Obtaining a Handler Identity Card

Procedures exist for handlers to identify themselves as a person accompanied by a certified guide, hearing or assistance dog, and also for approved trainers, when working with the person and the trainee support dog.

The person must display their handler identity card, or ensure that it is available for inspection, and ensure their dog has the blue and white cloth badge on its harness or identifying coat.

Requesting a card

To request a handler identity card, the person provides the approved trainer the following identification information listed in the Public Access Test, Certification and Handler Identity Card Form GHA-8 (PDF, 365KB) or (RTF, 431KB):

  • a Certificate of Disability from a registered practitioner, including proof of your disability (PDF, 95KB) or (RTF, 41KB).
  • a certified passport-sized photograph of yourself
  • a passport-sized photograph of your guide, hearing or assistance dog
  • a certified copy of proof of identification such as:
    • birth certificate
    • current driver's licence
    • current 18 plus card
    • current Medicare card
    • current passport.

Find out more about photo identification (PDF, 237KB) or (RTF, 157KB).

The handler of a certified guide, hearing or assistance dog means either a primary handler, or an alternative handler of the dog. The primary handler is a person with a disability who relies on the dog to reduce their need for support and is able to physically control the dog. The alternative handler is an adult who supports the primary handler to physically control the dog, and could be a family member/carer or teacher.

Following completion of the Public Access Test and certification of the dog, the person may then ask their approved trainer or training institution to issue them a handler’s identity card – either a Primary Handler’s identity card, Primary Handler (requires Alternative Handler), or an Alternative Handler’s identity card.

Your approved trainer will send you the appropriate handler’s identity card and a round blue and white cloth badge for the dog’s coat or harness. These will easily identify you, as handler, and your certified guide, hearing or assistance dog, when accessing public places, public passenger vehicles, or places of accommodation.

Guide, hearing and assistance dog handler identity cards are valid for 3 years from the date of issue.

Guide, hearing and assistance dog trainers, employee trainers and puppy carers also need to carry the relevant trainer, employee trainer or puppy carer identity card.

Renewing a handler identity card

You should contact your trainer approximately 60 days before the expiry of your handler identity card to renew it.

They will organise an appointment with you to renew the Public Access Test and Certification process and update your identification details with recent photos, so they can renew your identity card with a new 3-year expiry date.

Replacing a handler identity card

If your handler identity card is lost, stolen or damaged, you need to contact your approved trainer to request a replacement card. You will need to provide your full name, date of birth, your dog's name and any updated contact details, so your trainer can correctly identify you.

The approved trainer will then obtain a replacement handler identity card with your confirmed details listed in their records and send this card to you.

If your handler identity card is suspended or cancelled, you will need to return your card to your approved trainer. A card may be suspended or cancelled if:

  • your dog becomes a risk to your health or welfare, or someone else's
  • you no longer rely on the dog
  • your dog was certified because of a false or misleading representation or declaration
  • the card was issued because of a false or misleading representation or declaration
  • the dog shown on the card retires or dies.

If your handler identity card request is refused, suspended or cancelled and you want your case reviewed, you can submit a Review of a decision application form (PDF, 204KB) or (RTF, 63KB).

More information