Power up your Australian passport with these six savvy traveller tips

By David Flynn, January 4 2019

This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel.

Don't take your Australian passport for granted – here are six ways to make the most of it.

1. Make your passport last longer when running out of pages

Many business travellers find their passport can run short of empty pages, especially when a simple visa takes up a whole page to itself. This is a problem exacerbated by the axing of the 66-page ‘frequent traveller’ passport.

The easy fix? Pop a few sticky notes on blank pages near the back of the passport, with a short and polite message to immigration officers asking them to stamp other (probably also-stamped) pages each time you enter and leave the country

Yes, my typing is clearly better than my handwriting...
Yes, my typing is clearly better than my handwriting...

Read more: Making your passport last longer when running short of pages

2. Get a second Australian passport as your 'spare'

While a single Australian passport is sufficient for most travellers, very frequent jetsetters can apply for a second  passport under the “concurrent passport” scheme.

This comes in particularly useful when you’re waiting for a visa to be approved for one trip, but you need to take another in the meantime – particularly if such travel arises at short notice and can’t be delayed.

Aa second passport can also be useful if you're headed to a country which typically refuses entry to those who’ve visited a specific country – you could keep those problematic stamps in your regular passport, and use the second, ‘clean’ passport for that trip (or vice versa).

Read more: How to get a second Australian passport 

3. Skip the queues at Hong Kong airport

Your Australian passport can be used in Hong Kong's automated e-Channel lanes – the same ones which residents use – so you don't need to line up at the conventional immigration desks.

This is a real time-saver when your flight into Hong Kong arrives at peak travel times, and doubly so if like many business travellers you have only carry-on luggage: you can zip through the electronic passport gates and head straight out to meet you driver or catch the Airport Express train.

Registering for e-Channel access is fast and free, and can be done either at the airport, at Hong Kong Immigration Headquarters in Wan Chai or the arrival hall of Macau Ferry Terminal.

Read more: How to skip the queues at Hong Kong Airport passport control

4. Enjoy fast-track immigration at Singapore's Changi Airport

In the same way, Singapore’s Frequent Traveller Program provides fast-track clearance at passport control via automated lanes rather than manned desks – and also removes the need to complete passenger cards on arrival and departure.

To qualify, you need only to have entered and exited Singapore (not simply made an in-transit stop at the airport) at least twice in the previous 24 months, using the same passport.

This means that even a once-a-year visitor can register and be in a taxi and on the way to their hotel while other passengers on the same flight are still standing in line.

You can enrol in Singapore's eIACS or ‘enhanced-Immigration Automated Clearance System’ scheme at Changi Terminal 3 or at the head office of the country’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority in downtown Singapore.

Read more: How your Australian passport can access fast-track Singapore immigration

5. Speed through Dubai's Smart Gates on arrival and departure.

Next time you hop onto an Emirates flight, consider enrolling your Australian passport in the Smart Gate program used by United Arab Emirates citizens and residents.

When touching down in Dubai, proceed through ‘normal’ passport control and when you reach the immigration official, ask about on-the-spot Smart Gate registration.

If you’re clear to enrol, you’ll be asked to briefly stare at a camera for an iris scan, and a sticker will be attached to the back of your passport, highlighting that you’re now eligible for Smart Gate:

(You can also sign-up at dedicated Smart Gate Registration counters, but this potentially means lining up twice: once to register, and once to clear passport control, so heading straight for a regular passport desk can often be faster, especially if you have fast-track pass from your airline as a business class or first class passenger.)

Read more: How to enrol in the UAE's Smart Gate program

6. Get ready to jump those horrible queues at London Heathrow

All Australian passport holders will be able to skip the often-lengthy immigration queues at United Kingdom airports from the middle of this year, with the UK Government opening its ePassport lanes to Australian travellers (along with those from New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Japan).

This will largely make the UK’s paid Registered Traveller scheme redundant for Australians, as access to the ePassport channels on arrival in the UK – particularly at the crowded London Heathrow airport, closely followed by London Gatwick – is the program’s biggest perk.

Read more: Registered Traveller redundant as UK opens ePassport gates to Aussies

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 116

I was delighted to discover another place to skip the immigration queues recently:

Rome airport introduced pilot e-gates for Australia, NZ, Canada, Japan, South Korea and US.

09 Jul 2016

Total posts 28

Munich departures I believe are also trialing epassport for Aussies

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2017

Total posts 4

Super helpful article there. Thanks David.

China Airlines - Dynasty Flyer

22 Sep 2012

Total posts 68

That is great sometimes I found AMS manual lanes to stretch far behind during peak times.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 16

Add to this list the APEC Business Travel Card which is linked to your passport.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 4

Does this speed up US entry for Australian passport holders?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 16

JoelRainey. Yes the APEC card does speed up arrival in the USA. It does work and the immigration officials I have come across seem to know about it. 'Although the United States is not a full participant in the scheme, card holders can use special fast-track lanes for aircrew at international airports in the United States, but they are still subject to regular entry/visa requirements'.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 4

Thanks Pete.

I’ll look into it for future trips

Reg
Reg

American Airlines - AAdvantage

20 Jun 2012

Total posts 24

Any idea when Abu Dhabi might introduce Smart Gate functionality?

04 Jan 2019

Total posts 1

Abu Dhabi airport has had epassport lanes since at least 2016.

24 Apr 2017

Total posts 4

And if you can - get another travel document.

NZ passport - found it handy for India when visa given on arrival for NZ

British or if Brexit occurs Irish passport

i dont think that is still correct for India

https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/south-asia/india/new-zealand-high-commission/eta-enabled-tourist-visa-on-arrival/

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Apr 2011

Total posts 99

We've never enrolled in Singapore's eIACS but on our trip to Seoul, which included an overnight stay in the Crowne Plaza Changi in both directions, we were directed to the smart gates when departing.

19 Aug 2017

Total posts 7

Departures at Changi, as long as you had your finger prints taken on entry, can use the smart gates

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Apr 2011

Total posts 99

Thanks for your response, I wondered if that were the case. One of my daughters returned last week from a short stay in Singapore & said that thumb prints weren't being taken at Terminal 2 when they arrived & they were unable to use the smart gates when departing

19 Aug 2017

Total posts 7

In Singapore, when you enrol in the SFTP, especially the one in town (not the airport), make sure you book an appointment first. Enrollment is strictly by appointment and as I discovered, with passport and all docs in hand, usually they can't see you same day. so book ahead before you fly or some days before you want to enrol. the form for enrolment can be found here https://www.ica.gov.sg/cms/files/Application%20Form%20For%20Frequent%20Traveller%20Programme.pdf

19 Aug 2017

Total posts 7

If you enrol in town for the Singapore FTP, make sure you get an appointment first. They don't take walk in's

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Sep 2013

Total posts 177

Travelled thru Frankfurt last Thursday, they are now part of the scheme..

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 124

Only Terminal 2, unless it has changed very recently. Terminal 1 (the LH/Start terminal) doesn't have it.

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