Australian Consulate-General
Hong Kong
Macau

PASSPORTS: Frequently Asked Questions

Completing a passport application can be a daunting task. This list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) has been compiled by our Passport Staff in Hong Kong to assist you in completing your application.  Also see our Top 10 Tips for Completing Your Passport Application.

The FAQ is structured into the following sections:

  • General Passport Application and Renewal Questions
  • Child Applications
  • Completing an Application form
  • Passports & Citizenship
  • Name Change
  • Guarantors
  • Photographs
  • Processing your application
  • Collection
  • Damaged Passports
  • Travelling on your passport
  • Visas and your Australian Passport

Scroll through the topics to find an answer to your question. If you have a suggestion for a FAQ please email the Hong Kong Passport Office at hkng.passports@dfat.gov.au


General Passport Applications and Renewals Questions

Can I renew my passport before it expires?

Yes, you can renew your passport at any time.

Can I submit my application by mail?

No.

My Passport is Full, but it has not expired. What do I do?

You will need to apply for a replacement. To maintain the security of our passports, we do not insert additional blank pages into an existing passport.

If you travel frequently you might consider applying for a Frequent Traveller's Passport (a higher fee applies).

Can I have visa pages added to my Australian passport?

No. When your current passport has run out of visa pages, you must apply for a new passport.

Can I authorise someone to lodge the application on my behalf?

No, all applications for adult passports must be lodged in person by the applicant.

In the case of minors (under 18), one person with parental responsibility for the minor must lodge the passport application. The minor does not need to be present at lodgement.

In the case of minors (aged 16 and 17), the minor and one person with parental responsibility for the minor must lodge the passport application.

Do I have to lodge in person?

Yes. Adults must apply in person. There are no exceptions. Child applications must be lodged in person by one parent. The lodging parent does not need to be Australian.

Do I have to make an appointment to attend a passport interview?

Yes. We request all applicants make an appointment with the exception of emergency passport applications.

Appointments can be made at http://acghk.setmore.com


Child Applications

Does the Australian parent have to lodge a child passport's application?

Either parent can lodge the passport application for a child. There is no requirement for the lodging parent to be an Australian citizen.

I am applying for a passport for my child. The other person with parental responsibility for my child is not in Hong Kong. What can I do?

That person may lodge their consent for the application at the nearest Australian Passport Office or certain Australia Post Outlets in Australia, or at any Australian Embassy, High Commission, Consulate General, Consulate or Honorary Consulate if outside Australia. Refer to http://auspost.com.au for Australia Post outlets that offer passport services.

You may lodge consent for an application at the Consulate in Hong Kong to support an application lodged elsewhere in the world.

One party does not consent. Can I still obtain a passport for the child?

Where a person with parental responsibility cannot, or does not, provide consent a passport can still be issued in some limited circumstances. As requirements are strict, it is likely that the application will be subject to lengthy delays. Please see Children and Parental Consent for further information.

How do I apply for a passport for my child? I am an Australian Citizen. My child was born in Hong Kong.

Before you can apply for an Australian passport on behalf of your child, he/she must first acquire Australian citizenship by descent. You must present your child's Australian citizenship certificate and Hong Kong birth certificate when applying for an Australian passport.

For information regarding Australian citizenship please see the Australian Citizenship section under "Visas and migration".

For information on Hong Kong birth certificates contact the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

Once these documents are obtained, you can apply for a passport by lodging a PC8 application form. You can lodge the passport application at the Australian Consulate-General in Hong Kong. The passport will be ready within 3 weeks.

I am applying for a passport for my child. Does the child need to attend the interview?

No. All applications must be lodged in person by a person with parental responsibility for that child. Minors aged under 18 are not required to attend the interview.  Minors aged 16 and 17 must lodge in person together with a person with parental responsibility.

Who can witness my signature on my child’s application form?

Anyone who is 18 years or above, not related to the child by birth or marriage and not living in the same address.  Your domestic helper cannot be your witness as under Hong Kong Domestic Helper Law, your domestic helper resides with you.

Are there additional requirements for applications for children born through a surrogacy arrangement?

Yes. Please click here for more details.


Completing an Application form

I have just done my passport application online. Did you receive it?

All passport applications must be printed and lodged in person. Applications cannot be lodged electronically.

Every time I enter my current address (overseas) on the online application form, I get an error that my address cannot be verified. What do I do?

The Passports Australia website cannot verify overseas addresses. This message is just a warning. As long you are satisfied that the address you have entered is correct you can proceed by pressing the NEXT button.

Can I print out a blank form online?

No. Only completed applications can be printed from the website. If you require a blank application form, please contact the office where you will be lodging your application and one will be mailed to you. Blank forms cannot be emailed or faxed.

