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passport delays

'Significant delays' in processing new passports caused by a surge in demand

First-time passport applications and children’s passports, particularly for foreign-born children are seeing the longest delays.

THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT delays in processing new passports, particularly for children, due to a surge in demand for passports following on from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that these delays are due to a high volume of new applications for passports as well as renewals.

While Varadkar said that renewals were being done speedily, the delays were mostly within new passport applications and passport applications for children, particularly foreign-born children.

“The situation with renewals is actually now pretty good. Renewals are happening quite fast. There are significant delays, however, with new passports and passports for children, particularly foreign-born children,” said Varadkar, in response to Independent TD Michael Collins.

“Some of that is down to the work that has to be done before the passport can be approved. What has happened in simple terms is there has been a huge surge in passport applications and passport renewals.”

Varadkar added that the staff within the Passport Office were working hard to address the demand and that more passports are being produced now than ever before.

“We are actually now producing more passports every week than ever was the case before but the pent-up demand or snap-back demand, if one likes, from the pandemic has put us in a difficult position in terms of both passports and work permits,” Varadkar said.

He added that additional staff are set to be deployed into the Passport Office and that the backlog would be cleared.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has previously said that the Department of Foreign Affairs is working to scale up the Passport Office to meet the higher demand.

As part of those plans, first time applications and more complex applications are being prioritised to help reduce the turnaround time.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there have been over 316,000 passports issued so far this year, compared to 634,000 issued in 2021.

There are currently 774 people employed in the Passport Office, Coveney said, with 156 staff joining since the start of 2022.

Currently, a recruitment campaign for the Passport Office is underway, with Coveney saying he expects staffing numbers to be increased to over 900 by the end of the campaign. This would mark a doubling of the Passport Office’s staff since mid 2021.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said that the current turnaround times for passports at present are:

  • 10 working days for Simple Adult online renewals.
  • 15 working days for Complex or child online renewals.
  • 35 working days for First Time Applications on Passport Online.
  • 8 weeks for An Post’s mail-in “Passport Express” service.

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