Identity

Summary

Proving identity: summary

Identity theft is a growing problem within Australia. Research has shown that this problem is closely linked to organised crime and the illegal use of Australian travel documents.

The positive confirmation of the applicant’s identity is therefore a crucial part of the passport interviewing and processing procedures and must be given a high priority by passport staff. Where there are any doubts whatsoever an Australian travel document must not be issued without those doubts being resolved.

Personal Identity Documents (PIDS)

definition

As part of a whole of government initiative to strengthen the proof of identity procedures within the public sector, agreement was reached amongst a wide range of key Commonwealth agencies on the introduction of a standardised proof of identity model based on those identity documents assessed to have the required integrity.

This model is defined as the Prescribed Identification Document System (PIDS) more commonly referred to as Personal Identity Documents.

PIDS consists of two components:

Categories A, B and C documents

The three PIDS categories (A, B and C) listed on adult passport application forms are designed to perform specific functions in confirming an applicant’s identity at interview. In accordance with National Privacy Principles, where the applicant has provided PIDS that show information that is not required for the purposes of issuing a travel document, this information must be blacked out. Generally this will mean that bank account details (numbers and balances) shown on the bank/credit cards and bank account records will need to be blacked out prior to scanning by the interviewer. Information relevant only to the application will be retained by the Department (See ‘ Confidentiality of records / Privacy Act 1988 / Freedom of Information (1.3.3) ).

Category A documents: PIDS

Includes those documents that can tie the applicant's face to a name i.e. documents that contain a photographic image of the holder and the person’s signature:

Category B documents: PIDS

Includes those documents that prove the person operates in the community in that identity:

Category C documents: PIDS

Includes those documents that prove that the person in that identity is a resident in the community and provides proof of the person’s address:

Photographic ID – acceptable PIDS examples

Photo ID should be in the form of an official document that includes a photograph and signature. Examples include a drivers’ licence, residency card, credit card, birth card, student card or an employment identity card.

Acceptable PIDS combinations

All applicants must provide one of the following three combinations of original documents to confirm identity and photo ID.

Where an applicant has changed his/her name it is possible the PIDS documents presented are in the person’s previous name. In such cases it is important for the interviewing officer to confirm the link between the PIDS documents, the person lodging the application and the new and previous names.

The acceptable PIDS combinations are listed below.

Combination 1: PIDS

Two documents as follows:

These documents must be original and valid.

If neither of these documents shows the applicant’s current residential address the applicant will need to provide one category C document that does.

Combination 2: PIDS

Three documents are required (only if the applicant cannot provide combination 1):

These documents must be original and valid.

If none of the documents shows the applicant’s current residential address the applicant will also need to provide one category C document that does.

Combination 3: PIDS

Four documents are required (only if the applicant cannot meet combination 1 or 2):

These documents must be original and no more than 12 months old.

Full PIDS requirements not met

There should be only a very small number of applications that cannot meet the PIDS Category A or B requirements. In all such cases applicants are to be encouraged, in the first instance, to provide the necessary documents listed in these two categories.

Applicants who are unable to meet Category A or B PIDS requirements must be advised that the processing of their application may be delayed as further checking will be required. Priority processing must not be offered to these applicants. An appropriate note must be made in the comments box of the interviewer’s section.

PIDS requirement/s not met

Additional action

Unable to meet photo ID requirement

  • Applicant to provide a workplace guarantee with a photo endorsement from a supervisor or, if that is not possible, ask the applicant to provide an additional guarantor, as per normal guarantor requirements. The two guarantors cannot be related to each other by birth or marriage and not be in a de factor relationship with each other (including a same sex relationship), nor live at the same address.

Note: Applicants who are 75 years or older who do not possess suitable photograph identification are not required to provide a second guarantor as these applicants are usually low risk. However, the ‘one’ guarantor should be contacted and positively identify the applicant to the satisfaction of the passport officer.

Unable to provide sufficient and suitable documents to confirm identity

  • Applicant to provide a workplace guarantee with a photo endorsement from a supervisor or if that is not possible, ask the applicant to provide an additional guarantor, as per normal guarantor requirements. The two guarantors cannot be related to each other by birth or marriage and not be in a de factor relationship with each other (including a same sex relationship), nor live at the same address.

  • Ask the applicant to provide any other documents not listed on the application form that may assist in confirming identity.

Unable to meet residential address requirement

Applicant to provide:

  • a general declaration form (B11) stating current residential address and address to be confirmed on electoral roll, or

  • provide additional identity documents to confirm identity, or

  • obtain a certification from the employer as to the applicant’s address (such documents need to be validated by calling the employer)

Guarantor

definition

The guarantor declaration is a principal identity check in the application for an Australian travel document.

