Travelling safely: Identification
Travelling safely: Identification
What's coming up?
In this activity you’ll learn about some of the identification documents you should always take with you when travelling, either domestically or overseas.
You’ll find out about the importance of passports, and Photo IDs for travelling in Australia.Start activity
The importance of ID
Being able to prove who you are with a simple piece of documentation makes travel so much easier. And in some parts of the world, you need to carry photo ID with other documents, such as a visa.
Photo ID also helps in an emergency, to get you the right care as quickly as possible.
Travelling in Australia: Photo ID
The standard photo ID for adults in Australia is an Australian driver's licence, issued by your state. This can be used almost anywhere that photo ID is requested, because it includes your current address and date of birth.
If you happen to change address before your driver’s license expires, don’t forget to pop down to the local government offices (such as Service NSW or VicRoads) and update your address. You can also do this online in most states and territories.
You can either pay to renew your licence, or get a sticker placed on the back of your licence with the new address.
What if you don't have a driver's licence?
Don’t worry if you don’t hold a driver’s licence. You can apply for a Photo ID card that works the same way (except for the driving part, of course!).
You’ll need to visit your local government offices to sit for a quick photo. You’ll also need to pay a small fee, which differs by state. Your Photo ID will be sent to you in the mail within 10 business days. It will include your date of birth, and current address.
Travelling internationally: Your passport
To leave Australia and enter another country legally, you will need to carry a valid passport.
You can find information about how to apply for a passport by typing https://passports.gov.au into the search bar of your web browser.
A passport contains your photo, as well as a number of security features to make sure the passport is valid and genuine.
Some countries require your passport to have at least six months left on it before it expires, when you travel. In other words, if your passport expires in December of this year, you won’t be allowed to travel from June.
Not all countries have this rule and you can find out more about this at https://smartraveller.gov.au
ePassports and how they work
Since 2005, all Australian passports have included an embedded computer chip which has the same information as you can see on the photo page of the passport.
This includes your personal information, a digitised version of your picture, and the document number of the passport.
At some airports and ports you can use a scanner or electronic gate to pass through immigration. Called a SmartGate here in Australia, they can be faster than waiting in the main queue.
You don’t need to ask for an ePassport, all Australian passports are now issued with this feature.
Applying for a passport
You can apply for an Australian passport at https://passports.gov.au. You will need to refer to the website to get more information about the types of documents you need to apply for an Australian passport.
You have completed the Travelling safely: Identification activity. You now know about the different kinds of ID you will need to travel.
Up next, you’ll find out about travel restrictions and requirements related to COVID-19, in the All about COVID-19 vaccination certificates activity.