last 5-year period prior to the current application and has been refused issue of a passport by the Minister or delegate under the Australian Passports Act 2005, Section 15. See ‘ Multiple loss/stolen travel document ’.
- The applicant is already the holder of a valid Australian passport and to whom the issue of a concurrent passport has not been approved under the Australian Passports Act 2005, Subsection 17(2). See ‘ Applicant already has a valid travel document ’ and ‘ Concurrent Passports ’.
- The applicant has an alert recorded against their name . Alerts raised under Section 11 (2) and 12 (1) of the Australian Passports Act 2005 automatically prohibit the issue of a travel document. See ‘ Alerts ’.
Additionally, a passport should not be issued if the applicant has not paid the appropriate application fee (except where fee has been waived – see ‘ Gratis Passports ’).
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. See ‘ Alerts ’.
A refusal to issue a passport is a reviewable decision under the Australian Passports Act 2005, Section 48, except where a declaration is made under section 11(3) of the Act (reasons relating to child without parental consent or court order for travel). If a decision is taken to refuse to issue a passport pursuant to these sections of the Act, the applicant must be informed in writing of the decision and notified of their right to seek a review of the decision. See ‘ Notification of decision not to issue passport and appeal rights ’ and ‘ Review of decisions ’.
Lodging and accepting an application at interview
Travel document application forms (PC1, 4, 5, 7, 8) stipulate the requirements that the adult or child applicant must meet when applying for an Australian travel document. A completed PC5 application (for Convention Travel Documents and Certificate’s of Identity) may be lodged in Australia by non-Australian citizens at a Passport Office only. See ‘ Certificate of Identity(COI) ’, ‘ Convention Travel Documents (CTD) ’ .
Lodging in Australia
Applicants residing in Australia must lodge their application in person at a Passport Office or an accredited Australia Post Outlet and attend an interview conducted by an accredited Interview Officer. See ‘ Delegations & Authorisations ’.
Lodging overseas – in person/mail
Applicants residing overseas must lodge their application with their nearest Australian Diplomatic or Consular Mission and should attend an interview conducted by an accredited Interview Officer or Authorised Officer. See ‘ Delegations & Authorisations ’.
Overseas missions have the discretion to accept renewal applications by mail if they believe that such practice is appropriate, taking into consideration local conditions (e.g. security and level of local mail service). The exception acknowledges the limited locations available overseas to attend an interview compared to the Australian network consisting of Passport Offices and Australia Post Outlets and the difficulty and costs applicants may incur in attending an interview. However, the overseas mission can request an applicant to attend an interview after lodging by mail if it is deemed necessary to establish identity/citizenship.
The passport to be replaced (and original supporting documentation for a PC8 application) must accompany the application.
Applicants whose previous passport was either lost, stolen or seriously damaged while overseas, and are seeking a replacement document, must attend a passport interview at an Australian diplomatic or consular mission overseas, see ‘ Lost/Stolen Travel Documents ’ and ‘ Damaged Travel Documents ’.
Purpose of the interview
The principle purpose of the interview is to positively confirm the identity of the applicant. The interviewer must also ensure information provided on the form is correct and supported, where necessary, by appropriate documentation so the applicant’s Australian citizenship status and entitlement to a travel document can be assessed by the Australian Passport Office.
Checking of the application form and documents that must be provided
Before accepting an application for an Australian passport, the interviewer must ensure that:
- The application is completed correctly and there are no unacceptable alterations (e.g. no white-out on a signature),.
- The two identical photographs are acceptable and are a good likeness to the applicant with one endorsed by the guarantor, see ‘ Photograph requirements ’.
- The signature boxes and declarations are signed appropriately. For adult applications, the applicant has signed the declaration. For child applications, the child has signed in the child signature box and the person with parental responsibility has signed the declaration. See ‘ Signatures and declaration ’.
- All supporting documents are originals. Photocopies, facsimiles and copies of documents certified by a Justice of the Peace cannot be accepted.
