I was going to have to miss my brother's wedding on Jan 4th but he bought me a flight today. But my Aussie passport is expired and was only an emergency passport to begin with. I'm born and bred Aussie, just been away for ten years. I'm hoping to arrive on UK passport, show the expired Aussie one and the wedding invite and my return ticket for two weeks later and hope they understand.

What are my chances? Also planning on going to the Aussie embassy on Monday to see what they say but want to know my chances of just entering on a UK passport.

  • flights are 24th dec and 12th jan back to uk
    – nick s
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 1:28
  • 7
    If you're an Australian citizen, you have the right of abode in Australia. There shouldn't be any need to prove that you're going to leave, because you don't have to. I don't think you'll have any issues at immigration (the expired Australian passport should suffice as ID), but you will need to ensure your British passport allows you entry into Australia when the airline checks during check-in. I wouldn't complicate things with the airline by explaining the Australian passport.
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 1:52
  • thanks sam. so you think i should apply for evisitor visa required for uk tourist to aus and use that to get through heathrow and then hope expired aussie gets me through perth immigration?
    – nick s
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 2:01
  • 1
    1. NZ will issue passports with increasingly short delays in return for increasingly large amounts of $. It's likely that Oz would try to match us on that :-). 2. Entering NZ without valid NZ passport would I'm sure cause customs conniptions, but they'd probably deport one to NZ :-). Oz response unknown, but I'd not mess with them - Naru is hot at this time of year. - Realistically, I'd expect that arriving in Oz with an expired Oz passport could result in a very very long processing time at the airport and eventual success. Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 10:42
  • I know the chances are low for a response, but could @nicks please advice what he ended up doing?
    – Chris
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 7:36

4 Answers 4


I had been searching for advice on this very point and never found a firm answer so thought thought I'd report what happened with my son (dual citizenship without an Australian passport) when he traveled from Glasgow to Melbourne at the weekend (December 2015).

BTW, You cannot put an evisa on a UK passport - the system throws you out - it knows that you are an Aus citizen as soon as you enter your UK passport details. I had also tried to get an answer from the passport office - who never got back to me and Emirates who verbally told me he'd be fine to check in as long as he had his citizen certificate or similar.

So back to what happened....

When my son checked in, showing his UK passport and citizen certificate, the Emirates check in made a phone call to clarify his right to enter Australia. This all happened while my son was standing at the check in desk and took just a couple of minutes. Check in and all transfers went smoothly.

On arrival in Melbourne he was held up for 5 minutes by Border control who after scanning his UK passport and checking his citizen certificate, pulled him aside and asked some basic questions (when was he last here etc) and why didn't he have a passport. He replied that living in Highlands of Scotland, its totally unrealistic - and way too expensive to travel to London just to get a passport especially as he was coming here and he'd get one here. They told him he needed to get his passport for his next visit and let him through. So no problem entering the country.

I spent a few nights worrying in case they wouldn't let him travel so hope this helps anyone else in a similar situation.


Further to my comment and @Annoyed's answer -

Here's what Smartraveller (the Australian government's travel advice site) says,

If you hold another country's passport, seek advice about how it should be used. Take your Australian passport and use it to depart from and return to Australia. An Australian citizen cannot be granted a visa for Australia.

When entering Australia, all Australians, including those who hold dual nationality, must be able to prove that they are an Australian citizen. An Australian passport is conclusive evidence of a person's identity and citizenship and provides the holder with right of entry to Australia.

An Australian citizen who arrives without an Australian passport may be delayed until their identity and claims to enter Australia have been checked. If a foreign passport holder claims to be an Australian citizen, immigration officers must confirm and verify this through official databases, which will cause delays.

International airlines have an obligation to ensure that they only carry appropriately documented passengers to Australia. In the absence of an Australian passport, airlines are unable to verify a claim of Australian citizenship at the time of check-in and may refuse boarding. The airline may have to make inquiries with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Australia seeking approval to carry the passenger, which takes time and may cause delays.


If I were you, assuming you're eligible, I'd try and apply for an eVisitor visa using your British passport to prove to the airline that you're eligible for entry into Australia (even though the quote above says Australians cannot be granted a visa). It's free anyway and if you don't need it on arrival, they'll probably cancel it for you. See here for more details on the visa - http://www.uk.embassy.gov.au/lhlh/IMMI_holiday_info_eng.html

I'm not sure how you'll leave Australia though, as you might have issues if you enter using your expired Australian passport, then try to leave using your UK passport. Maybe you could have another chat with them on the way out :)

As with most immigration questions, you should confirm this with the authorities to be sure. See http://www.uk.embassy.gov.au/lhlh/aboutus.html for contact details (they also have a Twitter account at https://twitter.com/AusHouseLondon but I probably wouldn't try that if I was pressed for time).

UPDATE: The easiest option, if you have 3 working days in London or Australia, is to apply for a new Australian passport with priority processing. Do it in London to make things easy getting to Australia and back; do it in Australia to make things easy when you leave.

Priority processing fee

Note: Available to eligible clients in Australia, London and Washington. Payment guarantees issue of a travel document within two working days of receipt of the application and all necessary information at the passport office. You should allow extra time for your application to reach us by mail and for your passport to be returned to you by registered mail (unless you arrange to lodge and collect it personally).



Whatever you don - don't show aussie immigration your expired aussie passport, use a photo or photocopy of it.

Immigration officials are instructed to confiscate expired passports on the spot that have not been officially 'disabled', usually done when you send it's sent in for renewal.

Applying for a replacement passport without the old one is more paperwork, signatures, time and general hassle. Even if they confiscated and destroyed the last one.

  • Do you have a reference for this?
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 3:27
  • Only my personal experience, it happened to me in Sydney returning from a trip to the US in 2007. My US Visa wasn't in my Australian passport and I had been out of the country for sometime. Could possibly have changed these days with the different passports and better security features? The passport in question was issued in the late 90's.
    – ct-t
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 12:39

I assume you mostly need to establish that you are in fact an Australian citizen (and a passport, even expired, should go a long way). If you manage to do that, then you don't need a return flight, invitation or anything else. It would be most unusual to be refused entry to your own country. You could perhaps contact the Australian High Commission and try to get another emergency passport before your trip.

In any case, it's not really possible to “take your chances”, you need to convince the airline that you have a right to enter your destination country otherwise you might be denied boarding. Either they accept that you are Australian and nothing else is needed or they don't and you don't need any “understanding” but a proper visa/authorization.

If you want to enter as a UK citizen, you might need to apply online for eVisitor status beforehand. It might be technically illegal as an Australian citizen and I don't know if it would be a problem in practice but it could be an easy solution as well.

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