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Selfies accepted on new passport cards

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Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD during the announcement of details of a new Passport Card & An accompanying app, through which citizens can apply for a Passport Card,which will become available later in 2015 at the Passport Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD during the announcement of details of a new Passport Card & An accompanying app, through which citizens can apply for a Passport Card,which will become available later in 2015 at the Passport Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD during the announcement of details of a new Passport Card & An accompanying app, through which citizens can apply for a Passport Card,which will become available later in 2015 at the Passport Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin

The world's first international passport card will allow applicants to submit a selfie taken on their smart phone rather than using the tried-and-tested photo booths.

The card will be available from mid-July and will permit holders to fly to dozens of European countries while leaving their regular passport at home.

Travellers will be allowed to go to any country within the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) using the card, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

Online

Applicants will be able to apply online or using a smart phone app, with a payment of €35.

Users will be allowed to use a selfie on the card once it meets internationally accepted standards.

Applicants must already hold a regular passport and be 18-years-old to apply.

The card will have a maximum validity of five years, or the remaining validity of the individual's passport book.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Foreign Affairs said: "The loss of a passport card does not affect the passport book. To replace a lost card, simply reapply for a new card online."

Speaking at the launch of the card, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said the initiative was "both unusual and pioneering".

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"Almost all passports worldwide are produced in the booklet format.

"In the United States, a passport in card format is provided for use in travel mainly across land borders, to Canada and Mexico in particular.

"This will be the first passport card that will be used for international travel."

He said the card would be particularly useful for young people.

"As a father of two young daughters, I have frequently been concerned (about) the requirement of some night clubs, that the passport be produced as a proof of age.

"The experience of discovering the passport in a bundle of washing before it goes into the machine, or indeed seeing the passport protruding from the back of a pair of jeans, is not something that we can regard as acceptable."

The card will complement the passport book rather than replace it, as the book will still be necessary for international travel to many countries, and will be required for the purposes of visas.

SECURITY

Mr Flanagan said the card has been agreed for use within the EU and EEA and the Passport Office will be "working towards agreement with other countries".

He said gardai had worked with international authorities to secure agreement for the use of the card, and to ensure that it will be accepted for travel.

He said the card's security features are "second to none", and that a hologram photo on a strip on the back is the first time this security feature will be used on travel documents.

hnews@herald.ie


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