Can I print my form in black and white?

Yes. You can print your form in either black and white or colour.

I made a mistake when I was completing the passport application form; should I use white out/correction fluid/correction tape?

Never use correction fluid or similar products on a passport application form as it will invalidate that section of the form. You will have to complete another form.

I put the wrong date on the declaration on the passport application form; how can I correct it?

If you completed the application form online, you can amend the form and re-print the relevant page. If you completed a hard copy form which was sent to you by this office, you may cross out the incorrect date, complete the correct date and initial next to the change by the guarantor, witness, parents or applicants where appropriate.

Why can’t I use the renewal form (PC7 form)?

If you cannot access the Overseas Passport Renewal form online (PC7 form) then you may not be eligible to use that form. Alternatively you may be answering one of the security questions incorrectly. The answer to this question must exactly match what is on your passport records in order for you to proceed. If you have exhausted all of these possibilities and still believe you are eligible for a renewal form, please contact the Hong Kong passport office.

Do I have to complete Section 16 of the PC8 Application for an Australian Passport Overseas form?

If you do NOT have a valid Australian Drivers Licence then leave this section blank.

What is the Certificate Number on my Citizenship certificate for Section 3b of the PC8 Application for an Australian Passport Overseas form?

If you are using a citizenship certificate to support your application you will need to provide the certificate number. If your citizenship certificate has a client number, you must use this number for section 3B in the PC8 application form. If your citizenship does not list a client number then the certificate number should be used in section 3B including all the letters. For example 'ACC12345678' or 'ROC0123456' or 'CBD0123456'.

I am using the PC7 application form (one page form). Do I need to have the photo endorsed?

No, there is no need for photo endorsement by a guarantor if you are using the PC7 application form. Follow the instructions on the form on write your full name on the back of one photograph.

Can I authorise someone to collect a PC7 form for me?

As you must personally answer security questions when you collect the form, you cannot authorise someone else to obtain a PC7 form on your behalf. The PC7 form is pre-completed with information from your previous passport application. You may print your own form at Passports Online.

What happens if I forge someone’s signature on the passport application?

Forging another person’s signature on a passport application is considered fraud. The Consulate may refuse to process an application for an Australian travel document if we have reasonable grounds to suspect that there is fraud or dishonesty in the application.  In these cases, the application fee will not be refunded.  Examples include;

  1. forging the signature of a person with parental responsibility for a child, whether or not that person consents to the issue of a travel document to the child
  2. failing to identify all persons with parental responsibility for a child
  3. falsely signing as a witness on a travel document application
  4. misrepresenting the length of time the guarantor has known the applicant

Passports & Citizenship

What if I may have lost my Australian citizenship?

All citizenship enquiries should be directed to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). In Hong Kong you will need to contact the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) on telephone +852 2185 6326. There is also information on the DIBP pages of this website and at http://www.border.gov.au

I have recently married a foreign national; how can I obtain an Australian passport for my spouse?

We can only issue an Australian passport to an Australian citizen. When you marry a citizen of another country, it does not entitle your spouse to hold an Australian passport (unless they also hold Australian citizenship). If you and your spouse would like to live in Australia you should contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

I have lost my Australian citizenship certificate. How do I get a replacement?

Please contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. In Hong Kong you will need to contact the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) on telephone +852 2185 6326 or visit their website for details at http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Citi/Curr/Proof-of-citizenship.

Do you accept notarized copies of documents?

No. You must provide the originals of all documents required. There is no exception to this rule. The original documents can be presented at any Australian passport office worldwide. They do not have to be presented at the same office where you are lodging. Just advise the overseas office where you intend to lodge the application, and the overseas office will a copy will be sent to your lodging office.

My original documents (citizenship certificate, birth certificate, marriage certificate) are in Australia and I am worried about having them posted to me in Hong Kong/Macau as they may get lost in the mail.

Have someone (friend or family member) take them to a Passport Office or certain Australia Post outlets (refer to http://auspost.com.au for Australia Post outlets that offer passport services) in Australia. The staff there will sight the original documents and forward via email or fax the copies of the original documents sighted to the Hong Kong office.

The documents need to be presented before you lodge your application in the Hong Kong office. Passport offices are located in all State and Territory capital cities as well as Newcastle, NSW. Locations and opening hours can be obtained by phoning 131 232 toll free in Australia or at www.passports.gov.au

How do I get a replacement Australian birth certificate?

Please contact the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in your State/Territory.

How do I provide proof of my Australian citizenship?

For applicants applying for a passport using a PC8 application form you are required to provide proof of your Australian Citizenship. You can do this in the following ways:

If you were born overseas – an Australian Citizenship certificate or extract from the Register of Citizenship by decent.

