The Australian Passport Office will consider the issue of a Document of Identity (DOI) in very limited compassionate circumstances to people who possess the nationality of a Commonwealth country and who have an urgent need to travel but cannot obtain a travel document from their own embassy/country.
Note: Commonwealth countries for this purpose can be found at www.thecommonwealth.org using a search for ‘members’.
Criteria for issuing Document of Identity – compassionate circumstances
- Death or serious illness likely to lead to death of an immediate family member (i.e. father, mother, spouse, husband, wife, brother, sister), where the applicant’s government is not represented in Australia and it is not possible to obtain a foreign-national travel document in time to meet the emergency travel needs. The applicant must provide a statement from a medical authority confirming the situation.
- Where it can clearly be shown that an approach to the person’s own government (usually due to a sudden overthrow of the former government) for a travel document would represent a serious threat to that person’s life or wellbeing.
Any application that does not meet these criteria should not be accepted by a Passport Office and the individual referred direct to their own government for a solution.
Delay is not an acceptable reason for entitlement to a DOI. 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.
One-way travel and validity period of Document of Identity for approved applicants
Where DOIs are approved for issue to persons who meet the limited criteria outline above, the document should be restricted to one-way travel to their country of nationality or to a country where they can obtain their own passport. A maximum validity period of 3 months is sufficient in most cases.
Details shown in Document of Identity
Nationality and place of birth - The applicant’s nationality and place of birth is shown in the DOI.
Sex – The sex field is always left blank.