It was one of those worst nightmare travel moments – at the airport, bags packed, excited kids, and the lady at the check-in counter says “I’m sorry, but this passport has less than six months until it expires. We can’t let you travel to your destination as they require at least six months to enter the country”.
Tears flow, surprised looks exchanged, and sickening guilt as it was one of the kids whose passport only had three months left on it.
Recalling the last experience in trying to get a child passport, you then wonder how long it is going to take to get a new passport.
There is a way to get a passport the same day if you’re lucky. Here is how to go about it.
Sydney, and probably most state capitals in Australia have a Passport office. If there is an Australia Post office at the airport, then before you leave the airport get hold of some passport renewal forms and a set of passport photos.
Next you’ll need to phone a friend – you’ll need someone to sign the back of the photos and sign the passport forms as a guarantor (especially for the children’s passport). Fill out the form, grab the photos and take a copy of your itinerary to the passport office and explain the situation. You will need to request the fastest processing option.
It is up to the discretion of the people at the office as to when they squeeze you into the interview schedule, once you score an interview the process can begin. The interviewer will do all the necessary preliminary checks. Once it passes all checks it goes off to be printed. If you are in luck it will be printed and ready that same day, if not, it is likely it will be ready the next day. You can track the progress online so you don’t have to wait around at the passport office.
There are a few things to remember though:
You need to pay a hefty fee for the faster processing.
There is no guarantee you will get it the same day, in fact it is 48 turnaround unless you are travelling urgently – e.g. Family or medical emergency. You need some sort of proof of your emergency (in our case we needed a copy of itinerary. You will also need to complete a form at the passport office explaining the situation.
Have all your information completed, and all your photos sorted before you turn up. Remember for a child’s passport you will also need a copy of their birth certificate.