Tops tips to speed up your Australian passport renewal

You might not have to pay that $220 ‘express processing fee’ if you follow these three tips for a faster turnaround.

By David Flynn, August 7 2023
Tops tips to speed up your Australian passport renewal

Travel coming up? Of course it is – that’s why you’re an Executive Traveller reader! But make a note of your passport’s expiry date, because sooner or later you’ll need to have it replaced.

Indeed, many countries will only let you enter if there’s between three and six months left on your current passport, so that necessary renewal can creep up sooner than expected.

According to the Australian Passport Office, it normally takes about three weeks to receive a passport – but there are a few tricks which can ensure a speedier turn-around even without paying the $200 'priority processing' fee.

And there’s something else to look forward to – your new passport will really be a new passport from the latest ‘R’ series, with an eye-catching design packed with advanced security features.

For example, under ultraviolet light, the sky in these photo images becomes a unique nightscape, while a local species of native fauna appears.

UV light turns colourful landscapes into night-time images with native fauna.. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
UV light turns colourful landscapes into night-time images with native fauna.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Read more about Australia’s stunning new-look passports

Apply for ‘streamlined passport renewal’

Most Australians with a recently-expired passport qualify for the ‘streamlined renewal’ process, which lets the Australian Passport Office reuse your previous passport record rather than begin from scratch with an all-new application.

Under the streamlined renewal scheme you only need to submit an application checklist form, two new passport photos and your most recent passport.

Streamlined renewal is available for adults (not children) with an Australian passport that

  • was issued when you were aged 16 or older, and
  • had a validity, when it was issued, of more than two years, and
  • was issued in your current name, date of birth, place of birth and gender, and
  • expired less than three years ago (or is still current), and
  • hasn’t been reported lost or stolen, or been cancelled for any other reason.

(Why would you need to renew a passport that’s still current? Many countries won’t allow entry if your passport is within 3-6 months of expiring.)

With far less paperwork to be done, applications for a streamlined passport renewal sail through the system.

To apply online for streamlined passport renewal, begin by creating an account at online.passports.gov.au and you’ll be guided step by step through the process.

Lodge your passport renewal application at the GPO

It’s no longer possible to lodge your passport application at the passport office without making an appointment – and appointments are availably only “if you need to travel urgently for unforeseen compassionate or compelling reasons.”

Instead, passport applications must be lodged at a participating Australia Post outlet, and from there it can take a few days to reach the passport office.

But here’s a little-known trick: the GPO (General Post Office) in each capital city has a daily courier run which takes all passport applications submitted by noon straight to that city’s passport office, where processing can begin that afternoon.

This can shave days off the total turnaround time for your shiny new passport.

Collect your passport from the passport office

While passport offices are closed for applications to be lodged, they’re open (until 4pm weekdays) for people picking up their new passport.

If you live or work in the city, or can easily get to the CBD, then when completing your application for that streamlined renewal, tick the box to collect it from the city passport office.

With all the delays in the postal system right now, that could save you anywhere from a few days to a whole week waiting for your new passport to be delivered in the mail.

Pay the $220 priority free

Even those tips can’t guarantee your new passport will be back in less than the statutory three weeks.

If you definitely need it ASAP (because you’re planning on jumping on a flight next week), it’s worth paying the additional $220 priority processing fee.

This fast-tracks your application so that your new passport is ready to be picked up from the passport office in 2-3 business days.

But unless there’s that oh-so-urgent need for a new passport, use the first three tips here – apply for streamlined rebel, drop off your application at the GPO and collect your passport from the passport office – will still see a much speedier turn-around than usual.

25 Sep 2019

Total posts 4

thanks for the tip about the GPO. I didn't know about that.

Excellent tips on using the GPOs. My partner works at Australia Post and she tells me that some post offices in the CBD also offer the same service where applications in by 12 are sent on to the passport office that afternoon. For example in Sydney the QVB and Haymarket post offices have the same arrangement. Not sure what their equivalents are in Melbourne, Brisbane etc.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 413

In my opinion the australian passport office should allow passport holders to keep the same passport number when renewing which should also speed things up and I would think is a better security measure as well.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 210

Would agree with arranging collection at the capital Passport Office.

I lodged mine for Streamlined processing at an Adelaide suburban PO with Registered Post home delivery.

Great news; passport processed in 10 days and in the post. Just track it!

Deathly silence from AustPost for a few days; then manual tracking reveals packet languishing at DANDENONG VIC. 'facility' where it is enjoying a do-nothing long weekend.

