Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Birth Registration

Photo of Alan DillonAlan Dillon (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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527. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when a person (details supplied) who applied to the foreign birth register will have their application processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32764/22]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Due to the complex nature of the Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) process, the large increase in applications received following the Brexit vote in the UK, and the pause in the Service due to necessary Covid-19 restrictions, applicants should allow over 2 years from the receipt of supporting documentation for processing of FBR applications at this time.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, and the subsequent reassignment of FBR staff to assist in the provision of essential passport services, the Foreign Birth Registration Service was paused for nearly 15 months across the 2020-2021 period.

The processing of Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) resumed in November 2021. FBR staff have since processed 7,000 FBR applications while also continuing to provide support to Passport services due to the unprecedented levels of passport demand.

The FBR Service provides an emergency service for Foreign Birth Registration in cases of exceptional urgency, such as expectant parents, or stateless persons. Such applicants may continue to contact the Passport Service directly. For other applications, the FBR service operates a transparent general policy of processing applications in order of receipt.

Supporting documentation for the application to which the Deputy has referred was received on 14 February 2020, and is due to be processed in the near future. A member of the FBR team will be in contact with the applicant in this regard.

The Passport Service has been scaling up resources to deal with anticipated demand for passports and FBRs since June of last year. A major recruitment drive, in partnership with the Public Appointments Service, has been underway over the past several months. This has seen the Passport Service take on over 400 staff since June 2021.

The unprecedented level of staff currently working in the Passport Service will be maintained in the months ahead.  This will allow for the reassignment of additional staff to the processing of FBR applications with the aim of significantly reducing turnaround times for these applications by the end of this year.

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