Extension of passport expiry

Asif’s passport is up for renewal and he wonders whether the expiry date might be extended due to the restrictions placed on travel this year.

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Q. Asif
My passport is up for renewal early next year, but I am hesitant to pay for a new one just yet, with no indication of when it will even be possible to travel overseas again. Seeing as overseas travel has been impossible for most of this year, I was wondering whether there was a plan to extend the expiry dates on all current passports to make allowances for the COVID-19 pandemic.

A. Your question did briefly get me excited about the prospect of not losing the time we have been unable to travel from my passport this year, but unfortunately there is no real option for an extension to the expiry dates on passports.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has no plans to change the expiry dates or waive any of the fees charged for passports that were unable to be used due to travel bans.

Passport controls are way too strict to enable alterations to reflect this change, so it is hardly surprising that people just have to wear the impost caused by COVID-19 in this situation.

You are not alone in questioning the need to renew your passport, however.

The Guardian recently reported that passport applications were down by 400,000 in the first half of 2020.

There were only around 300,000 passports applied for or renewed from the beginning of March until the end of June.

“The onset of COVID-19 has seen a decline in passport applications, with our data suggesting that some Australians are delaying either applying for, or renewing, their passport due to the pandemic,” a DFAT spokesperson told The Guardian.

The good news is, even if you let your passport expire, as long as you renew it within three years of the expiry date, you are still eligible for the streamlined renewal service.

Do you think the government should consider crediting future passport renewals to cover the period of the travel ban for the pandemic?

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Written by Ben

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