Passports: making travelling with large families easy

Passports play an absolutely vital role in family travel. Without them, quite frankly, overseas travel is not an option. Acquiring an Australian Passport is a fiddly process and please ensure you do not leave it until the last minute to avoid some anxiety, high blood pressure moments. Applying for an Australian passport is easy IF you follow all the guidelines and instructions, and don’t waste time with DIY passport photos that are more than likely to eventually get rejected. Adult passports are currently A$250 for 10 years validity and child / seniors passports are currently A$125 for 5 years validity.

Before you apply for a passport ensure you have the required documents to confirm your Australian identity and citizenship. The full list of required documents are listed here

Points to remember when acquiring and using an Australian Passport
1. Applications take approximately 3 weeks to process
2. Apply for an Australian passport here
3. Current Australian passport fees are here
4. Passport photo guidelines & requirements can be viewed here. Wherever you lodge your application, you must provide two recent identical colour photos of yourself with your application form. The photos must be no more than six months old. Although getting photos taken at an Australian Post Outlet can be pricey when you have many members in your family, it may be well worth using their service if it means the photos will be accepted and your Passport application processed without drama.
5. Passport applications can be filled out online but printed out on single-sided international A4 paper, then completed at an Australia Post Outlet
6. SIGN the declaration in black pen WITHIN THE SIGNATURE BOX
7. With NEW applications, the photos must be endorsed on the back with the words “This is a true photo of (your full name)” and then signed by your guarantor
8. With RENEWAL applications, the photos must have your name printed on the back
9. Don’t be stranded at the airport and do your travel homework. Although not a requirement for entry into all countries, it is wise to ensure 6 months validity is on the passport before you travel. To check the countries requirements of which you are travelling to from Australia as an Australian Citizen peruse online at the DFAT page here
10. Applying for a passport for a child of Divorced or Separated parents? Essential reading at DIY Family Law Australia here and the Australian Government document, Children and Parental Consent when acquiring a passport in Australia

Overseas travel will be stress free if the passports are safely kept with the chief passport carrier and guidelines below regarding managing the most important travel document are followed.

Managing the entire family’s passports at the airport and customs
1. Attach a sticker on the back of the passport matching child’s personality or ‘colour’. This allows for easy and quick identification when handing out passports to individual family members at customs
2. Photocopy passports and leave them with a family member or trusted friend
3. Have all the passport numbers stored in the notes page on the mobile phone or with your travel documents for ease of filling in customs cards prior to boarding then prior to landing
4. Only entrust individual family members with their own passports immediately before they go through customs, and have an embedded routine whereby family members hand the passports to chief passport carrier, usually Mum, when they no longer require the document.
5. Allow the children to go through customs independently, holding their own passport. Chief responsible passport carrier (usually Mum), should be at the front of the line, and responsible other adult (usually Dad), should be at the back of the line ensuring the smallest little munchkin is not left on the ‘other side’ in no man’s land all by themselves.

In the unlikely event that your Australian passport is lost or stolen whilst abroad, immediately report it and follow the instructions here

Sources: Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade & DIY Family Law Australia

Rebecca is mother of 6 children, wife of 1 husband and passionate about life, passionate about large families, and passionate about travel. Large Family Accommodation is a website dedicated to listing accommodation worldwide for families of 7 or more, accommodating families within the same dwelling or campsite.

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