Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Passports FAQ

Passports FAQ

Q1 - Can I make an appointment to lodge my passport application?

The Geneva office operates an appointment system for the personal lodgement of applications. Applicants who fall into one of the following categories must attend an interview by calling 022 799 9147 or 022 799 9176 between the hours of 0900 - 1200, Monday - Friday to make an appointment.

Appointments are only available between 0900 - 1500, Monday - Friday. Please note - it is not possible to make appointments online.

The following passport applicants must lodge their application in person in Geneva:

  • first passport (children aged under 18 do not have to accompany the lodging parent) 
  • first adult passport 
  • applicants replacing a lost, stolen or seriously damaged travel document 
  • applicants replacing limited validity travel documents (this includes emergency passports) and passports which were issued after 20 August 1986 and with an original validity of less than two (2) years 
  • applicants replacing a passport issued prior to 20 August 1986 
  • applicants applying for their first passport on resumption of Australian citizenship

Q2 - Can I apply for my passport by post?

If you are applying to renew a passport which was issued after 20 August 1986 and with an original validity of 2 years or more, the application should be posted to the Geneva office by registered mail. Please note that the renewal of a minor's passport should be accompanied by a parent's identity document showing their current name and signature (e.g. passport or driver's licence).

Q3 - Under what circumstances does a passport application have to be lodged in person?

You must lodge your application in person if you are applying:

  • for a first passport (if applying for your child's first passport, it is not necessary for the child to accompany the parent) 
  • for a first adult passport
  • to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport or travel document
  • to replace a passport which was issued before 20 August 1986
  • to replace a passport which was issued with a validity of less than two years
  • for a passport after resumption of Australian citizenship.

Children's applications may be submitted on behalf of the child by a parent or legal guardian and must be lodged in person for the first passport.

Q4 - Do I have to provide my child's full length birth certificate?

The child's full length birth certificate, showing the parents' names, must always be provided regardless of whether the child was born in Australia or overseas, or whether the child has been issued with an Australian passport previously. Any foreign language documents submitted must be accompanied by an official English translation. We are happy to accept the international version of documents which can be obtained by the issuing authority.

Q5 - Does my Passport have a Machine Readable Zone (MRZ)?

Australian machine readable passports feature a two line machine readable zone (MRZ) at the bottom of the biographical data page, consistent with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

Details about the United States of Americia Visa Waiver Programme.

Q6 - Will my previous passport be returned to me after applying for a new passport?

If your application is incomplete or incorrect, we will return the application form and supporting passport/documents to you by special delivery for which a charge of CHF 5.00 (within Switzerland) will be made. These fees are non-refundable

Q7 - Will the visas in my previous passport still be valid after it has been cancelled?

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

Q8 - I have an Australian passport and a Swiss passport; which passport do I use when entering Australia?

To avoid delays at airline check-in and again at the border entry point, 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.

When entering Australia, all Australians, including those who hold dual nationality, must be able to prove that they are an Australian citizen. 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.

Q9 - I am an Australian citizen but as I did not obtain an Australian passport before departing Australia, I am using my Swiss passport whilst I am overseas. Do I have to apply for an Australian passport in order to return to Australia?

As noted above, Australian citizens must enter Australia on an Australian passport so you must apply in person for an Australian passport to enable you to return to Australia.

Q10 - I am an Australian citizen and I've just had a baby. What do I have to do to get Australian citizenship and an Australian passport for him/her?

Before you can apply for an Australian passport for your child, he/she must first obtain Australian citizenship. Application forms can be obtained from the Australian Consulate-General Geneva by telephoning 022 799 9100. However, please note, from 1 October 2009, all citizenship by Descent applications will be processed at the Australian High Commission in London: Citizenship by Descent

Q11 - I have recently been married. How do I change my name on my passport?

You will need to apply for a new passport by completing the Application for an Australian Passport Overseas form (please note that you do not qualify for a renewal form in these circumstances).

If you were married in Australia, you must provide the marriage certificate issued by the Australian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM). A marriage certificate issued by a celebrant or religious leader is not acceptable for passport purposes.

If you were born in Australia but married overseas, you will need to register a change of name with the Australian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the state or territory of your birth and obtain the relevant certificate which must accompany your completed passport application. You must also provide your original overseas marriage certificate.

If you were born outside Australia and married outside Australia, you must provide your overseas marriage certificate. Any foreign language documents submitted must be accompanied by an official English translation. We are happy to accept the international version of documents which can be obtained by the issuing authority.

A gratis passport will only be issued if you apply for your new passport within 12 months of your marriage and have at least 2 years validity on your current passport. The new passport will be valid to the expiry date of the passport which is being replaced.

