If you want to travel within the next six months, you should apply for or renew your passport right away.
There are still passport delays, with the Australian Passport Office (APO) processing up to 15,000 applications each day.
To put it in context, prior to Covid, that ratio was closer to 7000 to 9000, implying that applications had nearly doubled.
“We regret these delays and are spending energy and resources to rectify this,” a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told news.com.au.
Most Australians were unable to travel during the two-year period when Australia’s international border was blocked because of Covid.
“The APO issued personalised communications to Australians whose passports were about to expire to urge renewals,” a spokesman said. During this time, however, about 1.8 million passports were not renewed.
In response, additional personnel were hired, with employee levels virtually tripling since June of this year, from around 730 to over 1800.
Australians who need to travel within the next six weeks but don’t have a valid passport can still acquire one, but it will cost them.
“The APO’s priority processing option is available for $225, with passports ready for shipping or pickup within two business days of receiving all papers from Australia Post,” a spokesman told news.com.au.
Those planning to travel within the next six months are recommended to apply as soon as possible to prevent disappointment.
The official added that while the majority of applications are processed within six weeks, there will always be exceptions.
According to News.com.au, the APO issued more over 120,000 passports in September, and so far this fiscal year (2022-23) it has handled over 380,000 calls and issued more than 570,000 passports (almost 11,000 per business day).