Irish passport service boss reveals key tricks to speed up applications amid backlog

Irish holidaymakers have been given some great advice if they’re about to apply for a passport renewal ahead of the summer season.

There have been numerous public complaints from customers and TDs as many wait weeks for the arrival of their essential travel document.

Summer 2022 is due to be a bumper season as many countries drop the majority of Covid rules for the arrival of global tourists.

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However, Irish passengers have been warned in recent weeks that with the current influx of applications, nobody should book anything until they have their new passport in their hands – as some are left unable to catch their planned flights.

Siobhan Byrne, Director of the Passport Service, told Newstalk’s Hard Shoulder people should be aware of a few aspects.

“One thing that people get a little bit confused on is that when they apply for a passport online, that wouldn’t be when the processing timeline starts,” she said.

She specified that “it doesn’t start until they actually send in the documents.

Person holding an Irish passport
Irish holidaymakers advised on key trick to speed up passport applications amid backlog

“And sometimes that can take weeks, or even months, in some occasions for people to send the documents to us.

“So the clock really only starts ticking when we receive the documentation.

Another thing that can delay the application is issues with the documentation received, so people are asked to ensure they submit the correct information.

Ms. Byrne explained: “Other times there can be issues with the documentation that’s received, and so we may have to go back to the applicant to get certain things clarified or ask for more documentation.”

When it comes to choosing the method of passport applications, she said paper applications generally take longer than those done digitally.

“Paper applications do take longer to process – it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a renewal application or a first-time application.

“They all get processed in exactly the same way, whereas with the online system there’s a greater efficiency certainly for the renewals than there is for the first-timers.

“It is taking a number of weeks longer to do those applications”.

She says turnaround times for passport renewals are as expected – two weeks for an adult passport renewal and three weeks for child renewals.

However, anyone applying for a first-time passport should be aware that they are taking longer than expected.

“Our first-time applications do take longer because they’re a lot more complex to process.

“We’ve brought the turnaround time for those down from eight weeks – which it was at the beginning of March – and it is now at six weeks.

“And we’re making very good progress with those applications.”

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