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733,060 Irish passports issued in 2016 – Minister Flanagan

Minister urges Irish citizens to check passport validity & apply well in advance of travel

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, has announced that 733,060 passports issued in 2016, an increase of 9% on the previous year.

Minister Flanagan said:

“2016 was an exceptionally busy year for the Passport Service with a record number of passports issued. This represents a growth of 9% over 2016 and I expect this trend to continue in the coming years.

“In 2016, 24,443 citizens were issued with our innovative new passport card, allowing them to travel to EU/EEA countries plus Switzerland with only a credit-card sized passport.

“There was a strong increase in demand for passports in the first half of the year. This was due to a variety of factors including the fact that more Irish people traveled in the first half of the year; we also had the Euros Championships and a historical spike in applications from 2006 feeding through in the 10-year renewal cycle.

“Following the UK Referendum on EU membership in June passport applications from Northern Ireland saw an increase of 26.5% over 2015 to 67,972 while application levels from Great Britain increased by 40.6% to 64,996.

“The fact that passport renewal turnaround targets were largely met during the year despite the considerable demand pressure is I believe a great tribute to the professionalism and dedication of Passport Service staff”.

The Minister went on to outline other statistics relating to passport applications:

“Looking abroad, Canberra was the busiest Embassy with regard to the arrival of Ireland’s youngest citizens with over 490 applications for infants (presumably with a little help from their parents). Abu Dhabi was also a popular choice for the Irish under three’s with over 300 applicants enjoying the desert heat in 2016”.

The Minister took the opportunity to remind citizens of services available and of the need to check the expiry date of passports and to apply outside the peak season:

“The Department has worked hard in recent years to ensure we provide a modern, secure and quick passport service. However, it remains very important that prospective travellers check the validity of their passport before booking a trip overseas and apply for their passport in plenty of time. Delays are often caused by incomplete applications so it’s important to ensure applications are correct and complete before submission.

“It’s important to note that many countries require incoming visitors hold passports which are valid for at least six months.

“For citizens travelling in three weeks or more, Passport Express is the most convenient and cost effective channel for submitting a passport application. It is available through all An Post offices as well as at over 70 post offices in Northern Ireland.

“For those who need to travel at short notice (3-15 working days) the passport appointments service allows them to book an appointment online at the Dublin and Cork passport offices rather than queuing up to renew their passport. However there is limited availability with this service and Passport Express is the best way to apply.”

On the seasonal surge in applications, the Minister commented:

“April, May and June were the busiest months for the Passport Service. On 4 May alone, 6,464 passport applications were submitted. Citizens who plan to renew their passport in 2017 are strongly advised to do so in the off-peak period to ensure the shortest renewal time.”

Passports by Numbers in 2016

• 733,060 passports issued in 2016.

• 461,911 passports issued to adults.

• 24,443 passport cards issued in 2016.

• 512,375 applications were received through Passport Express, which represents 91% of the total number of applications submitted in Ireland.

• The Irish Consulate in New York had the highest demand for passports, issuing 7,205 in 2016. This was closely followed by Canberra, San Francisco and Sydney.