Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) commits to issuing passports in no more than three weeks from the date of application as long as all requirements are fulfilled. It should be noted, however, that only Australian citizens are issued with Australian passports. There are four easy steps to remember when applying for an Australian passport.
Firstly, you need to complete an application form. There are two ways to achieve this. You may choose to complete the online application form found on the website of the Australian Passport Office, print the filled-out form, and bring it to the passport office during your scheduled interview. Clear and concise instructions on how to correctly complete the form is available on the website. Another option is to pick up a passport application form from any participating Post Office, complete the form, and bring it during the interview.
Secondly, as one of the requirements, you need to have your photo taken. Two photographs are needed, and they should be identical. They should have been taken no more than six months ago, be in colour with a gloss finish, and have a plain, light background. While you photo is being taken, be sure to have a neutral expression: your mouth should be closed, hair should be off the face, and your head should not be tilted. The photo should have a height of 40mm to 50mm and width of 35mm to 40mm. Note that one of the photos should have an endorsement and the signature of a guarantor on the back. This guarantor is someone who can verify your identity. To make sure you comply with the photograph requirement, it is advisable to simply have your photo taken at a participating Post Office that offers ID photo services. It is important that you have your photos prepared before you go for the interview. Note that you also have to get a birth certificate translation if you birth certificate was issued outside Australia, and in a language other than English. Specialised translation service providers such as The Migration Translators can help with this.
Thirdly, you have to look for the accredited Post Office nearest you that will conduct the interview. There are over 1,700 postal outlets all over Australia, and some allow walk-in applicants. All passport applications should be lodged in person. To make an appointment, call the participating Post Outlet of your choice; or alternatively you can either call 137 678 or visit the website www.auspost.com.us for further information. Those who are in a hurry to get their passports should call the APIS at 131 232 for an appointment; in this way they may get the passport within two days of submission of the application.
The fourth and last step is to attend your scheduled interview and pay the applicable fees. Remember to bring all the requirements including the application form, photos, proof of identity, and proof of citizenship. If you have your name changed, you need to provide documents that show that the new name has been registered. Children (under 18 years and never married) applying for passports need consent from those who have parental responsibility to the child. All documents must be original. Once the application is accepted, you should pay the application fee (adult – $250, and child – $125). Cash and credit cards are accepted. Adult passports are valid for ten years, while children’s passports expire after five years.