Need a passport in a hurry? Conor Pope has all the answers

You can take a photograph on your phone and submit your renewal application online

Half the adults who apply online are waiting less than a week for their passport with the remainder getting their documents in under two weeks. Some people are reporting a turnaround time of two or three days. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Half the adults who apply online are waiting less than a week for their passport with the remainder getting their documents in under two weeks. Some people are reporting a turnaround time of two or three days. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

I have just realised my passport has expired and I am going on holidays next month, should I be worried?

You will probably be grand. But you’d need to get your skates on and get your application in right now.

But I have been looking on the website and Passport Express says it will only take between 10 and 15 working days?

That may well be the case but we have also heard of people who applied using Passport Express who have had to wait considerably longer - up to a month in some cases. Having said that, according to the people in the Passport Office the peak season for passports has passed and applications are “on a downward slope” which means things are likely to speed up in the weeks ahead.

What do you mean by peak season?

You are not alone in leaving your passport application to the last minute. Everyone does it. Because it is not a document people use very often, we only tend to realise it has expired when we need it most and most of us only need it in the summer time when we are going on holidays. That is why 10,000 people applied for a passport on the Tuesday after the May bank holiday.

Is there any way I can speed it up?

Yes, yes there is . You can apply online?

Really, how does that work?

It is incredibly simple and incredibly fast. You go to the special website - https://passportonline.dfa.ie/, upload a photograph, fill in your previous passport details and your email address as well as your payment details and you are good to go, once you are over 18 - the passport office plans to roll out an online application process for children later this year.

How much does it cost?

The price of a regular passport is €80 while a passport card costs €35?

A passport card?

It’s new. It is a credit card sized travel document that allows you to travel within the EU. If you buy both a new passport and a card at the same time and do it online it will cost you slightly less than if you buy them separately.

Q. Where do I go to get the pic?

A. You can take a photograph on your phone believe it or not. The website will tell you straight away if the photo is good enough and then you follow a couple of simple instructions and you are good to go.

Is it much faster?

It really, really is. In fact half the adults who apply online are waiting less than a week for their passport with the remainder getting their documents in under two weeks. Some people are reporting a turnaround time of two or three days.

Okay well I am applying for a passport for my child too and it is her first. We’ll get them back at the same time, right?

Wrong. Passport Express says the 10-15 day turnaround time applies to renewals and non-complex applications. People who are applying for a passport for the first time or those who are applying on behalf of their children or those who are reapplying after having had their document lost or stolen will have to waiting a good bit longer as they require more rigorous vetting.

How long are you talking?

As long as six weeks.

Oh dear. The application process is easy enough, right?

Hmm. No. There was a time when children could be included on a parent’s Irish passport, but since October 2004, they must have one in their own name. And there are a few hoops to be jumped through. You will need their birth cert. And if they were born after 2005 you will need to send your passport too. The application form includes a section for parental consent which must be signed in the company of an appropriate witness with that cohort including a priest, a politician, a banker, a guard, a teacher, a doctor or a solicitor.

What else?

What additional documentation needs to accompany the application depends on a number of factors, including when and where the child was born. In all applications for a child’s passport, as well as the completed application form, you must submit four passport photographs of the child, two of which have been signed by a witness, most commonly a garda, with the application form.

How much does it cost?

The fee, using An Post’s Passport Express or through an embassy or consulate, is €30. That does not include an An Post charge of just under €10. When applying for a child’s passport in person at a passport office the fee is €45. There is an additional charge of €38 if you require a child passport urgently (within three to five working days).