Q12 - 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 Citizenship.

Q13 - My passport is nearly full but is valid for another x years, is it possible to add extra pages?

Unfortunately, it is not possible for pages to be added to Australian passports so you will have to apply for a new passport by completing a passport renewal form.

Q14 - Can I get my child/ren added to my Australian passport?

A child who is an Australian citizen must have their own Australian passport as it is not possible to include a child on a parent's passport.

Q15 - My child's mother/father is overseas - how do I get consent?

A number of legal requirements must be met before a passport may be issued to a child. Specifically, each person listed on the full birth certificate or each person who has legal caring responsibility for the child must supply his or her consent.

If the non lodging parent is in Australia or overseas, he/she can provide their consent at an Australian Passport Office in Australia or at an Australian High Commission or Embassy in the country in which they reside.

Q16 - I am unable to obtain the consent of my child's father/mother as I am no longer in contact with him/her; what can I do?

Every effort should be made to gain the consent prior to lodging an application form for your child's passport, however if you are unable to provide consent from all parties, please contact the Passport Office to discuss the matter and obtain additional forms for completion. If the consent has not been obtained, the processing of the application can take from 4-6 weeks and if the application is not approved, you will not be entitled to a refund of the application fee. You are therefore strongly urged not to book travel until you know the outcome of the application.

Q17 - I washed my passport, do I have to apply for a replacement passport?

If your passport is badly damaged, you are required to apply for a replacement passport in person by completing an Application for an Australian Passport Overseas form and submitting the relevant supporting documents. You will be required to submit an original Australian full length birth certificate (if you were born in Australia), or an Australian citizenship certificate showing your place of birth. If the place of birth is not shown on the citizenship certificate, you will also need to provide your original foreign birth certificate (international version). In all cases, you must also provide the damaged passport which will not be returned to you if considered badly damaged.

Q18 - My husband/wife is not an Australian citizen; can he/she lodge our child’s passport application?

Either of the consenting parties can lodge the passport application as there is no requirement for the lodging party to be an Australian citizen. (The lodging parent doesn't need to be the Australian parent.)

Q19 - Do you accept notarized/certified copies of documents?

No, you must provide the originals of all documents required. There is no exception to this rule.

If you need to obtain original documents from another country, we can accept faxed copies from certain authorized sources, e.g. a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Australia, an Australian Passport Office in Australia or an overseas Australian diplomatic mission.

Q20 - What is meant by the ‘crown of the head’ which is referred to in the passport photo requirements?

The ‘crown of the 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.

Q21 - Can I travel on my passport if the name differs to the name on my airline ticket?

Any specific questions regarding what an airline will accept as proof of identity should be directed to the airline.

Q22 - 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.

Q23 - 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 can request that a replacement page be sent to you or if you are under a time constraint to submit the passport application, you may cross out the incorrect date, complete the correct date and initial next to the change.

Q24 - I have just completed my passport application online, did you receive it?

All passport applications completed online must be printed by the applicant and lodged at a passport office together with relevant supporting documents, fee, etc. There is currently no way to lodge an Australian passport application electronically.

Q25 - Why can’t I use the renewal form?

If you cannot access the Overseas Passport Renewal form online then you may not be eligible to use that form. You can only use this form if your current Australian passport is an adult passport, issued with a validity of more than 2 years and is either current or expired in the last 24 months. Alternatively you may be answering the security questions incorrectly. The answer to these questions 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 Australian Consulate-General, Geneva by telephoning 022 799 9100.

Q26 - I am completing the form online and whenever I enter my current address (which is an overseas address) I get a message advising 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.

Q27 - I am trying to complete the application form online but I keep going around in circles/getting error messages. What do I do?

If you are going around in circles, it is likely that you have made an incorrect choice at some stage. The most common problem is that you are selecting the wrong answers to ‘Are you residing in Australia?’ (the answer should always be ‘no’ for someone applying outside of Australia) or ‘Do you wish to renew an Australian passport’ (‘Yes’ if you qualify for a renewal form (PC7) and ‘No’ if you have to use an Application for an Australian Passport Overseas form (form PC8).

Q28 - Do I have to complete Section 16 of the Application for an Australian Passport Overseas form?

This section should be left blank if you do NOT have a valid Australian Drivers Licence or NSW Birth Card, or if you are completing the application on behalf of a child.

Q29 - Section 3b - Are you presenting a Citizenship Certificate?

If your citizenship certificate has a client number, use the client number for this section. If not continue to use the certificate number eg. ACC12345678 or ROC0123456.