Certificate of Identity(COI)

Definition:COI

A Certificate of Identity (COI) is issued only in Australia or its territories, under the Australian Passports Act 2005, Section 9.

Certificate of Identity It is issued to people who are:

Applicants need to provide:

Applications for COIs can only be lodged at an Australian Passport Office using a PC5 application form.

Categories for issuing a COI

Summary: four categories of applicants:COI

There are five categories of applicants who may be considered for the issue of a Certificate of Identity (COI).

Stateless person:COI

1. A stateless person is a person who does not have citizenship of any country. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) can only confirm the status of persons holding one of its subclasses of visa. It is unable to confirm nationality or status for persons not holding a visa.

2. It is the applicant’s responsibility to furnish proof of statelessness through DIAC if applicable.

Class BA subclass 202 Global Special Humanitarian visa holders:COI

1. Subclass 202 applications are assessed on criteria similar to United Nations refugee criteria but with a test of substantial discrimination rather than persecution. As a matter of policy, successful subclass 202 visa applicants are not requested to obtain a travel document from the country of which they claim to be a national, nor do they need a letter from the Embassy.

2. All subclass 202 visas are evidenced in a Document for Travel to Australia (DFTTA). The DFTTA is valid for a single journey to Australia and is not a long-term substitute for a passport or other identity document.

3. A subclass 202 visa is sufficient evidence for issue of a Certificate of Identity (COI) if an intention to travel is also provided. If verification required, the Canberra Regional Eligibility Centre can confirm the visa status and personal details of the visa holder.

Special Assistance Category 208–217 visa holders:COI

1. A Special Assistance Category 208–217 visa is issued on humanitarian grounds. Presentation of this visa is sufficient evidence for the issue of a Certificate of Identity (COI) in Australia. If verification required, the Canberra Regional Eligibility Centre can confirm the visa status and personal details of the visa holder.

2. Applicants are not required to attempt to obtain a travel document from their consular representative as a prerequisite.

Resolution of Status (RoS) (Class CD) subclass 851 visa holders:COI

Holders of RoS 851 visas may be eligible for either a Certificate of Identity (COI) or Convention Travel Document (CTD) depending on what category of visa they held prior to being granted the RoS visa.

Visa classes 202, 208-217 previously referred to by DFAT as protection visas should correctly be called humanitarian visas. The term ‘Protection Visas’ is a broad term covering both humanitarian and refugee visas.

Guideline for PC5 form application for holders of RoS 851 Visas

    Previous Visa Category

    Granted an RoS 851 visa

    Travel Document

    Requirement

    785

    Yes

    CTD

 

    786

    Yes

    COI

    Proof of travel required

    447

    Yes

    CTD

 

    451

    Yes

    CTD

 

    Other visa category (family member)

    Yes

    COI

    Proof of travel required

People being deported: Involuntary/Voluntary removals:COI

People being deported from Australia who have no other travel document may be issued with a Certificate of Identity, but only if sponsored by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Voluntary removals living in the community:COI

Lodgement procedures for voluntary removals living in the community are as follows:

Compassionate grounds: person cannot obtain a passport and foreign government not represented in Australia:COI

In limited compassionate circumstances, may consider the issue of a Certificate of Identity (COI) on a case by case basis. Validity will be limited to the minimum time required for travel to be completed.

Compassionate criteria are:

The Delegate may use their discretion to approve the issue of COI’s under other compassionate or unusual circumstances.

Note: Delay is not an acceptable reason for entitlement to a COI. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has ruled that it is not unreasonable to wait six months to be issued a passport from the country of nationality.

Validity:COI

Intention to travel, maximum 3 years validity:COI

A Certificate of Identity (COI) is only issued where a definite intention to travel is established. The Australian Passports Determination 2005, Section 6.2 has set the validity of a COI to a maximum of three years.

Holder COI has returned to own country

A Certificate of Identity (COI) is not to be revalidated overseas where the holder has:

In these cases the document is, under the Australian Passports Determination, Section 6.2, considered an invalid document and should be demanded up if the circumstances present themselves.

Revalidation or extension of a COI

Requests for a Certificate of Identity (COI) to be revalidated at an overseas post are to be referred to the Canberra for approval provided the applicant continues to be stateless, a refugee or has a valid protection Class BA subclass 202 Global Special Humanitarian, Special Assistance Category 208–217 visa or a Protection (Subclass 866) visa.

However, before returning an application for revalidating a COI the post must be satisfied that a document cannot be obtained from the applicant’s country of nationality.

Revalidations must not extend the life beyond five years of the original date of issue.

Lost:COI

If a Certificate of Identity (COI) is lost or stolen overseas, contact Canberra for advice.

Rules for Issuing a COI

Applicant requirements:COI

An application for a Certificate of Identity (COI) must be submitted on a form PC5. An applicant must:

The applicant’s nationality (or statelessness) is shown in the COI as a code.

Confirming status of applicant and checking identity:COI

1. Where the person travelling to Australia on a humanitarian/refugee visa does not possess a travel document from his/her originating country, the Canberra Regional Eligibility Centre can confirm the visa status and personal details of the visa holder

2. Applicants who apply for the issue of a Certificate of Identity (COI) must meet normal identity checking procedures. Normally it is expected that the guarantor would be contacted and where necessary a Visa Enquiry in the DIAC Movements Reconstruction database may be required to confirm visa status and personal details. If verification required, the Canberra Regional Eligibility Centre can confirm the visa status and personal details of the visa holder,.

3. Where doubts exist as to the applicant’s identity a COI is not to be issued and the case referred to Director, Passport Fraud Section.

Australian re-entry visas and visas for other countries:COI

A Certificate of Identity (COI) does not confer on the holder any right to return to Australia. This is stated in the travel document.

If the bearer wishes to return to Australia, they should be advised to seek assistance from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) in obtaining a re-entry visa.

Applicants should be advised that countries they intend to visit may not accept a COI for entry/exit and/or may require a visa.