When it arrives (next week?) I'll introduce it to my dusted-off luggage and let them all know they are off to Paris in the new year!

31 Mar 2022

Total posts 1

How did you go? what was the turnaround time in the end? Also did you register for GPO pickup on the online checklist or when paying? 

Thanks,

J.

NZ

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 65

If only they could streamline it to be as quick as New Zealand passport turn around, which only takes 48-72hours if you apply it Online. No need to see anything in physically, and they even let you use home take passport photos. 

My last one I submitted on an Monday morning, had in my hands on Wednesday morning.

LP
LP

30 Jun 2016

Total posts 51

While there’s plenty of negative stories in the media at the moment we applied for a new child passport 4 weeks ago at our local PO and had it arrive in the mail this morning which was a lot quicker than we’d expected 

26 Feb 2015

Total posts 8

while not a tip on speedy renewal I rather like the way the UK dates the validity of the passport to be 10 years since the last one expires.  Typically this will give you an 10 year plus 6 month validity.   the mean old Australian passport dates the expiry to be 10 years from the renewal date.  i.e. the UK allows for the "at least 6 Months" Australia does not.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 112

Unfortunately this otherwise excellent idea has tripped up quite a few British travellers, who found themselves denied boarding. They were heading to countries where arrivals must have passports issued not more than 10 years ago. So if you renewed (say) a year early and were at the end of a passport that was issued 11 years ago, you were out of luck. British newspapers have carried quite a few such stories.

04 Jun 2018

Total posts 23

Another consideration for the new government is to allow dual-citizen Aussies to enter/exit the country with a foreign passport and some proof of citizenship attached to it (like New Zealand) or by travelling with the citizenship certificate.

15 Mar 2018

Total posts 93

Never had a problem using any of my three passports (OZ and two others).  Seems only time it flags an issue is when you leave on one passport and return on another.  So stay consistent depending on where you are travelling too.

I followed all the steps for the streamlined renewal on 19 April 2022, I received an acknowledgement of the receipt of application (made at Australia Post). No passport received after almost 8 weeks, no answer to phoning the call centre number last week (just general prerecorded advice, then call cuts off automatically). I also wrote to the Passport Office a week ago via their website contact page, have yet to receive any reply.

At a minimum, one's original passport should not be cancelled on date of application (cut with scissors) by Australia Post.

If I hadn't been entitled to a NZ passport (processed and received within around 10 days via the online application, thanks to a friend's suggestion), my trip to NZ a couple weeks ago, would have had to have been cancelled.

For regular overseas travellers, I would probably recommend the Express fee, to avoid the anxiety, stress, and higher probability of non receipt (in time) of your Australian Passport. Costly option, but seemingly unavoidable for some at present.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 May 2019

Total posts 8

I submitted my application at Sydney GPO Thursday 9th June 11:00. Got the e-mail at 13:00 Friday 10th June saying it was ready to be collected next business day! Wonderful! After a Monday celebrating Her Majesty's birthday (with the passport office closed)... I then had to wait in line for four and a half hours on Tuesday 14th June morning to actually collect it... rather less 'priority' or 'express' but they're doing a decent job given volumes.

16 Dec 2011

Total posts 49

Have times improved or gotten worse in the last month?  The passports office now state a minimum of 6 weeks, bot no longer give any indication if it will be 8 weeks or 12. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Mar 2018

Total posts 1

Great advice about GPO submission and passport office collection. Submitted my renewal at Sydney GPO at 0930 on a Wednesday paying the priority fee, and received an email at 1230 the following day advising available for collection. The service agent had to go and collect the latest batch off the printer when I arrived at 1300 though!

17 May 2020

Total posts 1

So glad I read this article! We submitted our renewals last Friday morning at the Sydney GPO (we got there when the post office opened and there was already a line).  We have 10 weeks until we need the passport, so we took a punt and did NOT opt for the $225 priority fee (we just paid the standard renewal fee).  We got an email 8 days later (the following Friday) saying that the passport was done & will now be mailed to us via Aus Post (we chose that option instead of the hassle of picking up). Thank you for this tip!!

Funny to read this having just dropped off my application at the Sydney GPO post office.  Lucky enough to be able to use the streamlined process which ------ let's you keep your current passport.  What a relief, as I am renewing mine as I may have travel but not sure and if it doesnt come in time I can still travel.  So best of both worlds. 

Have to say the service at the GPO was friendly and very efficient.  Top marks.


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