Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Irish Passports ~ The Definitive Guide!

Every year about this time without fail I always get questions about passports. We’ve all done it, you book a holiday then suddenly you get a cold feeling running down your back wondering is your or your family members’ passports in date. This year I’ve decided to put together a definitive guide to help you with your passport queries. I don’t know why, it might be just an Irish thing but when you have a question and you go to the Department of Foreign Affairs website it’s all a bit vague or you’re directed to call with your query; well good luck with that, as getting through on their phone lines in the run up to the summer period is like winning Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket! 

Although they do answer any queries via their twitter account @PassportIRL quite rapidly. All of the information below strictly applies to all Irish citizens using an Irish passport.

As a family of seven, we're RICH in passports!

Do I need a passport to travel?

Domestic air travel in Ireland or between Ireland and the UK does not require a passport, for adults any valid photographic ID and children under 16 a birth certificate will suffice, with the exception of Ryanair; they require a valid passport for adults, children and babies for all flights, regardless of departure point or destination.

Ferry travel between Ireland and the UK does not require a passport but you must bring some form of identification such as a drivers licence, bank card, utility bill or birth certificate. Children travelling require a birth certificate as proof of identification.

If you are flying or sailing to any other country, with the exception of the UK you must have a valid passport for each adult, child or baby travelling.

Check your dates in PLENTY of time - Apply ahead if need be!

My passport is near its expiration date, can I travel?

Most Asian countries require six months validity to be remaining on your passport after your intended return date. For travel within the European Union and to the United States your passport is valid up until your passport expiration date. There is a lot of conflicting information about exactly which Asian countries so the hard and fast answer is to contact the embassy of the country to which you intend to travel.

You don’t have to wait for your passport to expire before you apply for a new one; the Department of Foreign Affairs has a handy passport reminder service. Enter your details HERE and they’ll mail you three months before your expiration date.

How do I apply for a passport?

For both first time applications and renewals you’ll need an application form as you can’t apply online. You can obtain a passport application form from any Garda station, any Post office or directly from the Passport offices located in Dublin or Cork. If you require a large number of forms contact them by phone or online HERE and they will post them to you.

Dublin: Knockmaun House, 42-47, Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2, D02 TN83.
Tel. +353 1 671 1633

Cork: 1a South Mall, Cork, T12 TA46
Tel. +353 21 494 4700

Both offices currently operate on an appointment basis from 9am to 4.50pm Monday to Friday.

Book an appointment HERE.

How long does it take and how much does it cost?

The Department of Foreign Affairs recommend you apply for your passport at least six weeks before your intended date of travel.

Passport express is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to apply for your passport. The general guideline is a turnaround time of 10 working days for a passport renewal or 15 working days for a first time application and those replacing lost/stolen passports, these times however can be greatly increased during the summer season.

If you opt to make an online appointment and go directly to the passport office it can take up to 20 working days for your passport to be issued. The “public counter” fees are below.

Adult age 18+ 10 year passport ~ €95

Child age 3-17 5 year passport ~ €41.50

Infant up to age 3 3 year passport ~ €31

What is Passport Express?

You can send your application to the passport office via An Post using a passport express envelope. Complete your form and include the necessary documentation along with your passport photographs signed by a witness and bring them to your local post office. There they will verify you have everything correct before you purchase a passport express envelope priced at €9.50 for a single application or €16.00 for up to four applications sent together in the one envelope. You will also have to relevant pay the passport fee at the post office.

Adult age 18+ 10 year passport ~ €80

Child age 3-17 5 year passport ~ €26.50

Infant up to age 3 3 year passport ~ €16

Payment can be made by cash credit/debit card as per their website however my local post office refuses credit card payments for passport express.

Can I get a passport sooner?

The Dublin passport office has a Rapid Renewal service whereby “in the case of an emergency situation (the death or serious illness of a family member, or for emergency medical treatment of the applicant) we can issue your passport on the day.” Unfortunately if you are a fist time applicant you can not avail of this service.

You can make an appointment online for either Dublin or Cork passport offices to be issued with an emergency passport within 3 -10 working days.

The fee for both of these services are Adult €55, under 18’s €30, this fee is in addition to the “public counter” fee above.

What documents do I need to apply for a passport?

As of 29th March 2016 all first time passport applicants aged 18 and above must include a photocopy of their Public Service Card (PSC). If you do not have a PSC you will have to apply for this through your local Department of Social Protection Office. All details of how to apply for a PSC and to make an appointment visit www.mywelfare.ie

Details of all other documents needed for both adults and children’s passport applications can be found HERE.

Permission for a Child's Passport When You're a Single Parent:

Sue here, I'm adding a paragraph as it's something I had to deal with in the past. The consent of all guardians is required for all children under 18 years of age, unless the child is married. Guardianship should not be confused with custody which involves the day to day caring of the child. If you're a single parent (firstly you rock! Secondly..), ideally you would be on speaking terms with your child's other parent so you both sign the forms. 

This isn't an ideal world though; should your child's other parent not be available or willing to sign the forms, you can visit a Commissioner of Oaths and sign an Affidavit (HERE) to swear you are your child's sole guardian. The CoA will usually charge a nominal fee (€25+) per signature so do factor that into your budget. Should you not be your child's sole guardian but their other parent refuses permission to obtain a passport a Specific Issues Order will need to be obtained from a court of law. You'll find more info HERE

If you work in the DFA you get LARGE cards - Apparently...

What is a Passport Card?

Passport Cards are only valid for travel within the European Union and to Switzerland. In order to obtain a passport card you have to be over the age of 18 and hold a passport with a minimum of 30 days validity. They can only be issued for a maximum of 5 years or to the expiration date of your current passport if that date is sooner. 

Passport cards are issued within 10 working days at a cost of €35. If your passport has been lost or stolen you must apply for a replacement passport before you can apply for a Passport Card. You can apply online HERE but you will need to upload a passport compliant photo to complete your application.
Tell us, do you know what date your passport expires? 

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