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Jun 13, 2022 | About Australia

All About Australian Diplomatic Passport

This blog will cover every aspect of the Australian diplomatic passport. Ordinary people will never hold or see the diplomatic passport, and it’s meant for the diplomatic community.

Diplomatic Passports in Australia are issued to diplomats and government officials. It facilitates their travel for diplomatic or official purposes.

The Minister approves the Australian diplomatic travel passport for Foreign Affairs under the Ministerial Schedules.

What is a Diplomatic Passport in Australia?

What is a Diplomatic Passport in Australia?

All Australian Passports are issued by their government. That also includes diplomatic passports. A diplomatic passport holder must be an Australian government service representative.

Normal Australian citizens get ordinary passports.

However, most of the time, owning an Australian diplomatic or official passport doesn’t offer a huge advantage.

The official with an Australian diplomatic passport is expected to follow the rules of the country they visit. You will not get diplomatic immunity even if you work for the Australian government in a diplomatic capacity.

That means Diplomatic Passport Australia is issued to Australian citizens who provide diplomatic services overseas.

The Australian diplomats in foreign countries must present their passports on request or when filling in forms while serving.

However, an Australian diplomatic passport is not for personal use. An Australian citizen employed as a diplomat in Japan can’t use a diplomatic passport to spend holidays in another country.

Here they will require an ordinary Australian passport.   

Similarly, officials working in Australian embassies or high commission(s) hold a diplomatic passport issued by their respective countries.

These officials are Diplomatic passport holders travelling to Australia. They are expected to show their passport in Australia when requested.

That means diplomatic passports are issued to government officials and diplomats of their respective countries to serve in foreign countries.

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Who is Eligible For a Diplomatic Passport?

Who is Eligible For a Diplomatic Passport?

Diplomatic passports are issued in every country to their government officials and diplomats. Every country has their official passport authority responsible for issuing passports.  

In Australia, it’s the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade – DFAT. DFAT issue all types of passports to Australian citizens. That includes ordinary passports, travel passports, study passports, emergency passports, and diplomatic or official passports.   

In Australia application for a diplomatic or official passport is accepted by the nominated government agency. It is also responsible for assessing the eligibility according to DFAT guidelines.

DFAT can cancel the Australian diplomatic passport anytime if it’s proved that the official has not properly used it.

What Are the Privileges of a Diplomatic Passport?

What Are the Privileges of a Diplomatic Passport?

Australian diplomatic passport is beneficial to streamline immigration needs. It makes travel to and from different countries smooth to carry out the diplomatic services.

Diplomatic passport holders must follow the rules of every country where they work. The issuing countries don’t have any interferences in it.  

Similarly, Diplomatic passport holders flying to Australia also need to apply for a diplomatic visa (subclass 955). All foreign diplomats in Australia should follow the Australian rules and laws. 

At the same time, several countries offer diplomatic immunity to their passport holders. But that again means the rules of the individual countries. However, they can enjoy immunity from arrest, prosecution, and searching for a home or property.

In the context of Australia, diplomats get privileges of three diplomatic immunity types. Firstly the highest level, also known as the Red card level, offers the greatest immunity. Secondly, the green card level is applied to the consular staff and has reduced immunity.

Finally, and most importantly, even the highest immunity levels have exceptions. Especially if the government agrees to prosecution in cases of grave crime offences.  

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Brief History of Australian Passports

Brief History of Australian Passports

Before 1901, the use of a passport was not very common in Australia if a British passport was used. As the country consisted of six separate British colonies.  

In 1901, all six colonies formed the “Commonwealth of Australia.” However, British nationality was still prevalent in Australia.

It was 1912 when the first Federal passport regulations were introduced in the country. However, the passport issued still had the words “British Passport” on the cover until 1967.

But, during World War I, things started changing drastically. And Australian nationality came into the scenario on the 26th of January, 1949. Which was the result of the “Nationality and Citizen Act,” 1948.

This further resulted in the appearance of Australian passports different from British. British subjects other than Australians continued with an Australian passport.

Here, “British Subjects” are all those people from different countries who come under the “Nationality and Citizen Act,” 1948.

The same act dismissed the legal authority of the British passport was denied in 1984 by the same act. Now, Australian passports are issued only to Australian citizens.

However, non-citizen British subjects’ passports remained valid until their expiry.

In 1980, computerised processing and registration replaced the entire passport issuing system. Which was known as “Passport Issue and Control System,” or PICS.

After 24th Oct 2005, the country started issuing biometric passports, called ePassports. That includes more credible information about the person using digital tools.

With time the Australian passport issuing system adopted every modern technology to issue passports. Here you will explore excellent tips about “How to Apply For Australian Citizenship.”


Diplomatic passports are issued to the officials working as diplomats in other countries. Similarly, Australia issue Australian Diplomatic Passport for their diplomats. Many countries treat individuals carrying diplomatic passports better than ordinary citizens.

However, diplomats are accepted to apply with correct visas and follow the rules and regulations of the country where they are deployed. Diplomatic passports should be translated in support of visa application.

The Australian government and immigration authorities only accept documents in Australian English. That’s why hiring professional translators to perform authorised translations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What color is the diplomatic passport of Australia?

Diplomatic passports frequently come in black, and some earlier Australian papers appeared black. A few white passports are also in circulation but are not ordinary documents.

What is the expiry date of the passport?

A foreign passport is valid five years from the issue date unless the Department specifies a lesser timeframe. It may be for such period, whichever is lesser, as long as the bearer retains their diplomatic position.

Who can use an Australian diplomatic passport?

Australian residents who are traveling for official or diplomatic reasons may be granted a diplomatic or official passport with the approval of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Emily Chen

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