Aboriginal Passports in Australia

aboriginal passport australia sovereignty

Demand for Aboriginal passports has been growing in recent years. This article introduces some of the history behind Aboriginal passports available in Australia and outlines how you can apply for one.

2018 marks 30 years since Aboriginal passports were first used and accepted by a foreign country. This happened during an Aboriginal delegate trip from Australia to Libya in 1988. Since then the passports have been successfully used to enter other nations including Norway and Switzerland in 1990. More recently, this happened in the Solomon Islands in 2015.

The passports are issued by the Aboriginal Provisional Government and are seen as a source of pride.  Passports are also a symbol of independence from the Australian Government and the Crown who are yet to come to any agreements since colonisation in 1788.

Aboriginal passport holders are encouraged to use the passports as a sign of respect when entering various Aboriginal nations around Australia. Passport holders are also encouraged to use the document as a first choice when it comes to providing proof of identity as it serves as a regular reminder of Aboriginal sovereignty.

Aboriginal passports cost $80 for employed persons and $60 for unemployed persons and children. If you wish to apply for an Aboriginal passport you must be Aboriginal and able to provide proof of Aboriginality. You can download the application form here to apply and view all requirements. The APG also advises that the use of the Aboriginal passport overseas will often result in delays/interrogation. They suggest having an Australian government issued passport on hand to prevent being refused entry overseas.

In recent years, activists have had success using their Aboriginal passports for re-entry into Australia at International airports. Technically, passports are not required (for re-entry) if your identity can be proved by other means. If you’re an activist, the government would know a lot about you already.

If you’re not Aboriginal, the APG issues visas for those who wish to show respect while living or travelling in Australia. The cost of Visas issued by the APG is $50. Both the APG passports and visas are relatively inexpensive when compared to the exorbitant prices charged by the Australian Government. Did you know the Australian Government issued passport is the most consistently expensive in the world? The current price of $282 is a long way in front of other western countries who have similar high tech passports. Both the United States and England offers passports for less than $150.

While we are talking about passports we would like to clear up a common myth that the Australian passport displays a symbol that represents the Aboriginal flag on the cover of Australia passports. This is hard to believe when you consider this is a document issued by a government that refuses to acknowledge Aboriginal sovereignty. The symbol is actually an icon that indicates the passport has a microchip inside.

So have you got an Aboriginal passport? Will you be applying for one soon? The way you use your passport is completely up to you. We understand that not everyone will be prepared to present it to overseas nations. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your passport at home. You can generate a positive impact on the people you come across. As mentioned above it is encouraged to be used as proof of identity. This opens up the use of the document to a wide range of areas while spreading the message of Aboriginal sovereignty at the same time.

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