Embassy of Australia
United States of America
Embassy address: 1601 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington DC 20036 - Telephone: (202) 797 3000 - Fax: (202) 797 3168

Common errors on application forms

These common mistakes will result in your application being delayed during processing and may lead to the outright rejection and return of the application.

Section 2a : Unacceptable name being requested on the new passport

The name on your new passport must match exactly the name on the document presented in Section 3 (birth certificate, passport or citizenship certificate). The Passport Officer is not permitted to change, add or remove any part of the name without a name change document. The most common occurrence of this error is when an applicant is changing their family name on marriage. We can change the family name on the basis of a marriage certificate. You cannot replace your middle name with your maiden name on the basis of a marriage certificate. This type of name change requires a name change certificate that specifically changes your middle name.

Section 2b : The place of birth written in Section 2 must match that shown on any full Australian birth certificate presented as a supporting document

This most commonly occurs with children’s applications where the previous passport may show a city (eg, Sydney) but the birth certificate records Parramatta as the palce of birth. In such cases, the place of birth in the passport will be changed to Parramatta. Only include the place of birth, not the state or country in this field.

Section 2b: The country of birth is written as U.S.A.

The full stops are not necessary in this field simply use USA.

Section 5 : Mother's name at her birth

All that is required in this field is the applicant’s mother’s maiden name, not her whole name. For example if your mother's name at her birth was Mary Smith the answer to Section 5 would be Smith.

Section 9b : "Are you an identical twin?" is not answered on the form

It is most likely this section is missed rather than ignored. Simply mark if you are an identical twin or not.

Section 10 : Include details about your previous Australian passport

Even if your passport details were entered on page 1 as proof of citizenship, it is important to enter them again here. Your previous Australian passport includes any Emergency or Limited Validity documents you may have been issued in the past.

Section 12 : Guarantor

The guarantor does not have to be Australian.  Read the guidelines on guarantors.

Common errors in this section include:

Your Guarantor must be willing to provide complete personal details and must fill in all appropriate sections of the form correctly. We must be able to reach them during normal business hours, so choose your Guarantor wisely.

This is an important part of the passport application form and there is no room for error on this page. Most of the errors listed above will require your Gurantor to fill in the form again. It is in your best interests to get it right the first time.

Sections 14, 15, 16 and 17 : Parental consent

Mother's family name has changed from that listed on birth certificate and no evidence has been provided

Whenever there is a difference between a parent’s name listed on the birth certificate and the name by which they are now known, the Passports Office requires evidence of the name change. In most cases the mother's name on an overseas birth certificate will only indicate the maiden name of the mother (even if she used her married name at the time). In these cases we require the marriage certificate to be presented so that we can confirm the mother’s identity. The passport history of the child or parent is not considered evidence of a name change. The onus is on the applicant to provide the documentation necessary to link the name on the birth certificate to the current name.

Mother’s and father’s consent signatures not witnessed

Applications are often received where the consent signatures of either or both parents have not been witnessed. Passport Officers cannot witness signatures on the application form.

Witness is not qualified

A Witness can be anyone over the age of 18 who is not in any way related to the parents and who is willing to provide their contact number.

Dates are written incorrectly or are wrong

If the dates for either the parent or the witnesses signature or incorrect the consent is not valid. The consent will have to redone and returned to the passports office.

Section 18 : Birth Certificate details are entered in the place of a Birth Card

A Birth Certificate is not a Birth Card. A Birth Card is a special card issued by some states in Australia as a proof of age card.

Section 19 : Declaration

The declaration is not dated or is dated incorrectly

The signature of the applicant or lodging parent must be dated with the date on which it was signed. Common errors in this section include using a birth date, the wrong year, United States format (month before day), or the date is omitted completely.

Signature on page 5 does not fit in the white box provided

This is the signature we put in the passport and it is important that we have a blank background which is why staying within the box is required. If we cannot use the signature provided you will be asked to supply another example of your signature.

Child over 10 years old did not give an example of their signature

Any child over 10 years old is considered capable of providing a signature to include in their passport, unless a medical reason prevents this.

The photographs provided do not meet the requirements

The photographs for an Australian Passport must meet requirements that are strictly enforced.  These are set out in the application form information pages and here on this website. The Australian standards for passport photographs differ from those of the United States, so care must be taken to ensure that you are obtaining compliant photographs. Common errors are that the size of the face in the photo is too small, mouth is open, not looking straight at camera and the photo is cut too small. Do not trim your photographs. For more information on obtaining compliant photographs, read this guide which contains a guide on measuring and testing your photographs before lodging.

Passport Officers have no choice but to reject non-compliant photographs. This will certainly delay processing of your application.

Guarantor did not endorse the back of one photo correctly

The Guarantor is required to write on the back of one photo “This is a true photo of [name of applicant]” and then sign underneath. We cannot use a photo that has not been properly endorsed.

Mailing the application

Please be sure to mark your application to the attention of the Passports Office so that it doesn't go astray at the Embassy or a Consulate-General.

We recommend you use a reputable courier service to get the application to the Embassy as it provides you with a secure and trackable way of sending the application.

If you do not want to use the Embassy's FedEx option for the return of your passport and original documents, you may provide your own prepaid courier envelope.