How to get a second Australian passport

How to get a second Australian passport

Having just one Australian passport is sufficient for most travellers, but regular international jetsetters can actually apply to hold a second valid Australian passport, facilitating travel when the first is out-of-reach.

That’s handy when you’re waiting for a visa to be approved for one trip, but you need to take another in the meantime, particularly when that travel arises at short notice and can’t be delayed.

Holding a second passport can also be useful if a destination you plan to visit typically refuses entry to those who’ve visited a specific country, as you could keep those problematic stamps in your regular passport, and use the second, ‘clean’ passport for that trip (or vice versa).

Here’s what you need to know about qualifying for an Australian “concurrent passport”, and how to lodge your application.

Getting a second Australian passport: who qualifies?

Unlike regular Australian passports, concurrent passports are only issued when you can satisfy the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) that you have a “demonstrated need” to hold one.

For most business travellers, this would be to avoid facing significant travel delays by waiting for other visas to be approved, particularly when regular overseas travel is required at short notice and those visa applications can’t be timed around existing or likely travel plans.

In other words, if you’re required to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice, you wouldn’t be able to do that if your normal passport was sitting around in an Embassy or Consulate while a visa application was being processed, but with a second, backup passport, you’d be able to fly.

The other main reason for granting a concurrent passport is where a destination country will not accept a passport showing evidence of travel (passport stamps) or intended travel (a visa) to a specific country, an issue that can affect Australians who’ve previously visited Israel.

However, in this instance, the applicant would need to explain why obtaining a concurrent passport is a more practical and necessary option than simply renewing or replacing their regular passport, such as because that regular passport still contains valid visas for international travel.

DFAT advises that concurrent passports may also be issued in “other exceptional circumstances”, but notes that “granting of a concurrent passport is to be very tightly controlled and only approved where all other options have been exhausted.”

Validity of Australian concurrent passports

While standard Australian adult passports are valid for 10 years at a time, concurrent passports are only valid for between six months and three years.

If an application is made to facilitate a specific journey, the passport’s validity will generally be the duration of that trip plus six months, up to a maximum of three years (whichever is shorter).

Business travellers with “no defined end of travel” can instead be granted a three-year concurrent passport.

Keep in mind that some countries require a traveller’s passport be valid either for six months from their date of entry or six months from their planned date of departure, a rule that commonly affects passengers bound for Singapore which imposes the ‘six-month rule’.

As such, a three-year concurrent passport may only provide 2.5 years of uninterrupted global travel, if visiting countries that impose such rules, despite the document itself being valid until its expiry date.

Applying for an Australian concurrent passport: what it costs

Even though concurrent passports are valid for three years at most, the price you’ll pay to apply for one is the same as for a 10-year adult passport.

Currently, that’s $282 with the standard delay of three weeks, or $468 for fast-track processing within two business days, which includes the additional $186 priority processing fee.

Travellers applying for a concurrent passport purely because their existing passport shows travel to a country that could present issues on other trips, and who don’t necessarily need two simultaneously-valid passports, might consider applying for a replacement passport instead.

Since Australia no longer issues the larger 64-page ‘frequent traveller passport’, passport holders with at least two years of remaining validity can instead apply for a replacement passport at a reduced fee of $178.

This will provide a fresh Australian passport – by nature, with no travel markings on its internal pages – although the expiry date of the new document will be the same as the original, so consider whether applying for a new 10-year passport would be better value.

Of course, if the existing passport still contains valid visas, that’d be reason to take the ‘concurrent passport’ route, but just note, application fees are non-refundable should the request be denied.

Lodging an Australian concurrent passport application

If you’ve considered all your options and a concurrent passport looks like the only reasonable way forward, begin by downloading and completing this application form [PDF, 79KB].

Business travellers will need their employer to fill out the declaration in Section B, and to also write (and attach) a signed letter explaining and outlining the circumstances that makes the application necessary.

For the best chances of approval, the letter should also detail options that were considered in lieu of requesting a concurrent passport, such as renewing or replacing the existing passport or paying priority visa processing fees to best-utilise a single passport, and why all those avenues were unsuitable.

Business travellers with “no defined end of travel” might also consider including details of their recent trips alongside their request for a three-year concurrent passport, particularly where visa processing times proved an issue or where having two passports would have been highly advantageous.

When you’re ready to apply, contact the Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232 to request an appointment at your nearest passport office, and to enquire whether any other paperwork or information might be necessary to facilitate your application.

One final tip: Business travellers with an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) should remember that these cards are tied to a specific passport number, so can only be used in conjunction with that same passport – not presented alongside a different document.

As such, if you’re planning to use your ABTC on an upcoming trip, but also need to lodge a visa application for a future journey around the same time, it’d make sense to request that visa in your concurrent passport, so that your main passport (linked to the ABTC) remains available for travel.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

14 comments

  • Rufus1

    Rufus1

    1 Nov, 2018 10:55 am

    Also, unless the system has changed since I got mine, bear in mind that you will need to complete the application as if you've never held a passport. Which means your birth certificate and (depending on when you're born) other evidence of citizenship - the whole nine yards.

