I was very excited to hear about the new online passport application service. No more forms to fill out, no need to go to the Garda station to get your photos signed. Sound to good to be true?
In most cases it is actually as good as it sounds. The website is clear and user friendly and once you have your photo it should only take 10 minutes to apply. However, there are a few things that need to be noted. Here is the definitive guide to renewing your passport online.
Who can use the online service?
This new process only applies to existing passport holders who are adults, aged 18 and over and who are not changing their name. First time applicants, people changing maiden names to married names or children’s passports must be applied using the passport express method.
What do I need to apply?
You need a digital photograph, an email address and a debit / credit card.
How long does it take?
It only takes approximately 10 minutes to apply (once you have your digital photo) and the turnaround time is approximately two weeks plus postage time, depending on where in the world you are living.
How do I get my digital photo?
You can get your digital photographs from one of the many Photo-Me booths around the country. They are quick and easy to use – check out my video below which will show you how easy they really are! There are currently 150 booths which have been updated with the latest software with plans to extend this to 300 by the end of the year. Your local Tesco or Supervalu should have these in place but for more information on photo booth locations please visit www.passportphoto.ie . You can also go to a pharmacy or take your own photo and submit your image from your computer, tablet or mobile phone. For more info on photo guidelines click here.
How much does it cost?
The cost is the same whether you apply via passport express or online, however you will pay the separate charge of €9.50 to An Post for passport express. The standard 10 year passport is €80 and a large passport book with 66 pages (for frequent travellers) is €110. A passport card costs €35. If you apply for a passport card and a book at the same time, there is a saving of €10.
If my passport is lost, expired or damaged can I apply online?
Yes. If your passport has expired less than five years ago you can apply online. If your passport has been damaged, lost or stolen you can still apply online however it may take longer than the standard 2 weeks application.
What is the best method to use if I am applying for a first time passport or children’s passport?
Passport Express via your local post office is still the best method providing you are not travelling within four weeks of application. Check the current passport turnaround times on their website as the standard 2 week passport express time is rarely accurate. You need to take into account ‘working days’ so postage delays, bank holidays and weekends will not be included.
What do I do if I need an emergency passport?
There is a Rapid Renewal service available by appointment at the Passport Service, Mount Street, Dublin for applicants travelling within 3 days. The service is for adults and children renewing their passports. In the case of children’s passports, both parents must be present when submitting the application. As passports have to be turned around very quickly, the number of appointments are limited. Certain Terms and Conditions apply before booking an appointment on https://www. passportappointments.ie/. It should be noted that this service is not available to people who have already put an application in the system via Passport Express or online. Therefore it is very important that the correct application channel is chosen depending on the intended date of travel.
More details about the Online Passport Application Service are available at www.dfa.ie/passportonline.