If you’re an international student coming to Australia, it’s crucial to have the right identification (ID) documents so that you can prove both who you are and how old you are. That way, you can make sure you’re able to enjoy every aspect of student life.
Here’s our guide to the different forms of ID you’ll need in Australia.
Why do you need ID in Australia?
In Australia, valid photo ID is necessary anywhere you intend to buy alcohol. This includes pubs, bars, clubs and shops that sell alcohol. The general rule in Australia is that if you look under 25 years of age, the sales assistant, security staff or bar attendant can ask to see your ID.
Other instances where it may be necessary to produce ID in Australia include driving, catching public transport (so you can access the discounted ticket price), submitting a rental application, and when collecting a parcel from the post office if you missed a home delivery that requires a signature.
While you’ll always need a valid driver licence to drive a vehicle in Australia, laws and regulations around driver ID differ from state to state. Some states allow you to drive with your foreign licence as long as it is current, others require you to apply for an international licence to carry with your foreign licence, and some ask that you apply for a local licence if you’ve been in the state for a certain amount of time. For more information on the licencing rules in each state, head to the links below:
Renting a car
Planning to explore some of Australia’s great outdoors in a rental car? In many cases, you’ll need a driver licence that includes your photo and that has been translated into English. But, this really depends on the car hire company – do a bit of research into various providers to check what they require.
Alcohol and licensed venues (in other words, pubs, clubs and bars)
One of the most exciting parts of studying abroad is making friends and exploring the local nightlife. If you want to buy alcohol or enter a licensed venue where the age restriction is 18+, you must hold a valid photo ID or what some venues call ‘proof of age’.
You have the option of carting around your passport, but you can also turn your phone (which you will pretty much always have handy!) into your ID with Australia Post’s Digital iD™.
Digital iD™ allows you to keep a valid photo ID on your phone. Keypass in Digital iD™ is acceptable proof of age for entering participating licensed venues and purchasing alcohol in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia, ACT, and the Northern Territory (excluding takeaway alcohol in NT).
All you need to do is download the app and upload two identity documents (like your passport and current student card), as well as a selfie to verify your identity. Once you’ve verified your details and your photo at a Post Office (it’s free!) then the Digital iD™ app will display your ID, which can be scanned at venues with a scanning machine. It’s totally private too, as opening the app requires a password and all the information held within it is cleverly encrypted. Genius!
If you’d like to take advantage of student ticket prices when using public transport, make sure to check the concession requirements in your state. Some states don’t offer concession discounts to international students, some public transport providers might accept your student ID as a valid concession card, and others may require you to apply for a dedicated transport card.
For more information on public transport in your city, head to our guide.
Opening a bank account
You might very well need to open a bank account in Australia, especially if you’re planning to work here. When you open your account, you will likely be asked to produce ‘100 points of ID’. This is an Australian system that requires you to submit a combination of documents to prove your identification, which total 100 points or more.
For example, in some states your birth certificate or passport are worth 70 points, while your official student ID (which must include your name and photograph) is worth 40 points. Together, these documents total 110 points and easily satisfy the 100 points test.
Point values change from state to state, but your bank – or any other organisation that requires 100 points of ID – will usually provide a checklist of accepted documents.
For more information on opening a bank account in Australia, make sure to check out our guide.
Applying for a mobile phone plan
Whether you’re applying for a mobile phone plan online or in-store, most phone providers will ask you to prove your identity. They will usually accept your passport as a valid form of ID.
Submitting a rental application
When you’re applying for a private rental, the majority of real estate agents will ask you for photo identification. In many cases, your passport or birth certificate can be used as forms of ID, but different agents might ask for specific documents.
If you use prescribed medication, you’ll first need to get an official prescription from your doctor. Then, you can take it to a chemist to have your prescription filled out. When you’re collecting your prescription, you may be asked to present ID. Your passport or driver licence (if you have one) should be sufficient.
Here’s a handy hint: you may be able to reclaim some or all of the cost of your prescribed medicine through your OSHC policy. Contact your OSHC provider for more information.
Picking up a parcel
If you’re not home when a parcel is delivered, it’ll most likely be taken to your local post office. When you go to pick up your parcel, you’ll need to present some ID to prove it’s really your delivery. The good news is, you can easily use your Digital iD™ when picking up a parcel from the post office. You can also use it when you’re completing mail redirection or mail hold transactions.
Catching a plane
If you’re planning to make the most of your time in Australia by visiting some of the country’s best travel spots, you’ll need some form of ID when making your booking or checking in for your flight. In most cases, you can simply use your passport.