How long does it take to get a passport? A question I am asked constantly lately. It seems the backlog that the Passport Office is experiencing, is affecting many of you.
The main issue is the perception, that the widely used Passport Express, guarantees a 2 week turnaround time – this is not always the case! Before you apply for your passport, read the current turnaround times. The Passport Office aim to have applications processed via Passport Express in 15 working days, but that depends on the time of year. Currently, new, lost or damaged passports have an average of 23 working days turnaround time. I need to stress ‘WORKING DAYS‘ – with St Patrick’s weekend and Easter approaching, that is currently 6 weeks! I contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs Press Office and they duly replied to many of your queries below. So here are your passport queries – answered!
1. Can I get an emergency passport within three days of my travel date?
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. Therefore it is very important that the correct application channel is chosen depending on the intended date of travel.
2. If appointments can only be made from 3 -10 working days before travel what do I do if I am travelling after that, as the estimated time for new passports is currently 23 working days?
There are also appointments available for those travelling after 10 days.
3. I keep getting an error message when trying to make an appointment online.
There are no technical difficulties with the appointment system.
4. Which countries need your passport to be valid for 6 months after return date?
A passport is valid until the day it expires. However, some countries require a minimum of six month left on the passport, from the date the traveller returns. Travellers should check with the relevant Embassy or travel agency.
My comments: As a general rule, most EU countries only require a passport in date and most Asian countries, require it to be valid for 6 months. Other countries that I know that have the ‘6 month rule’ are Russia, Cuba, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Maldives, USA, Canada and Turkey. – NOTE: This is NOT a definitive list and can change at anytime.
5. Which countries do you NOT need a passport for?
Passports are not required for travel within the Common Travel Area (CTA); however, some carriers require a passport. Travellers should check with their carrier directly.
My comments: Currently, Ryanair require a passport for travel to the UK, Aer Lingus will accept these forms of identification
6. What are the best methods to contact the passport office, other than the tracking system:
a) If you have already sent in your passport and the tracking date hasn’t changed.
The Passport Service phone lines are open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 4.30pm. Applicants can also contact the passport service by twitter and via our website. The Passport Service is currently focusing staff resources and operational capacity on the task of processing applications. The best method to get information on the applications is to use the new ‘on-line’ tracking which tracks the progress of the application and also provides an estimated date of delivery of the passport.
b) If you want to get an emergency passport but can’t manage to do it online.
As Terms and Conditions must be read and accepted, there is no alternative but for the applicant to use the online appointments system to reserve an appointment. Appointments for the Rapid Renewal Service become available online at lunchtime the previous day.
c) If you have a general query
Applicants are advised to check the Passport Service website www.dfa.ie/passport for general queries on passports.
My comments: I have found contacting the Passport Office via twitter to be sucessful although I would like to see a general email address with a guaranteed response time.
Have you any other tips that will help with the application process?
The Passport Service updates the average turnaround times for applications, on the website, www.dfa.ie/passport, weekly. The current average turnaround time for renewals submitted through Passport Express is 16 working days, while first time applicants and those with lost/stolen passports is taking longer, due to extra security checks.
The Passport Service aims to process renewals in 15 working days (three weeks), but this timeframe may extend, depending on volumes. If the travel date is more than three weeks (15 working days) away, then the Passport Express service operated by An Post is the most convenient and secure method of applying. Every effort is being made to turnaround these applications as quickly as possible, and additional resources have been deployed to respond to this increase.
Passport holders can avail of the passport reminder service to get an email alert 3 months before their passport is due to expire https://www.eforms.gov.ie/en/ reminder/passport/
However, applicants are advised to:
· Make sure your passport and your family’s passports are in date before you book any holidays.
· Apply early, at least six weeks before you are travelling – that way you will not be disappointed.
· Use Passport Express if you are travelling in three weeks or more (15 working days). Otherwise make an appointment to submit their application at the public counters at the Passport Offices in Dublin or Cork.
My comments: There are numerous messages telling people to use the Passport Express service if your travel date is more than 15 working days, but currently this turnaround time is inaccurate. I would like to reiterate what I said in my opening paragraph – read the estimated turnaround times before applying.
Note that this post was published on the 16th of March 2017 so answers are applicable at this time but are subject to change.