If you were born in Australia before 20 August 1986 – an Australian birth certificate.

If you were born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 – An Australian birth certificate plus an Australian passport issued after 01/01/2000 and valid for at least two years; or an Australian birth certificate plus proof that one parent was an Australian Citizen or permanent resident at the time of the applicant’s birth (eg one parent’s Australian passport issued before the applicant’s birth, or a citizenship certificate issued before the applicant’s birth, or a full Australian birth certificate for one parent, or proof of their permanent resident status at the time of the applicant’s birth).

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is responsible for citizenship matters - see their website for more information (http://www.border.gov.au).


Name Change

How do I change my name on my passport?

Names in Australian passports are issued in the name at birth (for citizens born in Australia) or the name at citizenship (for citizens born outside Australia).

You can change your name in your passport only if you can show government issued name change documentation, such as a marriage certificate or official name change document. Please see Passports Online for detailed information about accepted name change documentation.

In Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Immigration Department can issue Certificates of Registered Particulars for Australians Citizens who were born in Hong Kong and currently residing in in Hong Kong.  

The Hong Kong Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages can issue Marriage Certificates for anyone who was married in Hong Kong.

If you were born in Australia and wish to change your name, you must contact the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State/Territory you were born. This includes to change your name after being married in Hong Kong.

Please note: Non-Australian marriage certificates and non-Australian change of name certificates can only be used to change a name in an Australian passport if:

• The document was issued after the applicant became an Australian citizen, and
• The document has been “legalised” by the appropriate authority from the country in which it was issued.
• A full application form PC8 is required to be completed to apply for a passport to be issued in your new name.

For information on how your foreign document can be legalised, you should contact the relevant government authority, Consulate-General, High Commission or Embassy for the country in which the document was issued.

How do I change my name on my passport due to marriage?

The requirements are different if you were:

a) married in Australia,
b) born in Australia and married outside Australia
c) born outside Australia.

Depending on your circumstances the requirements are listed below:

(a) ‘Married in Australia’ - If you were married in Australia then you will need to obtain an official marriage certificate from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state where you were married. The certificate provided by the marriage celebrant is not sufficient evidence for a change of name.

(b) ‘Born in Australia and married outside Australia’ - If you were born in Australia but were married overseas, you will need to apply to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State/Territory where you were born for a change of name certificate or for an amendment to your birth certificate.

(c) ‘Born outside Australia’ - If you were not born in Australia and were married overseas you can provide an official marriage certificate from the country where you were married. This certificate must be provided by the equivalent of the Births, Deaths and Marriage registry.

In Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Immigration Department can issue Certificates of Registered Particulars for Hong Kong-born Australians currently residing in in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages can issue Marriage Certificates for anyone who was married in Hong Kong.

Please note: Non-Australian marriage certificates and non-Australian change of name certificates can only be used to change a name in an Australian passport if:

• The document was issued after the applicant became an Australian citizen, and
• The document has been “legalised” by the appropriate authority from the country in which it was issued.
• A full application form PC8 is required to be completed to apply for a passport to be issued in your new name.

For information on how your foreign document can be legalised, you should contact the relevant government authority, Consulate-General, High Commission or Embassy for the country in which the document was issued.

How do I get an Australian name change certificate or official marriage certificate for a wedding that took place in Australia?

Please contact the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry in your State/Territory for details.


Guarantors

What happens if I cannot find an Australian citizen to be my guarantor?

You do NOT need an Australian citizen as a guarantor. You have three options:

• A non-Australian who is currently employed in one of these occupation groups, OR

• A current Australian passport holder, OR

• obtain a guarantor from your previous country of residence if you have stayed in Hong Kong for less than 12 months. You will need to send them the guarantor page and photo, which they must return to you. Lodge this with your passport application.

Who can act as a guarantor on a passport application?

A guarantor must be over 18 years of age and must not be related to the applicant by birth or marriage or living at the same address. The guarantor must have known the applicant for at least 12 months (or since birth if the child is under 12 months old).

A guarantor can be either an Australian citizen holding a current Australian passport or be currently employed in a recognised profession. For the current list of recognised professions, please click here.


Photographs

Can you recommend any places that do Australian-style photos?

The Australian Consulate-General Hong Kong does not recommend any company or service for providing Australian-style photographs. You will need to find a local photographer. You may wish to go to a shop that specialises in photos as its core business as our clients generally report that these shops are able to make the necessary adjustments to meet the Australian specifications. However, there are many places capable of producing acceptable photos for Australian passports. Each store is different so you will need to talk to your photographer to make sure he/she can take the type of photo you need. Just because one particular store is able to produce a compliant photo does not mean that all photos produced by that store will be acceptable. We do not guarantee the work of any individual photographer or store, so it is important that you check the photographs yourself to make sure they meet all requirements.

