Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
55. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of applications for passports currently outstanding as of 26 April 2021 or the latest date available for new passports and for renewals, respectively; the number of applicants who are residents overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22547/21]
56. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of passports that are currently outstanding as of 26 April 2021 or the latest date available for residents by county; and the number of applications for new passports or for renewals of a passport by county in tabular form . [22550/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 53, 55 and 56 together.
In line with the National Framework on Living with COVID-19, the Passport Service continues to provide a high-quality essential service in line with Government measures to reduce social contact and combat the spread of COVID-19.
This essential service is available for those who are required to travel due to the death or serious illness of a family member or meet the criteria for travel as defined in the recent amendment to the Health Act 1947, which came into effect on 1 February 2021. Supporting documentation is required in such cases.
Applicants who require an urgent or emergency passport can contact the Passport Service via our Customer Service Hub Webchat function on our website.
Irish citizens who are resident overseas should continue to contact the Passport Service through the local Irish Embassy or Consulate General who continue to provide assistance to all our citizens abroad.
Staff of the Passport Service continue to produce emergency and urgent applications, to offer customer service through WebChat, to assist with consular assistance for Irish citizens overseas and temporary reassignment of staff to the Department of Health. As well as issuing more than 3,500 urgent and emergency passports, the Passport Service has also issued approximately 45,000 passports since the beginning of the year. Our Webchat team have also responded to approximately 45,000 queries.
At present, there are approximately 90,000 Passport Online applications in the system. The number of applications in the system that are for applicants resident overseas is approximately 36,000. The return to full operations will commence with all applications received via Passport Online. The Passport Service is confident, taking into account measures to ensure a safe workplace, that any Passport Online backlog can be cleared in six to eight weeks.
The approximate number of online applications per county under process currently in the system is set out in the table below.
|County||Applications in System|
The approximate number of online applications per county under process currently in the system, broken down by renewal applications and first time applications, is set out in the table below.
These figures are correct to 26 April 2021.
There are currently approximately 1,800 paper based applications in the system. It is not possible to break these down by county. The Passport Service plans to resume processing of routine paper based applications such as Passport Express and Northern Ireland Passport Express as a priority once online applications have been processed.