Stamps may be soon replaced by microchips, but passports and visas are still an essential part of international travel.
Your passport is your most important travel item, as without it you might be stranded for an indefinite time. Here's some crucial information to making sure you don't have a passport mishap.
For more travel-related advice, refer to Flight Centre's Planning Your Flight section.
Do I Need A Passport To Travel Overseas?
Yes. To travel internationally, all countries require foreign nationals to be in possession of a valid passport. Many countries require your passport to have six months' validity from your return date.
If you lose your passport overseas, contact the Australian embassy or consulate in that country immediately so they can arrange a replacement. You won’t be able to leave the foreign country without this official document.
It's a good idea to scan your passport and keep a copy in your luggage while travelling so you have all the information in case you do lose it.
How Do I Apply For A Passport?
In Australia, you can apply for or renew a passport at most Australian Post outlets around the country. Some post offices require you to make an appointment in advance for a passport interview.
Before you visit Australia Post, you will need to complete the application form (which you can download online).
You will also be required to provide: two current colour photographs that fulfil the requirements of a passport photo (which can be taken at Flight Centre retail stores); an original document that proves you’re an Australian citizen such as a birth certificate, citizenship certificate or a passport that is about to expire; an original identity document such as a driver’s licence, and the application fee.
How Much Do Passports Cost?
The Australian passport fees are up to date as of 14 December 2015:
- Ordinary passport (new or renewed): $250 for adults, $125 for children
- Frequent traveller: $376 for adults (contains twice as many pages)
- Five-year passport for persons aged 75+: $125
Additional fees include a priority processing fee of $111, overseas surcharges, and additional charges for lost or stolen documents.
Make the most of your money while travelling. Planning Your Flight
Ins and outs of travelling with credit cards. Tips for Travelling with Credit Cards
What Are ePassports?
All Australian passports issued after 2005 are ePassports and feature an internal microchip. This chip stores your name, gender, date of birth, nationality, passport number and passport expiry date. It helps prevent identity fraud and also facilitates a streamlined immigration process.
ePassport holders should head directly to the SmartGate after disembarking the aircraft when returning to Australia.
This self-process passport system will compare your image with the photograph saved in the chip, speeding up the immigration process so you can immediately proceed through to customs. SmartGate is also available in New Zealand.
How Do I Use SmartGate?
- Place your ePassport into the reader at the kiosk and answer the standard declarations using the touch screen. The kiosk will issue you a SmartGate ticket.
- Proceed to the gate and insert your SmartGate ticket.
- Look at the camera so your face can be compared to your ePassport photo.
- Retrieve your ticket. When the gates open, proceed through to the baggage hall.
- Collect your luggage and go to the Customs check-point. Hand in your SmartGate ticket and Incoming Passenger Card. Remember to declare all food, plant material and animal products when you fill in your Customs Declaration form on the plane or upon arrival.