A person who qualifies as a guarantor must vouch for the applicant’s identity which includes endorsing and signing the back of one photograph of the applicant (see below).

Qualifying as a guarantor

To be acceptable the guarantor must:

The guarantor must not be:

Passport/interviewing officer as guarantor

Staff involved in the passport process are not to act as guarantors on passport applications received from the general public.

Only where an application is submitted by another staff member at an overseas post may a passport officer act as a guarantor. In this instance, however, the authorisation of the passport must be conducted by an A-based officer of the mission.

Adopted child: period of time known by guarantor

Where a child is adopted – the date of adoption, granting of citizenship and arrival in Australia should be taken into account when deciding whether the guarantor provided by the applicant has known the child for a suitable time frame.

If the child has been adopted within the last 12 months, a suitable guarantor should have known the child for the majority of that time and a full validity passport may be issued if all other requirements are met.

Guarantor occupational groups: overseas lodgement

An overseas applicant may use:

Photographs

Photograph requirements

The photographs submitted must meet the following requirements:

The photographs must be of good quality colour, on high quality paper with no ink marks on the image, appropriate brightness and contrast, natural skin tones, taken with uniform lighting (no shadows across the face) and are clear and in sharp focus. Digital photographs should be checked to ensure that they meet the requirements as they often produce a poor quality passport image.

An application should not be accepted if photographs are not a good likeness of the applicant, not of adequate quality or do not meet the size requirements. If photographs do not meet the standards required, the applicant should be asked to provide two identical photographs, not more than six months old.

Expressions of children under 3 years of age

In view of the rapid change in facial appearance of babies as they grow, passport staff may exercise flexibility in applying the photograph guidelines to babies.

Photographs of infants under 3 years of age showing the following expressions are acceptable:

Replacing photographs – children under 5 years of age

Although photographs cannot be replaced during the ‘life’ (period of validity) of a passport, an exception is made for children under five years who have been issued with a passport in their first year of life. Such children may be issued with a replacement passport with a new photograph, issued for the remaining validity of the current passport.

The passport will be issued gratis.

Full parental consent is required before a replacement gratis passport may be issued.

Identity Checks

Applicant must establish his or her identity

A passport applicant must establish his or her identity before a passport can be issued by:

Use of an Australian birth certificate to establish identity

In respect to passport issue, the purpose of an Australian birth certificate is to confirm that the person named on the birth certificate has a claim to Australian citizenship, particularly parentage, and provides the four personal elements (name, gender, date and place of birth) that when combined with the results of the PIDS process, establishes the identity of the applicant.

Sex

Sex incorrectly recorded on the cardinal document

Instances have occurred where the sex has been incorrectly recorded on the cardinal document, i.e. birth certificate or citizenship certificate – e.g. male instead of female.

Should an applicant claim that the gender shown on the certificate is incorrect, advise the applicant to contact the RBDM in the state or territory of birth or DIAC to have the error corrected.

A change must only be included in a travel document if supported by a new birth certificate or citizenship record produced in support of a passport application.

Change of sex: sex and gender diverse

General: sex and gender diverse

The Australian Human Rights Commission (Addressing sexual orientation and sex and/or gender identity discrimination 2011) defines the phrase ‘sex and gender diverse’ (SGD) as referring to the whole spectrum of sex and/or gender identity. For the purposes of issuing passports, this includes ‘trans’ and ‘intersex’ persons. ‘Trans’ is a general term for a person whose preferred gender is different to their sex at birth. The term ‘intersex’ refers to a person who has genetic, hormonal or physical characteristics that are not exclusively male or female. A person who is intersex may identify as male, female or as being of indeterminate sex. An RBDM, DIAC or a medical practitioner registered with the Medical Board of Australia (or equivalent overseas authority) must determine an applicant’s sex.

A passport may be issued to sex and gender diverse applicants in M (male), F (female) or X (indeterminate/unspecified/intersex).

Applications from persons who identify as sex and gender diverse and seeking a sex in their passport different to their birth sex will generally fall into two categories:

All states and territories have legislation allowing sex and gender diverse persons who have undergone sex reassignment surgery, and are not married, to apply to amend the sex on their birth certificate. RBDMs are legislatively empowered to amend a person’s birth record and may provide documentation recognising a person in a sex different to their sex at birth when evidence can be supplied that sex reassignment surgery has been completed. In relation to Australian citizens not born in Australia, DIAC is legislatively empowered to amend citizenship records in relation to a person’s sex.

A full validity passport in a new sex may be issued to sex and gender diverse applicants who present an amended birth certificate, gender recognition certificate, or recognised details certificate showing that an RBDM has accepted the reassigned sex. For applicants born overseas, a gender recognition certificate, recognised details certificate, revised citizenship certificate or other evidence from DIAC may be presented.

