Australian Passports: What you need to know before you apply for a UK visa

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Apply for an Australian Passport

If you don’t have a current Australian passport, you’ll need to apply for one about 4-6 weeks before you apply for a visa to travel to the UK.

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Check your existing Australian Passport

If you already have a valid Australian passport, check that it’s in good condition, with at least one blank page for the visa sticker.

Remember to protect the electronic chip that’s inside all Australian passports. If the chip doesn’t work, border agents can’t use their devices to read your passport and identify you. Also, local authorities in other countries on the way to the UK or while travelling from the UK may not recognise your damaged passport, and you could be arrested or jailed.

Look after your passport! Keep it away from water and heat and don’t bend or bang it.

Think about renewing your Australian passport early (years before it expires)

If your passport has less than six years remaining, or less than one year more than the duration of your UK visa, you may choose to renew your passport early to obtain a maximum 10-year validity.

We renewed our Australian passports a lot earlier than the expiry date, a few months before applying for our UK Ancestry visa. This way, we didn’t have to worry about the expense and travel needed to get to the Australian Embassy in London during the validity of our UK Ancestry visa.

How to apply/renew?

Get familiar with the latest requirements to apply for a new passport or renew an existing one. There is important information about documents, photographs, and lodging your forms.

Visit the Australian Passport Office website, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Passport photos

Passport photos are about AUD 10 – 20 per person.

Check if one of these photos needs to be endorsed by a guarantor. If you need a guarantor, make sure you understand who is eligible to do this for you and make arrangements with them as soon as possible.

Documents required

You will need to prove your Australian citizenship and your identity.

If you have changed your name or gender, remember to take evidence to show your name/gender change journey from birth until now—for example, birth certificate, name change certificate, marriage certificate, decree nisi/absolute.

You will need to provide original, full certificates – not extracts or unofficial certificates. Apply for these at the relevant State/Territory Births, Deaths and Marriages office. Allow about six weeks to receive them via Australia Post or collect them in person where possible.

Getting your passport renewed or replaced while you are in the UK

If your Australian passport is lost, stolen or expires while you are in the UK, you will need to visit the Australian Passport Office to apply in person for a replacement.

More information is available at Smart Traveller and at the Australian High Commission in the UK.

Australia-House

Our Australian passport replacement story…

We had to travel to London when our son was 18yo to apply for an adult passport before his child’s passport expired. Our youngest son was under 16yr when we applied for the UK Ancestry visa, so he was only eligible for a 5yr passport at the time.

To prepare to replace our son’s passport, due to expire in January 2021, I went online in August 2020. The only 10-minute passport appointment available at the time, due to Covid-19 restrictions, was at 11 am in October 2020 in London.

To make sure we didn’t miss our Passport Office appointment, we travelled from Glasgow to London with British Airways the day before and stayed overnight at the Z-Hotel in Fleet Street, a 5 min walk from Australia House. We didn’t want to risk an early morning flight on the day of the appointment. If the flight was delayed or cancelled, we may not have gotten another appointment before his passport expired.

Our son presented his documents in person, and about two weeks later, he received his shiny new adult passport via Royal Mail.

Before the pandemic, the Australian High Commission had occasional outreach appointments in some major UK cities, including Edinburgh. As these types of arrangements were all cancelled, we had to travel to London.

As I’m writing this post, the Australian High Commission has just announced that it has suspended all of its in-person services at the Passport Office due to the rising infections of Covid-19 in London.

The cost of flights, overnight accommodation, airport parking, public transport and meals was more than £200 per person.

One of the unexpected expenses was the airport express train from London city to Heathrow. It is cheaper than a taxi but quite a lot more than the regular train service. We had planned to catch a regular train, but due to weather and maintenance, no available journeys got us to the airport in time to make our flight.

Australian Passport fees

Australian passport fees – as of January 2021:

  • 10-year passport (for persons aged 16 and over): AUD 301
  • 5-year passport (for children under 16): AUD 152

How long does it take to get a passport?

Allow at least three weeks to receive a new passport after you lodge your application.

Priority Passport Applications

You can pay an extra fee for priority service and get your passport in 2 working days.

Passport application priority service: AUD 220

Once you’ve sorted out your passport, you can plan your travel to the UK.

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