Renewing your Australian passport is a moderately easy process, but you must allow adequate time for the proper paperwork to clear before you leave the country. Many officials say the process is quicker due to the electronic methods that have been employed, but always give yourself extra time just in case there are delays.
Log on to passports.gov.au, and go to the passport renew section. Read the instructions and start the renewal process.
Enter a valid passport number, and answer a set of questions that will confirm your identity. This step will allow you to access and download an application form already filled in with information recorded by the passport office.
Telephone the Australian Passport Information Service, if you lack Internet service, at 13-12-32 and answer the same questions. A form will be mailed to you. Complete the form and make an appointment at the post office. Take two updated passport photographs with you. Note that you cannot smile on your passport photo.
Pay the applicant's fee at the post office when the application is lodged. Cash, EFTPOS or credit cards are accepted, but they will not accept checks. The cost is $200 per passport or $100 per child's document if you want a 32-page passport. For frequent travelers, the fee is $300 for a 64-page passport. If you are 75 or older, the fees drop to $100 for a 32-page passport and $150 for the frequent traveler's version. Expect your passport to be sent out by registered mail. Applications are generally processed in about 10 working days but for an extra $75 the passport office will provide a priority service within two working days' turnaround. You can also opt to pick up your renewed passport at a passport office.
While routine renewals are relatively simple, applications for a first Australian passport can't be filed online--nor can renewals of passports that expired more than a year ago because these are regarded as new applications.
Forms for these must be picked up at a post office and lodged there too. As with renewals, these passports are sent by registered mail.
If a passport is lost or stolen overseas, full replacements are no longer issued by Australian diplomatic posts. Consular offices now issue only emergency passports, valid for one-way trips back to Australia.
Once back home, the person pays again for a fresh passport as well as the penalty for having the passport lost or stolen--even if this event is out of the victim's control.
If one of Australia's foreign missions advances emergency cash to a traveler, this must be paid back at a passport office before a new passport is issued.
A final word about validity: some countries don't admit visitors with passports expiring within six months or won't put visas in such documents. So, depending on your destinations, you may need to renew a little sooner than you think.
Expect to pay additional fees if your passport has been lost or stolen. It costs an extra $66 per document. If you have lost two, it costs $200. If you lose three, it costs $400.