Ireland Announces Online Passport Applications
In March the Irish government rolled out a major change to its passport issuing office, allowing Irish citizens to renew their passports online, from anywhere in the world. The service, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan said, “is one of the most significant innovations in customer service that this department has delivered over the past 15 years.”
The new service is a milestone in Flanagan’s Passport Reform Program, which aims to modernize and streamline the process of applying for and renewing Irish passports with a focus on fraud detection and prevention. Launched in 2015, the program has a combined capital and current investment budget of €18.6 million and will run through 2019.
Last year saw the highest number of passports ever issued by Ireland, with a total of 747,810 applications processed, a nine percent increase from 2015. This year that trend appears likely to be sustained. By March, the most recent month for which numbers are available, there has already been a 26 percent increase in passports issued over the same period in 2016.
Currently, the online passport application service is limited to those over the age of 18 who already hold an Irish passport and are not changing their name on that passport, but a department spokesperson told Irish America that the department envisions all Irish citizens, including first-time passport applicants, will be able to apply online by mid-2019. ♦