One of the most time consuming things about travel is the need to have your passport evidenced with a visa label. There can be times when traveling overseas is thrust upon you with little warning and you are compelled to criss-cross the globe for a conference, business matters, personal affairs or an emergency. Having your passport sitting in a foreign embassy, when it should be you moving around the world doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doomed to remain in Australia while you wait for your visa’d passport to return to you. In limited circumstances it may be possible to hold two valid passports at the same time, as long as they are of the same type. This is called a concurrent passport.
Concurrent passports are a very tightly controlled and regulated instrument offered by the Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP). A concurrent passport is only offered or accessible to those who have a relevant reason and once all other options have been exhausted. This means that although you may really, REALLY want to travel overseas to meet your mates for a little R & R, the purpose will not constitute a valid reason for being issued a concurrent passport. There must be a legitimate reason for a delegate of the Minister for Immigration & Border Protection to consider your claim important enough to approve your application. A concurrent passport can be issued for three reasons:
- To avoid any significant delay in travel time between two locations.
- When access is needed to a country that does not allow entry from travellers who have travelled to specific countries.
- Emergency travel.
There is a stringent application process and the delegate assessing the application must be satisfied that your request for a concurrent passport meets one of the above purposes for issue. If the reason for needing a concurrent passport is to facilitate travel for business, you will need your employer’s support and assistance when applying. It is important to note that the delegate will take into account the duration of your stay in the foreign country. If the period of your stay seems overly long as opposed to your reason for travel, then your application may be denied. However, if the application is approved the concurrent passport will be valid for the duration of your stay overseas plus an addition 6 months. Where the additional passport has been acquired based on a business venture and you have no defined return date then the passport will have maximum of three years validity.
Another feasible reason as to why a concurrent passport may be granted is if they are traveling to a country that has restrictions who may enter their country. For example some countries will not grant you a visa/permit entry if your passport shows that you have visited certain countries that they have no diplomatic relations with or are in conflict with. So if your existing passport has certain stamps from conflicting nations then you can be denied entry based on a current political standing. A concurrent passport is a way around the restrictions. For example, Since Pakistan has no diplomatic relationships with Israel, were you to have a Pakistani stamp in your passport you may be excluded from visiting Israel and a host of other countries. By holding a concurrent passport, you are able to provide a passport clear of any entry stamps or evidence of entering other countries. Of course, once again, the decision is up to the delegate and is considered a last resort.
The only other scenario in which you can apply for a concurrent passport is if it’s an emergency. Once again this is at the discretion of the delegate. If your situation isn’t deemed urgent enough or doesn’t fall under the scope of an ‘emergency’ then unfortunately you will not qualify. Costs and fees involved in the acquisition of a concurrent passport are the same as applying for a regular passport. The same additional fees for priority processing apply where appropriate.
Having your passport in transit isn’t the end of the world if there is genuine need for you to travel as a priority. If it is imperative for you to travel to another nation for work, personal reasons or an emergency, you have options.