A Melbourne woman almost missed out on a trip abroad after her pet dogs chewed her passport.
The woman shared her anguish on Facebook last week after discovering she would not be allowed to travel with the passport in its damaged condition.
"On Monday my dogs decided they didn't want me going away this weekend so chewed my passport," she wrote in her post to a group for Australians experiencing passport delays.
Warning to passport applicants
The Melbourne resident offered advice to other applicants who find themselves nervously waiting for a passport to be issued as a planned departure date approaches.
"I could go on and on about the backwards and forwards and misinformation I've had over the last 5 days. But I won't bore you, you've heard it all before," the woman added.
She recommended applicants join a queue at the passport office if they urgently need a passport issued, rather than waiting to be notified by email when it's ready to be collected.
"If you haven't received the email saying it's ready for collection and you are departing in 24 hours, go in and line up in the ENQUIRY LINE... not the collections line (they said today it won't be issued, go home don't waste your time)," she advised.
"After spending 7 hours waiting, today at 6pm I got it," the woman wrote before joking, "2 cute fluffy white dogs free to a good home!"
Other members of the group sympathised with her predicament.
"My chihuahua did the same and 7 weeks later still waiting for my passport," one person commented.
"I'm surprised you can't use it like this," another person wrote, but luckily the original poster didn't wait until she was at the airport to try as she would have been turned away.
"I wish. Still had 6 years validity, was hoping for just a re-print not a whole new application," the woman wrote. "They said I couldn't use it so had a new one issued."
Another Facebook user shared that even small flaws can render your passport unusable. "A passport can have a bent cover and be refused. It needs to be in good condition," she commented.
Passport delays continue
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) has blamed delays on the unprecedented number of people renewing their passports after borders reopened following the Covid pandemic.
"We normally receive between 7,000 - 9,000 applications per working day. Currently, we are receiving 13,000 - 17,000 applications per working day," a spokesperson for the Department told Yahoo News Australia in June.
In late August, DFAT assured applicants that it would be able to process the roughly 270,000 applications in the queue at the time by the end of September.
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