Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Passport Applications Data
98. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of passport waiting times; the length of time online applications are taking to process; the length of time postal express applications are taking to complete; the number of applications the Passport Office has dealt with to date in 2019; if the number has increased from the same period in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9383/19]
The Passport Service offers a range of convenient channels for the submission of passport applications by Irish citizens at home or abroad. These include a postal application system, known as Passport Express, an online passport renewal service, and a counter service for applicants who have immediate travel plans.
The Passport Service recently expanded the Online Passport Renewal Service to include renewal of children's passports. The online service brings significant benefits for citizens with faster turnaround times of 10 working days for all online applications, excluding postage. In addition, the cost of renewing a passport online is cheaper than alternative methods, with fees for all online applications being reduced by €5 across all application types.
The current processing times for postal applications submitted through Passport Express depend on the category of application. Renewal applications are currently being processed within the target turnaround time of 15 working days plus postage time. First-time applications and applications from citizens who are applying to replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport are being processed in 16 working days plus postage time, 4 days ahead of the target turnaround time of 20 working days.
In January 2019, the passport service received 97,389 passport applications. This compares to 76,565 received in January 2018.
The Passport Service monitors the volume of applications on an ongoing basis to ensure that resources are available to meet demand. Measures taken to address anticipated application increases and seasonal demand include increased staff allocation and a number of technology and customer service initiatives.