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Australian-Passports Act 2005
The Australian Passports Act 2005, which comes into effect on 1 July, introduces new measures to protect Australian passports and passport holders. Identity theft is a growing problem with serious consequences for our security at home and abroad. It can involve the illegal use of documents – such as passports – issued in another person's name.
The new Act combats this problem by introducing tougher penalties for passport fraud and stricter procedures for dealing with lost or stolen passports. It requires Australians at home and overseas to report a lost or stolen passport as soon as possible. It authorises the department to cancel such passports immediately and permanently, and to notify international border control authorities that they are no longer valid. As an Australian residing overseas, you can report a lost or stolen passport to your nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission or online at the passports website www.passports.gov.au.
If you recover your passport after reporting it as lost or stolen you must return it to the nearest Australian diplomatic or consular mission. Do this within three months and you may qualify for a $64 one-off payment (but only if you have paid the lost or stolen passport fee). Under no circumstances should you try to use a passport that you have reported as lost or stolen. This is illegal and heavy penalties apply.
Mandatory reporting and immediate cancellation will help us to prevent criminals and terrorists from using lost or stolen passports to assume someone else’s identity. This is something in which all Australians have a stake.
At the same time, the new Act encourages Australians to protect their passport by introducing a lost or stolen passport fee in addition to the normal passport application fee. This additional fee must be paid when applying for a replacement passport. The amount of the additional fee depends on the number of passports an individual has lost or had stolen in the previous five years. The fee is $64 for one passport lost or stolen, $193 for two and $386 for three or more. The validity of the replacement passport will also be reduced if three or more have been lost or stolen. You can use the passports website to confirm the number of passports you have lost or had stolen.
An arrangement has been put in place to refund the lost or stolen passport fee where passport holders can establish they were not responsible for the loss or theft. You can apply for a refund only if the passport was lost or stolen in circumstances beyond your control. You cannot apply for a refund if insurance covers you against payment of the lost or stolen fee.
New forms will be available for passport services from 1 July 2005. In most cases, the old forms cannot be used after 31 July 2005. The exception is passport renewal forms already mailed out bearing a use-by date later than 31 July 2005, but even these cannot be used beyond 30 June 2006.
If you would like more information on these changes, check the passports website or contact the Passport Section, Australian Embassy, Jalan H.R Rasuna Said Kav C 15-16, Jakarta Selatan, Tel: 021 2550 5500.