- Evidence of the applicant’s Australian citizenship (full Australian birth or an Australian citizenship certificate), see ‘ Citizenship ’.
- Evidence of the applicant’s identity is provided for all adults - personal identity documents (PIDS) combination is required (not applicable for a PC7 renewal form), see ‘ Identity ’.
- An appropriate guarantor has been provided, see ‘ Guarantor ’.
- If required, evidence of a change to the applicant’s name from the name shown on the cardinal document is provided (not applicable for a PC7 renewal form), see ‘ Names ’.
- If required, english translations of foreign supporting documents is provided, see ‘ Foreign language documents - translations ’.
- In the case of lost or stolen passports, the procedures as outlined in ‘ Lost/Stolen Travel Documents ’ are followed.
- Completed declaration ‘B’ forms are submitted where appropriate.
- Other evidence that the interviewing officer may deem necessary to establish identity, citizenship and entitlement. This may include additional identity documents.
- Collect the appropriate application fee (in the correct currency if lodged overseas).
See ‘ Interview ’ for details of lodgement requirements.
For additional lodgement requirements in respect to a child application, see ‘ Supporting documentation for child application ’.
First Adult Passport
All adults applying for their first adult Australian passport including those who held a passport as a child, must complete and lodge a full application form and attend a passport interview.
Renewing an adult passport: PC7 form
Applicants renewing an adult passport may submit a form PC7, provided they can meet the eligibility subject to certain conditions. (See ‘ Renewal Applications ’ for further information.)
See ‘ Renewal Applications ’ .
Passport applications may be considered to be ‘incomplete’ where an applicant’s identity or citizenship is not in question but the applicant has failed within 28 days (or longer if an extension is agreed to) to:
- provide the required information;
- provide the information in the approved form (eg. quality of photos); or
- resolve any outstanding issues.
When the applicant has failed to resolve the matter or provide the appropriate information and all efforts are made by the Passport Office to obtain the missing information from the applicant, then the application should be deemed to be ‘incomplete’ and removed from the system.
Letter 32 should be sent to the applicant, advising that the application is incomplete and cannot proceed. All application fees (including the PPF and lost/stolen) must be returned to the applicant.
An incomplete application does not provide a right to a review as no decision has been made on the applicant’s entitlement to a passport. The applicant will need to re-apply and pay the appropriate fees with all required documentation when they next lodge an application.
Applicant already has a valid travel document
The Passport Issuing Control System (PICS) may indicate that an applicant who has submitted an application already has a valid travel document of the same type and:
- the application does not record the loss or theft of that document; and
- there is no indication of formal approval given for that person to hold two concurrent travel documents or hold an uncancelled passport while a new passport is being produced.
A replacement document is not to be issued without approval , however, where it is determined the application is genuine and the applicant can confirm that they are not seeking a concurrent document but wish to proceed to replace their current valid travel document then the applicant must surrender the valid travel document to the Passport Office or overseas mission so it can be cancelled both physically and on PICS before any replacement document is to be issued. There are no exceptions. If the holder cannot located and surrender the valid travel document, then the document should be considered as lost/stolen. See ‘ Lost/Stolen Travel Documents ’.
Letter 15 must be sent to the applicant to request that the valid document be surrendered and cancelled. If the applicant wishes to have the cancelled document returned the applicant must provide a stamped self-addressed envelope of suitable size to hold the document. The travel document may then be returned to the applicant separately from the new one after it has been physically and electronically cancelled . Where no self-addressed envelope is provided the travel document should be destroyed in the normal manner immediately after it has been electronically cancelled.
Foreign language documents - translations
If an applicant is required to submit documents such as a birth certificate written in a foreign language, a translation provided by a translating and interpreting service recognised or issued by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) (or the Australian diplomatic or consular mission overseas/post if DIAC is not represented at that mission) must be provided with the document.
