You need a valid passport to travel overseas. If you're an Australian citizen, or a dual citizen wanting to travel as an Australian, you need a valid Australian passport. Every person travelling must have their own passport, including children.
Your Australian passport is an important proof of your identity and citizenship.
Explore this page to learn the basics of:
- How to get a passport
- Passport validity
- Protecting your passport
- Passport damage
- Emergency passports
- ePassports and SmartGates
- Dual citizenship and passports
- Passport assistance overseas
Be prepared. Check what to do before you go, and what you must do if something happens to your passport overseas.
How to get a passport
The Australian Passport Office, part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, issues Australian passports. You can complete your application online and lodge it at a participating Australia Post outlet, or at an Australian embassy or consulate overseas.
To get an Australian passport, you need to prove your identity and Australian citizenship. The steps in the application process are:
- gather original documents
- ask someone to be your referee or guarantor
- complete your application
- print your application
- get passport photos
- lodge your application and pay the fee
Start the process well before you travel. It can take time to gather what you need and apply. You'll have to pay an additional fee if you want to fast track your application.
For detailed information about how to get a new passport, or renew your passport, see the Australian Passport Office website.
Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months after you plan to leave that country. Some airlines also impose this rule on their own initiative. It can apply even if you’re just transiting or stopping over. Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. You can receive conflicting advice from different sources. Getting it wrong can mean being stranded.
Check your passport’s expiry date before you travel. If you’re not sure it’ll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Protecting your passport
Your passport is a valuable document. It's your proof of identity and citizenship overseas. You are responsible for ensuring your passport isn’t damaged, and it should be stored securely.
Some people may trick you into handing over your passport. It's attractive to people who want to use your identity to commit crimes.
To protect your passport:
- always know where your passport is
- keep it in a safe place
- keep it dry
More tips for protecting your passport.
If you've been the victim of identity theft, you can contact IDCARE for support.
Normal wear and tear to your passport shouldn't be a problem. More serious damage can stop you from travelling. It's important that:
- there are no tears or cuts in the passport pages, especially the photo page
- everything on the photo page is legible and clear
- there are no marks across your photo or in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) on the photo page
- no pages have been removed
- there is no alteration or tampering
If you’re not sure about the condition of your passport, call the Australian Passport Office on 131 232 or contact your nearest Australian embassy or consulate overseas. We may need to see your passport to assess it.
It normally takes about three weeks to receive a passport, no matter where you apply.
Emergency passports are only valid for up to 12 months and don’t have a chip. Because of this, there are restrictions on using them in some countries. Check the visa requirements of any country you plan to enter or transit.
SmartGates, eGates and ePassports
All Australian passports, except for emergency passports, are ePassports. An ePassport contains an electronic chip that helps to confirm your identity.
International airports in Australia, and some overseas, allow Australians with ePassports to use automated passport control machines. Australia calls these machines SmartGates. Other countries might call them eGates. They use facial recognition technology and your ePassport to check your identity and authenticate your passport.
The Australian Border Force is responsible for SmartGate operations in Australia.
Dual citizenship and passports
If you're a dual citizen, you may have two passports. This can affect your ability to access consular help in some countries.
Australians, including dual nationals, should depart and enter Australia on their Australian passport. If you have a passport from another country, you can use that for travel once you have left Australia if you wish.
Consider which passport you want to travel on. Read our advice for dual nationals.
Passport assistance overseas
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
What we can do
We can help you if your passport is lost, stolen or damaged while you're overseas.
We can issue a new passport, emergency passport or provisional travel document to help you get back to Australia.
If you need help overseas, call your nearest Australian embassy or consulate, or call our 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305.
If you're an Australian living overseas, we can process passport renewal applications. Contact your nearest Australian embassy or consulate.
What we can't do
We can't give consular help to dual nationals who aren't travelling on an Australian passport in some countries. Consider which passport you travel on.
If you need an Australian passport, visit the Australian Passport Office.
Final tips before you go
Prepare before you travel:
- check that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you will depart your destination
- apply for a passport early, if you don't already have one
- research entry and exit requirements in your destination country
- apply for a visa, if required
- if you're a dual national, research local laws and decide which passport you will travel on
- Learn about visas
- Read key entry and exit requirements for all your destinations
- Get travel insurance before you go
- See our before you go checklist
- What to do if your passport is lost, stolen or damaged overseas
- See our advice for dual nationals
- Learn more about travelling with children
- Consular Services Charter
- Find an Australian embassy or consulate overseas
- Learn more about using ePassports with SmartGates from the Australian Border Force
- See the Australian Passport Office (APO)'s 7-step guides on adult or child passport applications
- Read the APO's advice on how to renew your passport and see their frequently asked questions