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Aussie woman chronicles 12-hour wait to get passport amid unprecedented delays

A Sydney woman has documented the 12 hours she spent waiting to renew her passport amid unprecedented delays due to Covid-19 shortages and increased demand.

The woman's day starts with her catching a train to the Sydney Passport Office at 5am, alongside early birds and tradies who are starting their day before sunrise.

TikTok showing 12-hour wait to get Australian passport
A Sydney woman has documented her quest to renew her passport. Source: TikTok/@R01ina

"Rocked up at 5.30am and there's already 150 people in front of me," revealed the woman on TikTok.

The woman's camera pans to the line of people waiting to pick up, renew or inquire about their passports, which snakes around the courtyard of the building.

Once the sun rises at 7am, the passport office remains closed to the ever-growing line of people who are waiting to get their hands on a passport.

By 8.30am, when the office finally opens, the woman says the "line has doubled" and people are standing patiently or getting comfortable on the cold concrete with a snack – as they know they are in for a long wait.

Woman praises Sydney Passport Office for exceptional service

Three hours later, the office doors are in sight and the woman can almost feel her new passport in her hands.

"1.30pm and I can finally see the door," she says.

However, it's another two hours until the woman finally sets foot in the passport office building.

One hour later, she says she was able to speak to a customer service operator.

Finally, at 5.45pm she reveals that she has secured her passport while excitedly shaking it in front of the camera.

TikTok showing woman waiting to get Australian passport
After 12 hours, the woman received her new passport. Source: TikTok/@R01ina

"After a 12-hour wait I'd like to applaud the Sydney Passport [Office] for their exceptional service and reassurance and constant communication with applicants. You guys rock," wrote the woman in her TikTok caption.

While the Sydney resident's story had a happy ending, many Aussies have not had the same positive experience, as they are still waiting to secure their passports for overseas travel.

A combination of Covid-induced staff shortages and increased demand following the reopening of international borders has led to delays and chaos in the system, which show no signs of abating.

'Unprecedented high demand' for passport services

A spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told Yahoo News that "unprecedented high demand for its passport services" following the opening of Australia's international borders has put added pressure on the system.

However, the spokesperson emphasised that a majority of applications are resulting in passports being delivered within their usual six-week timeframe.

Australian passport with boarding pass
So far this financial year, the APO has issued over 1.3 million passports. Source: Getty

Despite the influx of applications, the spokesperson revealed the APO has issued over a million passports since November 1.

"So far this financial year, the Australian Passport Office (APO) has issued over 1.3 million passports, which is more than double the total number we issued during the previous financial year (603,464 in 2021)," the spokesperson said.

"We normally receive between 7,000 - 9,000 applications per working day. Currently, we are receiving 13,000 - 17,000 applications per working day."

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