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Know Before You Go: Passport Edition

Know Before You Go: Passport Edition

International travel is back on the cards, which means it’s time to grab that passport that has been gathering dust on the shelf for the last two years and get out and explore the world. But before you go, it’s important to make sure your passport is actually ready to be your travel companion.

Make Sure You’ve Got Six Months Left

It may sound silly, but even if you’re only travelling for a couple of days, you need to have at least six months left on your passport to travel.

Most airlines and countries will require a minimum of six months in order to fly or enter the country from the date you leave home. It’s important to factor this into your planning from the date of departure, not your arrival date or the date you plan to return home to avoid any potential hiccups — because nobody wants to have THAT conversation with airport security!

Basically, this is an insurance policy to make sure you don’t end up stranded in a foreign country without a valid passport, so it pays to check.

How Long Will It Take To Renew My Passport?

As more Australians are keen to travel abroad, passport applications are taking longer than ever, so it pays to plan ahead.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), there have been “significant increases in passport demand” since international borders reopened.

As of April, there were about 42,500 applications lodged per week, up from an average of 16,000 a year ago. Naturally, this means your wait time is expected to be longer than it used to be.

DFAT advises allowing a minimum of six weeks to receive your passport, with time frames being even longer for children applying without full parental consent.

However, you should be prepared to wait 2-3 months, realistically. So it’s in your best interest to apply for a passport and wait for it to arrive before you book any international travel.

What Are My Options If I Need My Passport Immediately?

If you can’t afford to wait up to 3 months for your passport, you have a few options.

For starters, you can pay the priority fee for a quicker turnaround, but this isn’t guaranteed for child passports or if you’ve lost or had your passport stolen more than twice in a five year period. It’s also worth noting that an increase in priority applications means even they aren’t as fast as usual.

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If you REALLY need it urgently, and can prove your travel is for compassionate or compelling reasons, you can apply for an immediate passport. This requires you to book an appointment at a Passport Office located in your state’s capital city, but these will only be issued on a case by case basis. Sadly, your boys trip to Bali or a romantic French holiday likely won’t be enough to convince them to issue you a last-minute passport.

Help! I Lost My Passport Overseas

If you lose or have your passport stolen overseas, you need to call your closest Australian embassy or consulate.

If it’s outside of business hours, you can call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 for immediate assistance.

You will usually be issued an emergency passport, which is valid for 12 months.

You’ll need to reapply for a proper passport upon your return, and these passports don’t work for countries that require a chip — so it’s really a last-ditch effort to get you home ASAP in case of emergency, and not something you should rely on for a round-the-world holiday.

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