It seems as though Australia is becoming more and more popular amongst expats around the world and the demand for Australian passports continues to grow. There are a number of ways in which you can obtain an Australian passport but ultimately you need to be a citizen of Australia, whether this is by birth or the amount of time you have lived in the country. So what exactly do you need to do and what are your chances of obtaining an Australian passport?
Citizens of Australia
The Australian passport application process is fairly straightforward and when you bear in mind that the population of the country has quadrupled in less than 100 years it is easy to see why the immigration process has attracted significant interest in Australian passports. As we mentioned above, ultimately you need to be an Australian citizen to apply for a passport and we will go through the Australian passport application process below.
Types of Australian passports
There are a number of different Australian passports available which include: –
The standard passport is the more popular Australian passport which is issued specifically for travel such as vacations and limited business trips, consists of 32 pages and is valid for 10 years for adults and five years for children.
Frequent traveller passport
If you are a frequent traveller it is likely you may require a frequent traveller passport which is slightly larger in size and more expensive than the standard Australian passport.
The senior’s passport is applicable to Australian citizens aged 75 years and over and costs half that of the standard Australian passport. The passport itself is valid for five years and again has 32 pages.
Senior’s frequent traveller passport
In simple terms this is the senior’s equivalent of the frequent traveller passport which is the same size but half of the cost.
The Australian diplomatic passport is not something you would normally come across as they are specifically targeted at high-ranking government officials and diplomatic couriers.
Applying for an Australian passports
The process of applying for an Australian passport is the responsibility of the passport office which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The system was revamped back in 2008 and a number of new forms were issued superseding the older forms which are now obsolete. There are two simple ways of applying for an Australian passport which are:-
Local post office
The vast majority of Australian local post offices will offer a service which will allow you to apply for a new Australian passport or renew your expired Australian passport. The process itself is very simple and assuming that you have the right documentation to hand it can be very swift.
Obtain your Australian passport application form from the approved post office and check to see which documents are required in order that you can confirm you Australian citizen.
There are a number of documents which the Australian authorities will accept as proof of your citizenship which include an Australian birth certificate, Australian citizenship certificate, an Australian passport showing your name date of birth and any documents to show changes since then, two copies of recent photographs where your application is being endorsed by a third-party (the third party needs to sign the back of one of the photographs) or proof of your address which could include credit card, drivers licence, etc.
Once you have completed your Australian passport application form, and arranged the relevant documentation and supporting evidence, you need to present this to the post office together with payment.
All new Australian passport applications will require an interview to be held by participating post offices during which you would be questioned about the application and any possible issues which may arise.
Simply await the outcome of your application.
Renewing your Australian passport
In order to renew your Australian passport you simply need to log onto the website at www.passports.gov.au and select the passport renewal option which will present an online document to you that you can download, complete and send off with the relevant payment.
Overseas Australian passport applications
If you are looking to renew your Australian passport or indeed apply for a new Australian passport, and you live overseas, you will be able to take the necessary advice from the Australian embassy in your country.
Passport offences in Australia
As possession of an Australian passport is something which many people are looking to obtain there are a number of offences and penalties which the Australian authorities have introduced. It is a criminal offence to make false or misleading statements to obtain a passport and this could land you in jail for up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to AUS$110,000. It is also an offence not to report lost or stolen any travel documents that have gone missing, something which could see the perpetrator receive a one-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to A$2,200.
Despite the fact that the Australian authorities have operated something of an open immigration policy for many years they have begun to clamp down on passport applications and indeed there is a feeling that the number of immigrants entering the country will reduce in the years to come. Even though the Australian economy has grown significantly over last 10 years there is dismay in some areas of the workforce with regards to skilled workers from overseas grabbing the top positions and the high income jobs in Australia.
The Australian passport application process itself is fairly straightforward process and the authorities have introduced a very simple to understand and simple to implement online system which takes away much of the pain of obtaining documents from third parties.
It is interesting to see that the Australian authorities have a number of different passports available depending upon the level of travel you intend to do in the future and even your age. However, the bottom line is that only Australian citizens, whether by birth or adopted citizens of Australia, are the only ones allowed to obtain Australian passports.
While the renewal procedure is fairly straightforward, as is the new passport application procedure, those looking to acquire a brand-new passport will need to undertake an interview in which their credentials will be questioned and their situation discussed in detail. As ever, you need to ensure you have the right documentation to hand as this will reduce the time scale and result in a much quicker decision on your application.