Irish citizens living overseas can now apply for their passports online after the government opened a new Passport Online service.
It is great news for Irish people living in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as the process has been made much simpler to complete from abroad.
The announcement was made that from June 7th 2021, the Passport Online service would be replacing the old system which involved communicating with the Irish consulates.
It means that all Irish people living abroad, or their children, can make their application online in just a few minutes.
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said: “I am delighted to announce that Irish citizens in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US can apply for their first Irish passport using our Passport Online service.
“The online service is extremely easy to use. It has won awards for its user-friendly process, including a NALA award for the use of plain English.
“Passport Online is for everyone from newborn babies to one hundred-year-olds. I appreciate that some applicants may not be familiar with using a computer. In such cases, a friend or relative with basic computer skills can help them to apply – the process only takes 10 minutes to complete.”
Coveney went on to praise the new Passport Online service for its speed, capacity, and cost-effectiveness.
He said: “The processing of a simple adult renewal Passport Online application is up to four times as fast as a paper application. Simple adult renewals continue to have a ten-day turnaround time. In addition, the cost of renewing a passport online is cheaper than alternative methods.
“A strong take-up of Passport Online will greatly improve the capacity of the Passport Service to manage application volumes. Efficiencies in the online system mean that staff resources can be redeployed towards the processing of more complex applications, protecting the integrity of the Irish passport and enhancing the customer service we offer to citizens.”
The news will be welcomed by Irish people all around the world. Officially, to be entitled to an Irish passport you have to be an Irish citizen.
This is anybody who was born in Ireland prior to 2005, or if you were born abroad and one of your parents was born in Ireland before 2005, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
There could well be a rush for the Passport Online service as demand for Irish passports has seen a rapid upturn since Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
Many Irish people living in the UK have made sure their own Irish passport is up to date, and many of their children have applied for an Irish passport of their own to protect their future job and life prospects by leaving the door to Europe open.
Many families have seen their adult siblings patiently wait for their turn as they each borrow either their mother’s or father’s passport to complete their application and get an Irish passport of their own.
The situation has been magnified by the covid-19 pandemic which saw various stages of lockdown and working from home in Ireland, meaning not all applications have been processed as quickly as hoped.
The Passport Online service is available for people of any age in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, as well as for people living in Northern Ireland and Ireland itself.
You can see it here www.dfa.ie/passports
If the service is not available in your location then you are advised to contact your local Irish Embassy.