Ireland has launched a new credit-card sized passport document which should be available to all Irish passport holders in this country from the summer.
The card is intended for use within the EU by people who may not wish to use the traditional passport book or whose passports may be at Embassies or Consulates awaiting visas.
But last month Ireland Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Charlie Flanagan revealed Ireland is also hoping that the card may be a more practical alternative for young people who use their passports as proof of age on nights out.
The Department hopes that in such cases the card will reduce the instances of lost passports.
“The Passport Card will be particularly useful for young people who use their Passport Booklet as identification, especially on nights out,” said Mr. Flanagan.
“As a father I have often felt concern about the impracticality of the Passport Booklet as a means of identification for young people on nights out and this new Card will be a far more practical option,” he said.
The new credit-card sized passport card, valid for travel within the EU and the European Economic Area (Iceland, Sweden and Lichtenstein) will be available from July, will be valid for a maximum of five years and will cost €35.
Mr Flanagan said a similar passport card was used by US citizens travelling on land between the US, Mexico and Canada
He described the new card as a “a world first for Ireland” in that it would be universally acceptable for international air travel within the EU and EEA.
Applications for the new card will be accepted online or through a smartphone app, which will allow applicants to use a photograph taken on their own phones.
Security features on the passport card include a signature, an overlay featuring a 12 string harp, machine readable zone data and printing around the edge of the photograph.