Australian Passport Processing Times Blow Out

Pile of australian passports
Australians have been banned from leaving their own country since 25 March 2020. Which other countries have similar bans?

Australian passport application and renewal processing times have increased dramatically in recent weeks as more Aussies prepare to travel overseas again.

In the months before Australia removed its international travel ban in late 2021, many people reported that their passport applications were processed in just a few days. But demand has since picked up considerably, with many passports having expired during the pandemic.

Australian passport applications were down by 60% in 2020, which is hardly surprising considering Australia’s international border was closed for most of this time. Predicting that this would result in a surge of applications once international travel restarted, Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan encouraged Australians last September to renew their passports early to avoid the rush which has now arrived. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) also increased staffing capacity in anticipation.

Average processing times now at six weeks

Australian Frequent Flyer understands that the Australian Passport Office is now taking an average of six weeks to process passport applications and renewals. The office advises people on its website to “allow up to 6 weeks to receive a passport”, so this is now right at the upper-limit of the advertised timeframe.

This matches the experience of numerous AFF members in recent weeks, who’ve been left waiting over a month for their passport renewals to be processed.

For the first few months of 2022, things were looking OK. Here’s a sample of AFF posts from the early March…

We renewed my partners passport two weeks ago. We were advised 6 to 8 weeks. But received his passport 8 days after submitting. Just for a point of reference.
whereiskym, 10 March 2022

i lodged my passport renewal application in early February. At that time there were news reports of “long delays”. It arrived exactly 2 weeks later.
mulubinba, 10 March 2022

But there was quite a surge just prior to the start of the April school holidays and Easter. Here are some more recent AFF posts…

I have hit 5 weeks and still under assessment.
I love to travel, 9 April 2022

Still waiting for my son’s (child) passport after 7 wks….
Stanley Lambchop, 11 April 2022

With Australia Post delays also playing a role, one AFF member also reported that it took around another week after their passport had finished being processed for Australia Post to deliver it to their address in Queensland. It finally arrived in the mail exactly 5 weeks and 6 days after they applied at their local post office.

Urgent applications still possible (for a fee)

If you can’t wait six weeks (or potentially even slightly longer if the Australian Passport Office gets further overwhelmed), there is an option to pay extra for priority processing. With this option, your passport will be ready for mailing or collection within two business days of the passport office receiving all required documents.

Priority processing costs an extra $225 on top of the $308 fee for a 10-year Australian passport.

So, if your passport is out of date (or has less than six months of remaining validity) and you’re planning to travel overseas in the near future, it might be a good idea to start your application early!

 

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Passport Renewal Notice

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

Community Comments

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Who is allowing their passport to go fallow whilst they wait for confirmation of dates for commencement of international travel?

I received the renewal notice a few weeks ago (my Australian passport expires in April 2021), and I'm doing absolutely nothing with it until I am sure that I will be able to travel overseas. I doubt I'll be in any rush in any case.

I still have my British passport, which is valid for several years.

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I received the renewal notice a few weeks ago (my Australian passport expires in April 2021), and I'm doing absolutely nothing with it until I am sure that I will be able to travel overseas. I doubt I'll be in any rush in any case.

I still have my British passport, which is valid for several years.

If you have an Australian passport (ie are an Australian citizen) you cannot depart and/or arrive Australia on your British passport - I recommend renewing your Aussie passport before it expires otherwise the process is more complicated.

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Who is allowing their passport to go fallow whilst they wait for confirmation of dates for commencement of international travel?

Mine expired in February 2021, the first time in 20+ years...

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If you have an Australian passport (ie are an Australian citizen) you cannot depart and/or arrive Australia on your British passport - I recommend renewing your Aussie passport before it expires otherwise the process is more complicated.

Funnily enough, I know that, but it is somewhat reassuring. I have lived here for 50 years, and the process is NOT more complicated.

Oh, and being an Australian citizen, and having been a permanent officer of the Department of Immigration and of the Department of Foreign Affairs (at different times, of course) for many years helps with my understanding of the rules.

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If you have an Australian passport (ie are an Australian citizen) you cannot depart and/or arrive Australia on your British passport - I recommend renewing your Aussie passport before it expires otherwise the process is more complicated.

You can depart.

I've done it.

It does need a bit of explanation of why at the departing passport control. (In my case, my Australian passport was away getting a visa)

It's not something to do regularly.

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If you have an Australian passport (ie are an Australian citizen) you cannot depart and/or arrive Australia on your British passport - I recommend renewing your Aussie passport before it expires otherwise the process is more complicated.

You can still do the fast track renewal up to three years after your passport expires.

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You can still do the fast track renewal up to three years after your passport expires.

Ah I did not know you had 3 years to do the online "easy" renewal - My passport was stolen in Croatia 2 years ago - so I had an emergency issued for the remainder of my travels but on return to OZ I had to go through the application process as though I had never had a passport - and as a naturalised Australian it was quite complicated particularly considering all my other identification was also stolen at the same time. Fortunately I did have my citizenship certificate and my Medicare Id (which was not stolen) was sufficient to get a new DL.

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click to expand...

My passport expires next month and I received an SMS a few weeks ago. I can't see any point in renewing straight away. I agree it's a bit cheeky, given current conditions, but maybe it's an automated service.

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Mine expired in November last year.

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Luckily my current passport doesn’t expire til 2024 but if it was this year I would still renew. I just like to have one.

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