Options for those without a passport

Those without a valid passport because of the backlog in applications have been advised not to attempt to travel to continental…

Those without a valid passport because of the backlog in applications have been advised not to attempt to travel to continental Europe even by ferry. Overall, options are very limited for those affected by the dispute at the Passport Office.


While Irish citizens can travel to Britain using a valid form of photo ID, different travel companies have different requirements.

A spokeswoman for Aer Lingus says the company allows passengers to travel to Britain if they had some form of official photo identification including a driving licence, international student card, Government-issued ID card, health insurance or social security card, bus pass or work ID.

Irish citizens under the age of 16 do not require a photo ID if they are travelling to Britain with their parent/guardian.

However, citizens of countries other than Ireland and Britain must produce a valid passport and visa where applicable, for travel between Ireland and Britain.

Ryanair requires all passengers travelling to Britain to have a valid passport. A spokesman said yesterday there was "no question" of the airline altering this position.

"As an airline flying to more than 26 countries and carrying over 70 nationalities daily, there is no question of our agreed passport requirement to be altered or waived. It's the Government's job to issue passports and not Ryanair's job to cover for Government incompetence," he said.


The Department of Foreign Affairs says Irish citizens require a valid passport to travel to all European countries apart from Britain due to Ireland's decision to opt out of the Schengen Agreement.

The Schengen Agreement abolishes internal borders allowing passport-free movement between 22 EU states and three other European countries (Norway, Iceland and Switzerland).However Ireland and Britain chose to maintain border controls with other EU countries and are therefore outside the Schengen area.


A valid passport is required to travel to all countries outside Europe, including the US, the department says.


While ferry passengers to continental Europe are not always required to produce a passport, a spokesman for Irish Ferries says no one should attempt to travel without a passport. Those who did so risked being turned back.

"Nobody would be advised to leave Ireland without a passport . . . many people have been sent back in the past without proper documentation. People should recognise that the ferry passport system as being airport-like in terms of its strictness and security," he said.


The Department of Foreign Affairs says there are no plans to give extensions to people whose passports had recently expired, despite recent calls by Fine Gael for emergency travel certificates to be issued under the provisions of the Passport Act 2008.

A spokesman for the department said the proposal held "little scope".

"An emergency travel certificate only allows for a single one-way trip. Furthermore, they are not accepted in the USA. Under international agreements, the maximum validity of any passport is 10 years and therefore cannot be extended," he said.


Travellers who have to cancel trips because of the dispute are unlikely to be able to claim their money back through travel insurance.

"The cancellation of your holiday due to failure to obtain a passport is generally not covered under travel insurance policies," a spokesman for the Irish Insurance Federation said yesterday.