In Australia DIAC recognises translators accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). The Community Relations Commission (CRC) for a multicultural NSW employs NAATI accredited translators, therefore translations on CRC letterhead certified as an extract translation of the document(s) attached and which include the ID number of the translator and editor are acceptable.
When an applicant lodges overseas and provides a translation as part of their application, the post must confirm that the translation has been performed by a post/DIAC approved translation service. The interviewing or authorising officer must then certify the front page of the translated document (not the original foreign document) with an official stamp and seal stating that the foreign document has been translated by the overseas post approved translation service.
The certification confirms that the document has been translated by an approved service for that post/country. The applicant can use the certified translation for all future passport applications regardless of where the applicant lodges their application.
When an applicant provides foreign documentation that has been translated but has not been certified by an overseas post the applicant must provide a new translation. A new translation is required regardless of whether the applicant has used the original translation for previous passport applications.
- If the application is lodged in Australia the translation must be performed by a NAATI accredited translation service (CRC translations are also acceptable, see above);
- If the application is lodged overseas the translation must be performed by either a NAATI accredited translation service or a post/DIAC approved service that can be confirmed and certified by the post.
Different procedures are in place for the provision of translated documents for child applicants who were adopted under Intercountry Adoptions process, see ‘ Adoption overseas ’.
Not cancelling a passport whilst application being processed
Interviewing officers may accept a request from an applicant not to cancel a passport on applying for a new passport if the applicant can satisfy the Authorised Officer that the applicant has a genuine need to continue holding the passport being replaced. It is expected that this would only occur for overseas lodgements where an Emergency Passports or Limited Validity Passports are not a workable option.
The request can be made in writing if the applicant lodges their application by mail if lodging overseas. The applicant must provide evidence of:
- Frequent travel for business purposes in the form of either a letter from a senior representative of the applicant’s employer; or
- Evidence that the person is travelling within the next ten working days (this would usually be in the form of issued tickets). Travel can be for private or business purposes; or
- Evidence of the need to hold a valid passport while a replacement passport is being processed and a letter from the mission won’t suffice; or
- Where a foreigner is required by local law to hold a valid passport at all times.
Only in the above instances may the interviewing officer return to the applicant an uncancelled passport that is being replaced.
The interviewing officer must advise the passport holder in writing that they will not receive their replacement passport until the passport being replaced is returned to the mission and physically cancelled (Letter 15).
- Evidence of the child’s identity and Australian citizenship, see ‘ Lodging and accepting an application at interview ’, ‘ Identity ’ and ‘ Citizenship ’.
- An original full birth certificate (Australian or foreign) must be submitted on each occasion to establish parental responsibility.
- Further documentation may be required to support an application where a child has been adopted, see ‘ Adoption in Australia ’ and ‘ Adoption overseas ’.
- Appropriate declaration forms (e.g. B6, B7, B8, B9 or B11) have been completed and included with the application where required.
- If required, English translations of foreign supporting documents is provided. See ‘ Foreign language documents - translations ’.
Signatures and declaration
Child’s signature and parent declaration
A person with parental responsibility must sign and date the declaration on the application form. They must not sign in the child signature box.
Children under 10 years old are considered to be too young to provide a legible signature in the space allowed for the child’s signature however, if signed by the child and the signature is inside the signature box it can be accepted and it will appear in the travel document. Otherwise, the application form must be marked ‘unable to sign’ and no signature will appear in the travel document.
For applicants who are able to sign, if there is a problem with the signature (e.g. it extends outside the box), the applicant should re-sign in the additional signature box provided.
Unable to sign declaration and signature to appear in the travel document
If an applicant 10 years or over (including adults) is unable to sign the signature box and/or declaration section on the application form (e.g. medical reason) the interviewer should ensure that the application form is marked “unable to sign” and no signature will appear in the travel document. The applicant or the person assisting the applicant should be asked to provide one of the following :
- a statement (B11 form) usually from the person assisting the applicant at lodgement (e.g. family member/carer/friend) stating the reasons why the applicant is unable to sign; or
- a letter from a medical practitioner stating the reasons why the applicant is unable to sign;
The person assisting the applicant must NOT sign the declaration.
