Almost 230 passports cancelled in three years over suspected fraud

Suspicious activity related to passports showed a sharp drop in 2020

Almost 3,200 cases of suspected passport fraud have been investigated by the Passport Service over the last three years.

From that total, 184 separate cases were passed on to An Garda Síochána for investigation, the Passport Service has said.

Overall, 229 passports were cancelled as a result of suspected fraud, according to figures released under Freedom of Information.

However, suspicious activity related to passports showed a sharp drop last year with the number of cases investigated dropping from 1,644 in 2019 to 1,033 in 2020.


Referrals to the gardaí also dropped significantly from 67 to just 20.

The Passport Service said this partly resulted from increased staffing in their integrity unit and stronger systems for stopping bogus applications before they were even submitted.

Lower numbers of passport applications were also recorded in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic with massively reduced levels of international travel.

The number of passports cancelled also declined with just 22 cases last year, compared to 77 in 2019 and 130 in 2018.

The Passport Service said it had invested considerable resources in its integrity section since 2017 to tackle the growing problem of fraud.

Not all cases of fraud have to be reported to gardaí­ with some not reaching the threshold for Garda investigation.