It does not matter if the overall dimensions of the photo are bigger than our minimum requirements – we can easily trim the photos down when we receive your application. Do not trim the photos yourself. However, the photo image must meet all the requirements for Australian passport photos. We strongly recommend that you take a ruler with you to check the size of your head in the photo. You should also carefully check all other aspects of the photo to make sure it meets requirements, rather than relying on the photographer to do this for you.

See the photo guidelines for more details.

Do I have to keep my glasses on for the photo?

You may or may not wear glasses in the photo. If glasses are worn the photo must meet other requirements including no reflections from lenses and no obscuring of facial features by heavy frames. 

What is the “Crown of Head” that is referred to in the photo requirements?

The “Crown of Head” is where the top of your skull would be if it were visible. It is not the top of your hair or the start of your hairline. Picture yourself bald and measure you skull from the top of your skull to the tip of your chin.

May I use home-printed photos for my passports?

No. There are strict requirements for passport photographs. Please read the instructions on the form and at Passports Online for examples. Home prints are usually not acceptable. See the photo guidelines for more details.


Processing your application

Will my previous passport be returned to me after applying for a new passport?

Your previous passport will be cancelled and returned to you.

How long does it take to renew a passport?

The standard processing time for passport application is 3 weeks. As passports are printed in Australia, we are unable to offer a priority processing service.

Can I retain my current passport while the new one is being processed?

In some special circumstances, you may be permitted to retain your passport while we process your application. Your request will be assessed when you make your passport application.

In these cases, you will be required to present the passport for cancellation when you collect the new passport.

Can I pay the Priority Processing Fee to have a passport issued quicker?

No, priority processing service is not available in Hong Kong or Macau.


Collection

Can I send someone to collect my passport when it is ready?

Yes, you may authorise anyone aged 18 years of over to collect your passport. To do so, complete the authorisation section on the collection slip given to you when you lodge your application at the Consulate and they will need to present photographic identification to confirm their identity.


Damaged Passports

How can I replace a damaged passport?

You will probably need to apply for another passport. Bring the damaged passport into the Consulate. Depending on the timing of any required travel, and the documents of identity and citizenship that you have, you may be able to apply for either an Emergency passport, or an ordinary passport. 


Travelling on your passport

I am a dual citizen. Which passport do I use when entering and departing Australia?

Australian citizens who are dual nationals are required to depart and enter Australia on their Australian passport. An Australian citizen cannot be granted a visa for Australia in a foreign passport.

I am an Australian citizen but as I did not obtain an Australian passport before departing Australia, I am using my Hong Kong SAR/Macau SAR passport whilst I am overseas. Do I have to apply for an Australian passport in order to return to Australia?

An Australian passport is conclusive evidence of a person's identity and citizenship, and provides the holder with unfettered right of entry to Australia.

International airlines have an obligation to ensure that they only carry appropriately documented passengers to Australia. In the absence of an Australian passport, airlines are unable to assess a person\'s claim to Australian citizenship at the time of check-in and may decline to carry the traveller.

It would therefore be in your best interests to apply for an Australian passport to enable you to return to Australia.

Do I need 6 months validity left on my passport before I can travel?

Some foreign governments require visitors to carry passports with at least six months validity beyond their planned stay, and you may be refused entry if you do not comply.

Well before you travel, you should check the entry requirements of the countries you plan to visit or transit.

Contact the foreign diplomatic and consular representatives of the country you wish to visit, or seek advice from your travel agent or visit Smartraveller for further information (http://smartraveller.gov.au).

Do I need six months validity left on my passport before I can travel from and then re-enter Australia?

You passport is valid to enter Australia from the date it is issued until the date it expires, and you can use it throughout this period subject to meeting the visa and immigration requirements of the countries you wish to visit or transit. 

If you are flying to Australia and transiting through another country you may need six months to enter that country. Contact the foreign diplomatic and consular representatives of the country you wish to visit, or seek advice from your travel agent or visit the Smartraveller website for further information.


Visas and your Australian Passport

Will the visas in my previous passport still be valid after it has been cancelled?

You should check the status of the visas with the authority which issued them, as we are unable to provide any information about the status of the visas.

If I apply for a new passport, what happens to the visas in my current passport? Can I still use them?

Please contact the visa office of the country that issued the visa for information about their requirements. Only the visa issuing authority or country can provide advice on the validity of the visa, and the process required for obtaining a new visa.


For more information and frequently asked questions, please visit Passports Online