New passport card for travel in EU arriving early in 2015

Card will supplement main passport and will be of use to younger people as form of ID

Charlie Flanagan,  Minister for Foreign Affairs: ‘For young people, who are often required to bring their passport book out as proof of age, I am confident that this new card will be a safer, more practical option.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Foreign Affairs: ‘For young people, who are often required to bring their passport book out as proof of age, I am confident that this new card will be a safer, more practical option.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

A passport card for travel within the EU is to be made available early next year. Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has backed the initiative by the Passport Service, which began before his appointment.

Mr Flanagan intends to launch the new passport card early in 2015 with a view to it being available from the middle of next year.

The Department of Foreign Affairs did not confirm how much the new card will cost.

“The cost of producing a passport is considerably more when printing, staffing and overhead costs are included. The cost will not decrease when the passport card is introduced, as the passport card will not replace the passport book, but rather supplement it, because not all states will accept a passport card in lieu of a passport book,” a spokeswoman said.

An adult passport costs €80 for a 10-year one with 32 pages, and €110 for a 66-page version.

Mr Flanagan said the new card would be of “considerable assistance for short-haul travel to countries that accept travel cards. For young people in particular, who are often required to bring their passport book out as proof of age, I am confident that this new card will be a safer, more practical option and I look forward to introducing it in the near future”.

The proposal is subject to discussions with stakeholders: the European Commission, the International Civil Aviation Authority and airlines flying in and out of Ireland, according to a brief prepared for the Minister.

The department envisages that the card will be used by younger citizens as identity verification, which it hopes might also result in a reduction in lost passports.

Passports are used by many young people as one of the few acceptable forms of ID in clubs and bars.

It is not possible to apply for a new Irish passport online; nor is it possible to download the application form.