Renewing your Australian passport is a moderately easy process, but you must allow adequate time for the proper paperwork to clear before you leave the country. Many officials say the process is quicker due to the electronic methods that have been employed, but always give yourself extra time just in case there are delays.
Log on to passports.gov.au, and go to the passport renew section. Read the instructions and start the renewal process.
Enter a valid passport number, and answer a set of questions that will confirm your identity. This step will allow you to access and download an application form already filled in with information recorded by the passport office.
Telephone the Australian Passport Information Service, if you lack Internet service, at 13-12-32 and answer the same questions. A form will be mailed to you. Complete the form and make an appointment at the post office. Take two updated passport photographs with you. Note that you cannot smile on your passport photo.
Pay the applicant's fee at the post office when the application is lodged. Cash, EFTPOS or credit cards are accepted, but they will not accept checks. The cost is £130 per passport or £65 per child's document if you want a 32-page passport. For frequent travellers, the fee is £195 for a 64-page passport. If you are 75 or older, the fees drop to £65 for a 32-page passport and £97 for the frequent traveller's version.
Expect your passport to be sent out by registered mail. Applications are generally processed in about 10 working days but for an extra £48 the passport office will provide a priority service within two working days' turnaround. You can also opt to pick up your renewed passport at a passport office.
While routine renewals are relatively simple, applications for a first Australian passport can't be filed online--nor can renewals of passports that expired more than a year ago because these are regarded as new applications.
Forms for these must be picked up at a post office and lodged there too. As with renewals, these passports are sent by registered mail.
If a passport is lost or stolen overseas, full replacements are no longer issued by Australian diplomatic posts. Consular offices now issue only emergency passports, valid for one-way trips back to Australia.
Once back home, the person pays again for a fresh passport as well as the penalty for having the passport lost or stolen--even if this event is out of the victim's control.
If one of Australia's foreign missions advances emergency cash to a traveller, this must be paid back at a passport office before a new passport is issued.
A final word about validity: some countries don't admit visitors with passports expiring within six months or won't put visas in such documents. So, depending on your destinations, you may need to renew a little sooner than you think.
Expect to pay additional fees if your passport has been lost or stolen. It costs an extra £42 per document. If you have lost two, it costs £130. If you lose three, it costs £260.
New Australian passports feature a thick, cardboard-like centre page. This makes it machine-readable and contains an electronic chip with information about the holder.
Do not use the online form if your previous passport was issued when you were a minor under 18 years of age. Do not use the online form if your previous passport was issued as a Limited Validity or Emergency Passport, a Document of Identity, Certificate of Identity or a Convention Travel Document. Do not use the online form if your previous passport is unavailable. Do not use the online form if you are renewing a child's passport. Do not use the online form if your previous passport was lost or stolen. Do not use the online form if you have changed your name.