A full validity passport in a new sex may be issued to sex and gender diverse applicants who are unable to, or choose not to, obtain an amended cardinal document in their new sex and can provide a statement from a medical practitioner (registered with the Medical Board of Australia or equivalent overseas authority) certifying that they have had, or are receiving, appropriate clinical treatment (including sex reassignment surgery) for gender transition to a new gender or that they are intersex and do not identify with the sex assigned to them at birth.

Applicants must meet all other normal passport requirements, including identity documents supporting their identity in the wider community.

Applicants who have an amended cardinal document

A full validity passport in a new sex may be issued to applicants who have undergone sex reassignment surgery and have registered their change of sex with RBDM or DIAC.

A full validity passport in a new sex may be issued to applicants who have undergone sex reassignment surgery and have registered their change of sex with RBDM or DIAC.

In addition to meeting all other passport requirements, to be issued a full validity passport in the new sex, applicants who have undergone sex reassignment surgery and have registered their change of sex with an appropriate authority must provide:

Applicants seeking a passport in a non-registered sex

Applicants who have had, or are receiving, appropriate clinical treatment (including sex reassignment surgery) for gender transition to a new gender and have not registered a change of sex

Sex reassignment surgery is no longer a prerequisite to issue a passport in a person’s preferred gender.

    (Cardinal documents do not need to be amended for sex and gender diverse applicants to be issued a passport in their preferred gender.)

A statement from a medical practitioner certifying that the person has had, or is receiving, appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to a new gender, or that they are intersex and do not identify with the sex assigned to them at birth, is acceptable.

A full validity passport in the new sex may be issued to applicants who have had, or are receiving, appropriate clinical treatment (including sex reassignment surgery) for gender transition to a new gender and have not registered their change of sex with RBDM or DIAC.

To be issued a full validity passport in the new sex, applicants must provide at interview evidence from a medical practitioner (registered with the Medical Board of Australia or equivalent overseas authority) certifying that they have had, or are receiving, appropriate clinical treatment (including sex reassignment surgery) for transition to a new gender and specifying the new gender.

‘Appropriate clinical treatment’ is determined by the registered medical practitioner and does not have to be defined.

Note: Evidence will only be accepted from practitioners registered with the Medical Board of Australia (or equivalent overseas authority). Registered medical practitioners may specialise in various medical fields including, but not limited to, surgeons, urologists, gynaecologists, endocrinologists, psychiatrists and general practitioners. Certifications from persons not registered with the Medical Board of Australia (or equivalent overseas authority) such as, but not limited to, psychologists, nurse practitioners, health practitioners and natural practitioners are not acceptable.

The evidence must be a signed original statement, on office letterhead, from a medical practitioner (registered with the Medical Board of Australia or equivalent overseas authority) that performed the sex reassignment surgery or has reviewed and evaluated the medical history of the applicant. The statement must include the following information:

See Sample text for letter for registered medical practitioner certifying the applicant’s gender change

Married applicants

Married applicants who have undergone sex reassignment surgery are not able to obtain an amended birth certificate from an RBDM, as they were married prior to sex reassignment surgery and remain married.

These applicants may provide the letter from the medical practitioner or, alternatively a statement from the relevant RBDM/Gender Reassignment Board. The statement must certify that the applicant has met all requirements for their reassigned sex of male or female to be recognised, except that they remain married.

Note: This only applies to Australian-born applicants, as DIAC will amend its records for married persons who have undergone sex reassignment surgery.

Child applicants

Child applicants who are able to meet sex and gender policy requirements (generally this will have required consent of parents) for the issue of a passport in a sex different to that appearing on their cardinal document may be issued with a passport valid for 5 years in the new sex.

Note: Normal parental consent requirements to be issued a travel document apply.

Intersex (or indeterminate sex) applicants who do not accept the sex assigned to them at birth

A full validity passport in the new sex may be issued to intersex applicants who live in a gender different to the sex appearing on their passport and are unable to or choose not to register a change of sex with RBDM or DIAC.

In addition to meeting all other passport requirements, to be issued a full validity passport in the new sex, intersex applicants must provide evidence from a medical practitioner (registered with the Medical Board of Australia or equivalent overseas authority) certifying that they are intersex and the gender they identify with. Applicants must also provide identity documents supporting their identity or ‘social footprint’.