The declaration on an application form must be read and signed by the applicant or person with parental responsibilty of a child applicant (unless they are unable to sign – see above). Under the Australian Passports Act 2005, Part 4, Division 2, it is a criminal offence to make false or misleading statements.
The declaration advises how the information provided by the applicant on the application form will be used. Applicants have the option to object to the use of their information for internal training purposes. Any applicants that object to using their information are to be advised to call the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS).
All interviewers must sign the declaration on the application form declaring that the photograph attached to the application form is a true photo of the applicant and that they have conducted the interview and confirmed the information provided. Under the Australian Passports Act 2005, Part 4, Division 2, it is a criminal offence to make false or misleading statements.
Scanning application to Production Centre
Sample letters for requesting additional information
Lodgement of child application
A child’s application may be submitted on behalf of the child by a person with parental responsibility (in most cases a parent). One piece of photographic identification is required from the lodging parent at interview. No identification is required from the non-lodging parent.
Circumstances may occur where a child wishes to lodge on his/her own behalf or another person without parental responsibility wishes to lodge on the child’s behalf. However, it would only be in exceptional circumstances that the interviewer should accept an application lodged by the child or a third party. The interviewer must be satisfied that extenuating circumstances exist preventing the parents, or another person with parental responsibility, or another eligible person from lodging the application and urgent circumstances do not allow deferral of lodgement.
In these cases guidance from Canberra may be required.
Identify the person lodging a child application
A person lodging an application on behalf of a child must provide proof of identity for themselves. Preferably this would be a document providing photo and signature evidence of the person, such as a driver licence. They also need to prove that they have parental responsibility for the child (i.e. child’s birth certificate/court orders).
Where a parent’s name has changed since the child’s birth, documents linking the current name of the parent(s) to the names of the parents recorded on the child’s birth certificate are required.
Lodgement in Australia for a child currently overseas
Only in exceptional circumstances should applications for children who are overseas be accepted for lodgement in Australia. These cases must be referred to Canberra for a decision at an appropriate level.
Supporting documentation for child application
The PC4 and PC8 application forms stipulate that certain supporting documents are required for child passports.
All child applications must be checked by the interviewer to ensure that the following is provided:
See also ‘ Lodging and accepting an application at interview ’.
Renewing a child's passport
Parental consent: renewal of a child's passport
Children cannot ‘renew’ a passport like an adult can using a PC7 form as parental consent must be confirmed for each application. An application for the renewal/replacement of a child’s passport that was issued without full consent requires the same documentation and the same treatment as the initial application.
Lost/stolen child passports whilst overseas
If the child’s previous travel document was either lost or stolen while overseas, and the applicant is seeking a replacement document, a completed application form must be lodged and the person lodging on behalf of the child must attend an interview at an Australian diplomatic mission or consulate overseas.
For all applications, the person lodging the application must be able to identify themselves, and the interviewer must be able to establish their relationship to the child, see ‘ Lodgement of child application ’.
All persons with parental responsibilities must provide consent to the issue. Where these consents are not provided (but required) the application requires Approved Senior Officer (ASO) approval.
Replacing a child’s passport held by the other guardian
Any person with parental responsibility who has given consent for the issue of a travel document for a child is entitled to hold/possess that travel document. It is not the APO’s role to decide who holds a child’s travel document.
If either person who has given consent requests a replacement travel document for a child because the other parent is holding the child’s existing travel document, the matter must be referred to the Approved Senior Office for determination using the B12 form.
Cases of a parent or guardian holding a child’s travel document against the wishes of the other parent in Australia should generally be required to be resolved by the parents themselves, or referred to the court for decision.
Only if there is evidence of fraud or court orders are to be taken into account should the matter be considered by an ASO. Certainly in Australia and possibly Hague Convention countries the ASO should generally make a declaration under section 11(3) and advise the parents the matter is one for the courts.