Seniors urged to renew their Australian passports


1.3 million passports have expired during the pandemic. Is yours one of them?

Key Points


  • Demand for international travel could mean long delays in renewing passports 

  • Government advice is to review your passport now and renew as necessary 

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is available online 

There are plans for Australia to open up international travel later this year and next. So, you’ve bought that dream travel package only to find that your passport has either expired or doesn’t have the required six months left on it. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) is urging us to dust off our passports, check they’re valid, and if not, then renew now and beat the rush. The DFAT Passport Office is alerting Australians via text and email who have passports soon to expire. 

DFAT is warning that when borders to reopen it is likely there will be lengthy delays in processing passport renewals.  

How long? Well, if overseas is any guide, Americans face an 18-week wait, and the British up to 10 weeks. 

DFAT estimated 600,000 citizens delayed applying for their first passport during the pandemic. Demand for passports last financial year was about 20 per cent of pre-pandemic numbers. 

Frequently asked questions


How can I apply for or renew my passport? 

Applying for or renewing your passport is a simple 7-step process. The best way to start is by going online at passports.gov.au

How long does it take to apply for or renew my passport? 

It normally takes about three weeks to receive a passport, no matter where you apply but this is expected to change as borders re-open. You can find more information at passports.gov.au 

Can the expiry date on my current passport be extended due to Australian international travel restrictions? 

It’s not possible to extend the validity of current passports. The expiry date is written onto each passport’s electronic chip. Changing the chip makes the passport unusable. 

Can I receive a discount on passport renewal/application costs due to Australian international travel restrictions? 

The Australian Passport Office is unable to offer a discount, as fees cover the required processing, administrative, and staffing efforts. 

What is the Australian Passport Office doing to encourage passport renewals? 

The Australian Passport Office is alerting Australians via text and email who have passports soon to expire. 

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination  

International travel will also now require an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate. This is not to be confused with the COVID-19 Digital Vaccination certificate. Read our story on the vaccination certificates to understand the differences between them, where they’re used and how to get them.