Passport advice for a first time traveller

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Are you gearing for your first trip outside of the country? Going overseas and exploring a new place is undoubtedly a thrilling experience. However, chances are you won’t just stop at one – experiencing a new culture often has people wanting to travel more and more. A bite from the old travel bug, as they say!

But, before you go anywhere, you have some planning to do. First things first – you need to get an Australian passport! Without it, you won’t make it past the border.

Getting your first passport

It can take up to three weeks to get a new passport (though you should always leave some wiggle room) so be sure to plan ahead in getting your documentation. A passport costs $277 for 10 year validity (for persons aged 16 and over), though you can pay an additional priority processing fee for $183 should you find yourself in a time crunch.

Here’s the step-by-step process of getting your passport.

Step 1: Begin online

You can start the application submission process online, but ultimately you will need to file it in-person. Print out these forms, then gather your personal identification documents.

Step 2: Gather identification

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Full Australian birth certificate or Australian citizenship certificate
  • Identity documents with your photo and current residential address
  • Any documents you have that can confirm your citizenship/personal identity

Step 3: Get passport photos

Next, you’ll next need to get passport photos taken. These need to meet specific requirements, so it’s recommended that you go to a professional.

Step 4: Name a guarantor

Part of this process requires verification from a guarantor/referee. Essentially, these vouch for your citizenship. This person is not allowed to be related to you, must be acquainted for at least a year and must have a current Australian passport themselves. You’ll need to provide all of their contact information.

Step 5: Submit your application

You must lodge your application in person – this can be done at a participating Australia Post outlet. Don’t forget to bring your payment, application, photos and personal documentation with you.

If you need to make a priority appointment, call 131 232.

When to renew

The good news is passports last up to ten years, so once you have it you don’t have to worry about renewing for a while. However, when the time comes, it will take about three weeks to process. You cannot renew until the original passport is expired or if it was issued when you were 16 years or older and was valid for two years when issued.

If your personal details have changed since your last passport, you will need to complete a new passport application form.

Using your Australian passport

Now that you have your passport, you’re ready to travel! However, this documentation is part of your ticket into a lot of countries, so it can be an issue if it gets lost.

What happens if it’s stolen?

Unfortunately, stolen passports happen. Fortunately, however, they’re relatively easy to replace! First, you have to report your passport as missing online or at your nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate. After that, you are simply following the same steps as you would the renewal process.

To note, it’s best practice to have a paper copy of your passport stowed in your luggage or somewhere it won’t get lost for easier access, in case it is stolen. It never hurts to be over prepared!


TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.


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