The "vast majority" of online applications for passports are being processed within seven working days, "well ahead of target", according to Fine Gael Galway East TD and Minister for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciaran Cannon.
Minister Cannon was responding to Opposition criticism of the turnaround time for passport applications. He said that, as of March 20, the average turnaround time for renewal applications, submitted through An Post Passport Express, stands at 16 working days. Average processing times for all categories of passport application are updated regularly on www.dfa.ie/passport and reflect "actual average turnaround time".
An "exceptionally large volume of passport applications" was received in the first two months of 2018. This, combined with "knock-on effects" from the severe weather at the beginning of March, and the subsequent closure of the Dublin and Cork passport offices, contributed to increased turnaround times.
"The Passport Service is working hard to minimise the impact on turnaround times," said Minister Cannon, "and continues to closely monitor the level of passport demand to ensure all resources, including staffing, are effectively deployed. Additional measures taken by the Passport Service include the recruitment of additional staff and the use of targeted overtime."
The target turnaround time for applications made via the award winning online passport application service is 10 working days plus postage. Minister Cannon said the "vast majority" of online applications are currently being processed within seven working days. At present, the online service only accommodates adult renewals and passport card applications. It is planned to further extend the service to all renewals by the end of 2018.
Minister Cannon is urging applicants for new passports to avail of the online passport renewal service where possible.