Wednesday, 4 October 2006
Department of Foreign Affairs
Question 285: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if those approaching the age of 65 who wish to renew their passport have to pay for a further ten years renewal despite their entitlement to a free renewal of passport at the age of 65; and the proposals he has to allow shorter term and cheaper renewals for those in this situation. [31149/06]
The fees to be charged for passports are laid down by a Statutory Instrument [Diplomatic and Consular Fees (Amendment) Regulations 2005]. A person must be aged 65 years or above to be eligible to apply for a free passport. There is no provision in this Statutory Instrument to permit the Passport Office to waive the fee for persons aged less than 65 years. Apart from the legal dimension, the reality also is that, if this generous concessionary scheme is to work satisfactorily, there has to be a fixed starting date for the scheme and fixed qualifications for persons to benefit under it.
I should add also that new passports do not, of course, have to be applied for, or be valid from, the date when the previous passport expired.