Irish holidaymakers advised to check passports are in date, as new tools added to online service

Simple adult renewals can take just days, but complex and paper processes may be much longer

Irish passport. Photo: Getty

Pól Ó Conghaile

New upgrades to Ireland’s Passport Online service include an Eircode look-up tool and a facility for the Passport Service to access General Register Office (GRO) birth records digitally.

The Eircode tool streamlines applications and “minimises the potential for address-related errors”, it says.

The GRO integration means many first-time child applicants born and registered in Ireland can be validated without the need to submit physical birth certificates. Over 5,600 birth records have been digitally retrieved this month.

More than 90pc of passport applications take place online, and these and other changes are part of ongoing upgrades to the portal.

It comes as demand remains high, with pent-up renewals continuing post-Covid, and summer holidays on the way.

However, the Department of Foreign Affairs says ongoing staff recruitment at the Passport Service means it does not expect to see a repeat of the lengthy delays experienced in 2022.

“The busy season is well under way, and is expected to run until June,” it says, advising holidaymakers to check family members’ passports are in date, and to save time by renewing online.

More than 451,730 applications were received by April 21, compared to 502,000 by the same date last year.

The average turnaround time for simple, straightforward adult passport renewals is 10 working days, though more than half are issued within two days.

The average complex and child passport renewal takes 15 days, however, and paper applications via An Post can take up to eight weeks.

Post-Brexit applications are another driver of demand. Last year, 95,000 Irish passport applications were received from applicants born in Britain – or 8pc of all applications received in 2022.

In 2015, prior to the Brexit vote, the figure was 34,000 (or 5pc).

Simple and complex renewals

Most people don’t look at their passports often, and these are not required to book flights, so it's easy to forget to check their validity.

Failure to ensure a passport is in date can mean a family risks stressful late applications at best, and lost holidays at worst.

Some countries, such as Thailand, Turkey and the UAE, require six months validity, which means passports must remain in date for six months after the trip.

While simple online adult renewals can be returned within days, complex renewals – including where passports have been lost or stolen, or information such as names is being changed – currently take an average of three working weeks.

Children’s applications are also considered complex – as the consent of all guardians has to be verified. Children’s passports remain valid for just five years (as opposed to 10 for adults).

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First-time applications tend to be where most problems arise, with incomplete applications and cases where further supporting documents are required adding to delays.

Paper applications by post are not only significantly slower – currently taking up to eight weeks – but also more expensive. Where online adult renewals cost €75, postal renewals cost €80 plus a €9.50 postal fee.

Despite this, almost one in ten applications continues to be filed by paper.

Passport cards, which last five years and are valid for travel within the EU, EEA and Switzerland, cost €35. These must be applied for online.

Limited numbers of emergency and urgent appointments are also available, for renewals only, by booking slots at passport offices in Dublin, Cork or London.

These are by appointment on a first-come-first-served basis and include same-day (€150) or four-day renewals (€75).

The next Irish passport

Upgrades like the new Eircode tool and GRO link are small tweaks compared to step-changes like the biometric passports introduced in 2006, the Irish passport card launched in 2015, or the ability to apply online or upload photos taken at home.

However, they come as the Passport Service continues with incremental improvements on a journey towards the next major upgrade of the Irish passport book, expected in 2025 or 2026.

It will include improved security features along with a new concept and design, and involve a public engagement process.

For more information, see