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When you have problems getting a child’s passport issued

Usually, when you are planning a trip overseas with your children, there is no problem in having both parents sign a child’s passport application.  But what happens when you are divorced and the other parent refuses to cooperate?  Or if the other parent has not seen the child for many years and you do not know where he/she is?

Where a person with parental responsibility for a child (by court order, or through paternity or maternity) seeks to have a passport issued for a child the following points will provide appropriate guidance:

  • Ordinarily, the application should be made to the Minister for a passport with the consent of the other parent (or person with parental responsibility).
  • An application for a passport without the consent of a parent can be made on a two-page form available from the passport website passports.gov.au (presently Form B9). The foot of the form makes clear that only an additional 3-4 weeks is required for processing such an application.
  • Application for the issue of a passport without the consent of the other parent (or person with parental responsibility) should be made to the Minister unless:
  • The other person is objecting to the issue of a passport;
  • There are court orders restraining the child’s travel, such as an airport watch-list order; or
  • There is another good reason why the administrative process would not provide an appropriate remedy; or
  • The administrative process has resulted in a refusal to issue a passport.

Where application is made to the Court, the supporting material ought to set out why the administrative process is unsuitable and provide appropriate evidence.

If you are experiencing problems with children’s passports or overseas travel, seek legal advice from your lawyer. For more information, please contact Margaret Miller, Partner in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department.