The most important document you will need to travel to Europe (or anywhere overseas) is a passport and it’s advisable that you apply for your passport well in advance of your departure date.
Applying for your Australian passport
Australian citizens can obtain an Australian passport application form from their local post office or print one from the official website. The application form requires you to answer a number of questions, as well as having the form witnessed by another person, as specified on the application form.
You will need to make an appointment at your post office to lodge your Passport Application Form, and will need to bring to the appointment the appropriate identity documents (100 point check, etc), and two recent identical passport-sized photos, one of which has been endorsed on the back by your guarantor (as explained on the application form).
Strict size limits apply to passport photos - be sure to follow the guidelines on the application form to ensure your photos are accepted.
Australian passport fees
The current cost to obtain an Australian Passport is around $250 per adult, and $130 per child, and they last for 10 and 5 years respectively. Travellers aged over 75 can apply for a 5 year passport for $127. Check online for up to date fees.
How long does it take to get a passport?
After lodging your Passport Application Form at your post office, you should allow approximately 21 days to receive your Passport in the mail. If you need to obtain your Passport in a hurry, you will need to lodge your application in person at your State’s Passport Office – check with your local post office for details. Childrens’ passports can be lodged by their parent or guardian.
Make sure your passport is still valid
You should also be aware that many countries require travellers to have at least six months validity remaining on their passport. If your passport has less than six months validity, you will need to renew it prior to your departure from Australia.
Smartraveller chief, Brek Batley, told attendees at the recent Travel Industry Exhibition (held in July 2016) that passengers are turned back on departure every day because they have less than six months before their passports expire.
Another reason passengers are regularly refused departure is because they have damaged passports, he added. (Source: travelBulletin, August 2016) If your passport is looking a bit worse for wear, you should renew it in order to risk refusal of departure.
Keeping your passport safe
Your passport is an extremely important document and should be treated as such. Always know the whereabouts of your passport and store it at all times.
When travelling, I suggest carrying your passport in a money belt that can be worn close to the body under clothing or in a cross-body bag. If you choose to store your passport in a safe in your accommodation, I recommend checking that the safe is actually secured to a wall or the floor. (I have been in hotel rooms where the safe is unsecured and can be lifted up ..... and carried out of the room!!).
What happens if your passport is lost or stolen?
If the worst happens or your passport is lost you should report it immediately by completing the form on the official website. If you are overseas when your passport is lost or stolen, you should contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate who will assist you in obtaining a new passport. A list of Australia's overseas embassies and consulates can be found here.
Should you passport be lost or damaged due to a natural disaster, you should call the Australian Passport Information Service (APIS) on 131 232.
If you're a citizen of another country, you can find out further details about applying for a passport on the following links:
Some countries also require travellers to obtain a visa to enter their country. You can find out more about obtaining a visa in this article.
All information is subject to change. Please check relevant websites for current information.