    Bizarre that a current Australian passport isn't accepted as sufficient evidence of identity for the purpose of issuing a concurrent passport. The local consulate told me they used to have discretion to waive that, but no longer.
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  • Vas Srinivasan

    mspcooper

    1 Nov, 2018 12:48 pm

    If you deal with any government agency, there will be significant red tape, so this is no different. Public servants live in another world. Usually one bad case causes the system to be revamped, so everyone suffers.
    I have a question though, how early can you apply to have your passport renewed? Is there a time restriction?
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  • James O'Mahony

    Ourmanin

    1 Nov, 2018 01:34 pm

    Rufus, it’s important to bear in mind that this is a discrete second passport, it’s not a duplicate of your primary passport. So yes, you have to apply as if it’s a new, first application. The situation is the same in the U.K., although they do issue second passports for the full ten year term.
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  • Rufus1

    Rufus1

    1 Nov, 2018 02:52 pm

    Appreciate that - but it still struck me as odd that they weren't permitted to use a current passport as evidence of identity or citizenship for the application process. The consular officer was apologetic and admitted it was silly. I needed to get a birth certificate sent from Australia (and luckily I was born when you acquired citizenship automatically if you were born in Oz, otherwise I'd have needed my parents' birth certificates to prove citizenship by descent!).

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    1 Nov, 2018 03:17 pm

    I'm sure I've heard something along the lines of "to protect the integrity of the Australian passport" as to why that's the case, to prevent somebody potentially presenting a fake yet real-looking Australian passport as ID, and then having DFAT issue them with a 'real' passport when they didn't have one to begin with.

    (It's not ideal, and yes, they could surely confirm the validity of a passport being presented, but many of Australia's visa-waiver agreements with other countries require strict rules around passport issuance, and that could just be one of the rules.)
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  • Craig Baumann

    CraigBaumann

    2 Nov, 2018 04:02 pm

    What is the big problem? All Aussie MPs automatically qualify for an additional “official passport”. Simple application, letter from Clerk of Parliament- valid for 5 years. Mine was virtually issued over the counter. Admittedly it’s only to be used for official travel, but I doubt that there are security issues.
    I bet Aussie consular staff overseas would love to see all Aussies with alternative emergency travel doc
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  • Daniel Barreca

    DanielB

    2 Nov, 2018 04:48 pm

    Yes, I held a concurrent passport for a number of years as it is handy but you only get 3 years on your concurrent passport which actually is 2 1/2 years of use. You will need to fill in their application (need to call passport office) have a signed letter from your company/organisation explaining why you need one and then go through the process like a new passport. Don't be surprised if the people at the Post Office say you can't get one as it is not advertised by DFAT. That happened to me and they were surprised when i told them you can do this...
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  • AussieMiner

    AussieMiner

    2 Nov, 2018 06:40 pm

    I'm still annoyed the Australian government have removed the 64 pager from circulation. Simply another example of how completely out of touch the people who we fund via our taxes are.
    And don't get me started on the cost of the Aussie passport.
    Disgraceful.
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  • Tristan

    tris06

    3 Nov, 2018 04:26 am

    I agree with this sentiment. Though stamps should be less common it is very annoying to go to countries like indonesia and get a whole page taken out for an visa on arrival or like having to get a new work residency permit pasted into the passport for China so there is another page out each year. Visa free countries and etc will still usually stamp (taiwan, or EU countries the list goes on). If e channels become available in these countries then 32 should be okay.
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  • Daniel Barreca

    DanielB

    3 Nov, 2018 10:11 am

    Since when. My current passport is a 64 pager....is it completely out of circulation or do you have to prove you need one...i.e.lots of travel.
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  • SeaVisionBurma

    SeaVisionBurma

    4 Nov, 2018 04:40 am

    Since December last year DanielB (loss of the 64 pager)
    Disgraceful
    Member who gave thanks

    crakyl

  • Steven Dickson

    sjdickson

    2 Nov, 2018 06:42 pm

    Seems terribly expensive and bureaucratic for a second passport with limited validity.

    The UK has allowed me to hold two concurrent passports since 2008. Full ten year passports no less (although they only ever get to just over two years old before being replaced when full!).

    Can’t fathom the three year validity and fullest of application processes.....keep some folks in DFAT in a job!
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  • Daniel Barreca

    DanielB

    3 Nov, 2018 10:13 am

    Don't get me started on DFAT...the most Bureaucratic, inept over political correct organisation around....useless...
    No member give thanks

  • SeaVisionBurma

    SeaVisionBurma

    4 Nov, 2018 04:37 am

    Having lived and worked in Myanmar from the late 90's, the concurrent passport was at the time a necessary and much appreciated requirement. Myanmar was under heavy political and economic sanctions at the time, and I needed to keep my primary passport 'clean' in order to visit other countries where my salary was deposited, and to access these funds
    The expiry of the concurrent passport in those days was 10 years (from date of the concurrent passport issue! Not the primary passport)

    I also travel frequently and getting visas issued while on the move necessitated a second passport - as is the case now

    Now the new system is restricted to 3 years (allowing a practical 2 and half years of use) it is a hindrance and financially not viable

    Getting off topic but a needed reply - AussieMiner has rightly pointed out that the 64 pager is no longer available. As an offshore expat, this is a pain in ***********
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19 Nov, 2018 10:24 am

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