Note: Evidence will only be accepted from practitioners registered with the Medical Board of Australia (or equivalent overseas authority). Registered medical practitioners may specialise in various medical fields including, but not limited to, surgeons, urologists, gynaecologists, endocrinologists, psychiatrists and general practitioners. Certifications from persons not registered with the Medical Board of Australia (or equivalent overseas authority) such as, but not limited to, psychologists, nurse practitioners, health practitioners and natural practitioners are not acceptable.

The evidence must be a signed original statement, on office letterhead, from a medical practitioner (registered with the Medical Board of Australia or equivalent overseas authority) who has treated the applicant for his/her transitioning or has reviewed and evaluated the medical history of the applicant. The statement must include the following information:

See Sample text of letter for registered medical practitioner certifying that an applicant is intersex

Applicants reverting to their original gender

Rare cases will occur where a person reverts to their original gender, after being issued a passport in a gender different to the gender on their first issued cardinal document. Appropriate documentation that the person has transitioned or is transitioning back to the original gender is required.

APO Information request letter to applicants regarding gender

APO Information request letter to applicants regarding gender

APO information request letter for applicants who have had, or are receiving, appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition
Sample text for letter for registered medical practitioner certifying the applicant’s gender change

APO Information request letter regarding people who are intersex

APO Information request letter regarding people who are intersex

APO Information request letter for applicants who are intersex
Sample text of letter for registered medical practitioner certifying that an applicant is intersex

Waiver of fee for replacing a passport following change of name due to transitioning to the client’s preferred gender

Requests for a gratis replacement passport following a change of name as part of the transitioning process will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Any gratis replacement passport issued would have the same expiry date as the passport being replaced.

If the person has not previously had an Australian passport, the full fee is applicable when applying for a passport.

Applicants who did not receive a fee waiver at the time of application for a replacement passport may apply for a refund of the passport application fee.

All sex and gender diverse applicants who wish their passport to include a new name must provide a RBDM change of name/revised birth certificate to support the change of name. Applicants must also provide a letter from their medical practitioner confirming that they have had, or are receiving, appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition or that they are intersex.

State/Territory contact details for recognising gender reassignment

The relevant body in each State or Territory for recognising gender reassignment is listed in the table below.

State or Territory

Responsible Body

Contact Details

Australian Capital Territory

Births, Deaths and Marriages Unit

http://www.ors.act.gov.au/bdm/index.html

(02) 62070 460

New South Wales

Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages

www.bdm.nsw.gov.au

1300 655 236

Northern Territory

Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages

www.bdm.nt.gov.au

(08) 8999 6119 / (08) 8951 5339

Queensland

Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages

www.justice.qld.gov.au/16.htm

1300 366 430

South Australia

Magistrates Court of South Australia

http://www.courts.sa.gov.au/courts/magistrates/index.html (www.ocba.sa.gov.au/bdm/)

(08) 8204 2444 ((08) 8204 9599)

Tasmania

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

www.justice.tas.gov.au

1300 135 513

Victoria

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

https://online.justice.vic.gov.au/bdm/home

1300 369 367

Western Australia

Gender Reassignment Board

www.bdm.dotag.wa.gov.au

(08) 9219 3020

Date & place of birth

Place of birth and gender in passport

The Australian Passports Determination 2005, Section 7.2 requires the place of birth and gender in an Australian travel document to be the same as appears on the person’s cardinal document i.e. Australian birth or citizenship certificate.

Under ICAO standards, Australia issues machine readable travel documents recording the place of birth. There is no provision for applicants to translate their place of birth from that appearing on their cardinal document or have no place of birth recorded on a travel document.

Citizenship certificate does not show place of birth and gender

For clients who have a newer style DIAC citizenship certificate which does not show place of birth and gender must present their original full birth certificate with English translation where this is appropriate.

Where an applicant is unable to present their full birth certificate the applicant, may present their foreign passport. A copy of the biopage of the foreign passport is to be attached to the application form.

If unable to present a birth certificate or foreign passport the applicant must complete a B11 form attesting to all the information contained in section 2 of the form i.e. full name, date of birth, town and country of birth and gender. In addition to the B11 statement, any other documentation available that supports the B11 statement (e.g. foreign driving licence) must be copied and attached to the application form.

Suburb or city as place of birth?

Where the applicant presents an Australian full birth certificate or Australian citizenship certificate, the place of birth shown on the certificate, regardless of whether it is a town, city or suburb, must be recorded on the application and in the passport.

Amending place of birth

Applicants may amend their country of birth or spelling of the town/city of birth. The town/city/country of birth may only be changed to reflect the details recorded on their Australian citizenship or birth certificate. In limited circumstances, and at the discretion of the APO, applicants may amend their country/town of birth where there has been an officially recognised change.

See also “ Amending personal details: PC7 renewal ”.

Date of birth

Incomplete date of birth on cardinal document