Do You Need Both Parents’ Signatures for a Passport Australia?

What do you do when a parent refuses to sign a passport application?

In order to issue a child’s passport after divorce, there needs to be written consent from both parents of the child.

The divorce doesn’t change the fact that both signatures are required, even in the case of one parent having an order for sole parental responsibility.

Both parents need to sign a child’s passport application form.

In most cases, this is usually the natural parents of the child as stated on the child’s Birth Certificate.

If written consent is provided by each of the parties with parental responsibility, applications can be lodged at an Australian Post Office or any Australian Passport Office.

Even if the parties are divorced, you can still get a passport for your child this way through both signing and lodging as per usual.

‘Sole parental responsibility’ grants power for ‘long-term decisions for the child’ but does not remove the other parent’s parental responsibility.

The reason the law needs each party with parental responsibility to give written consent is to prevent the abduction of children of divorced households.

This is why it can be slightly tricky in order to have the passport office issue a child’s passport after divorce.

So what can you do if the other parent refuses to sign a passport application?

When a parent refuses to sign a passport application, you can still try to get the passport for your child.


When Parent Refuses to Sign Passport Application

Option 1 

Make a written request to the Approved Senior Officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to consider approving the child’s passport due to special circumstances

When making your request you should include:

  • A copy of the letter sent to the other parent requesting their written consent for the child’s passport application
  • A certified copy of the child’s Birth Certificate
  • A copy of the travel itinerary and plane tickets if you have already booked travel
  • A certified copy of the final Court-made parenting order

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will then make a determination as to whether they will grant the passport based on exceptional circumstances.

Option 2:

If the Australian Passports Office do not approve the ‘special circumstances’ request, you can apply to the Court for an order granting permission for the child to obtain a passport

  • Most cases will require you to attempt mediation before making an application to the Court.
  • If mediation is unsuccessful, you can file an Initiating Application.
  • You will need to include an Affidavit in support of the Application, including all the relevant facts that will help your case

In your Initiating Application, you will need to ask the court for an order permitted one parent to apply for and be issued with a passport for the child.

The court will want more information in your affidavit as to why you want to apply for a passport for the child.

This means that you may need to explain your reasons for travel, and whether or not you intend to come back to Australia.

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