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