Expert 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, October 21 2021
Expert tips to speed up your Australian passport renewal

With many Australians eager to jet off overseas once the international travel ban lifts on November 1, there's been a rush on passport renewals – especially as would-be travellers discover their passport expired during the past 18 months it's spent sitting in a drawer.

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.

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 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.

Also read: How to get your Australian international Covid vaccination certificate

25 Sep 2019

Total posts 3

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 404

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!

NZ

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 67

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.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Expert tips to speed up your Australian passport renewal