Almost 2,000 children’s passports have been renewed online from Britain since last November, Ireland’s department of foreign affairs has revealed.
Changes brought about last year to expand online passport services have dramatically quickened passport-processing times.
Since last November, when the Irish Passport Office had a major overhaul of its computer systems which included accepting children’s passport renewals, over 1,000 individual passport renewal applications were received, department figures show.
The revamped service, a department spokesperson said, brings “significant benefits for citizens with faster turnaround times and lower costs. Applying online is the quickest way to renew an Irish passport”.
The online renewal system first launched in 2017 and was expanded from the adults-only service to include new categories of applicants, including children. It also introduced a Passport Card for children.
The average turnaround time for a passport renewal online is now just 10 working, according to the department of foreign affairs. It is also cheaper than previous services, with fees of €75 for adult online applications and €20 for children.
Last year, the requirement for parents to go to a Garda station to get an application signed was lifted. The witness category was widened to include those who are likely to have the most contact with a family, including school secretaries, creche managers and public health nurses.
Until now only adults seeking to renew their passports were able to make online applications and all minors had to take a traditional route which was considerably slower, more expensive and more complicated.
Under the changes, it also made it easier for adults who are looking for new passports because of name changes due to marriage or divorce.
“The online renewal Service is a straightforward streamlined process. While adult applications do not generally require supporting documentation, child applications still require documents to be submitted – such as consent and guardianship,” a spokesperson said.
“The consent form is made available at the end of the online process, it is pre-filled and parents have to have this form witnessed and returned to the passport service.”
These figures come as the number of applications for Irish passports has risen to record levels with almost a quarter of a million requests since January.
Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, said earlier this year that 230,000 applications represented a 30 per cent increase on the same period last year.