Thursday, 18 November 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
34. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of outstanding passport applicants that were submitted more than one, two, three, four, five and six months ago; and the envisaged timeframe to clear the backlog in passport applications. [56439/21]
The data requested by Deputy Carthy is outlined in tabular form below. The figures cover the number of passport applications received from May to October 2021 that are currently with the Passport Service. The table also sets out for comparative purposes the numbers of passports issued in the same months.
Over half a million passports have been issued in 2021 to date.
The Passport Service is currently experiencing high demand for first time passports with 64% of applications coming from first time applicants, the majority of which were received in October and late September and are still within the processing time of 40 working days. First time applications are complex to process, since they are essentially applications for Irish citizenship. Accordingly, a rigorous process is in place to verify the identity of the applicant and their entitlement to Irish citizenship. In the case of first time applications for children, the consent of guardians must also be thoroughly validated.
Applications can take longer if applicants have not provided the required documentation to complete their application. Currently, 35% of all online applicants and 45% of first time applicants have not submitted the documents needed to issue their passport. These applications cannot be moved forward and processed until the applicants have submitted the necessary documentation.
Adequate staffing of the Passport Service to respond to demand remains a priority for my Department and is an issue that is kept under constant review. My Department is actively working with the Public Appointments Service on an ongoing basis to recruit and assign additional staff to meet the current and forecasted high demand for passports. Additional permanent and temporary officers will be assigned between now and the end of January 2022, bringing total staff to 920 and effectively doubling the number of staff at the Passport Service since June of this year.
Applications on hand at 15/11/21