If you’re planning on catching flights not feelings this cuffing season, be warned: passport delays are lengthy AF right now. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Sydney had an absolute whopper line outside it this week and we don’t wish this queue upon our worst enemy. Lines are getting so long that some folks are paying people on Airtasker to queue up for them. We live in truly batshit times.
Per the Sydney Morning Herald, some folks are paying up to $150 to get a rando on Airtasker to join hellish queues in their place.
“Coming from country NSW so may not arrive till after 8.30am. Due to significant queues, I require someone to queue early for me,” read one Airtasker request.
“Need someone to wait in the line at the passport office at Haymarket while I am at work,” read another.
“You can [call] me when close to the front of the line and I will come to meet you.”
Crowds have reportedly snaked from DFAT’s entry all the way to Central Station. Crying, screaming and throwing up for my hopeful Bali-bound besties and United Kingdom sick-kents out there.
This week there were reportedly 16,417 passport applications — a new record-high.
If you need you Aussie passport you better hurry up! they say 6 weeks wait but there is people here waiting for more than 12 weeks … they are saying to everyone”I will escalate, come next week” and nothing happens …. there are 10 windows and only 2 are open for customers !!!! C’mon!!! #passport #aussiepassport #passportofficesydney #planningtotravel #traveladventure #travelaustralia
— Georgia de Mestre (@georgiademestre) June 6, 2022
Due to horrific scenes like this, the DFAT is recommending people plan way ahead for their trips, because if your passport expires it could take up to *six* weeks for a renewal. To create a new one, the wait is even longer.
DFAT said it’s gotten a record number of passport applications since borders opened. It used to get an average of 7000 to 9000 passport applications every working day, but that’s risen to between 10,000 and 12,000.
Last financial year DFAT issued around 600,000 passports. So far in this financial year they’ve issued more than 1 million, meaning things are pretty chaotic. Right now it’s taking about 17 business days to get a passport processed — that’s nearly four weeks. Some customers actually had to wait over 90 days (three months!!) for theirs.
So, with all that in mind, make sure you check your passport expiration dates ASAP. Don’t be like me and find out the week you need your passport that it expired during the pandemic. Many tears were shed in Officework’s fluorescent lighting as I frantically printed my checklist on a work break. Trust me, you do not want that stress.
What if you can’t wait six weeks? Don’t panic, there are options.
You could cough up an extra $225 for priority processing which gets your passport sorted in two business days (ish). But that payment is on top of the $193 it costs to renew it. And there’s still no guarantee you’ll get it in time because of all the delays — I was recommended to allow a week rather than the two business days, especially considering they don’t include the time it takes your passport to be shipped to and from the passport office.
BUT. If you’re really desperate (like I was), you can lodge your priority processing but ask to collect your passport from your city’s office yourself. That means you don’t have to wait the extra time it’ll take for it to be shipped to your home. Just make sure you’ll actually be available during the office’s opening hours.
Given the high demand, if you decide to pick up your passport yourself then allow a hefty wait time! I posted mine on Monday morning, it was ready to collect on Thursday afternoon, and I waited more than an hour in line at the Sydney passport office to pick it up. A colleague of mine waited more than two hours.
By the way, if your passport is not processed in the two business days you paid for it, you can absolutely get that $225 back.
“Customers can request a refund of our priority service fee if their passport was not issued within two business days after we received all the information we requested to satisfy us of their identity and entitlement to a passport,” a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Trade and Affairs said.
“The time taken to deliver a passport to a customer, either by post or courier, is not included in this two business days service standard.”
So go forth out and get that passport! Adulting! We love to see it.