The Irish passport allows its holders to visit 187 countries without a visa requirement or by simply applying on arrival. They also enjoy free visa-less movement across EU member states.
These pieces of data make the Irish passport one of the most powerful in the world. It’s also been heavily sought after in the wake of Brexit, with petitions in 2019 doubling those registered in 2016. For those reasons, the path to obtaining an Irish passport can be fraught with obstacles and prolonged processing times.
Who Can Obtain an Irish Passport
Only Irish citizens are eligible for an Irish passport, meaning you must obtain citizenship first in most cases. This can be achieved in various ways, contingent upon your specific circumstance.
With that said, the right to Irish citizenship is acknowledged in the following situations:
- You or your parents were born in Ireland prior to 2005. In that case, you’ll have your citizen status recognised automatically and you can bypass the citizenship application, being able to request your passport immediately.
- You or your parents were born on the island after 1 January 2005. Your right hinges upon your parent’s citizenship at the moment you were born and their migratory history before your birth.
- Your grandparent was Irish-born or your parent was Irish though not born in Ireland. In this scenario, you can apply via Foreign Birth Registration.
- Through naturalisation.
Admittedly, acquiring Irish citizenship involves a very cumbersome process that may require the help of an immigration expert.
How to Apply for an Irish Passport for the First Time
You have three possible options for obtaining an Irish passport:
- By applying online using the Passport Online service.
- By post via the Passport Express service.
- In person, by using the Passport Office’s counter service or at the Irish embassy or consulate near you if you’re abroad.
Passport Online enables you to apply if you are legally residing in Ireland, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia or New Zealand. You can also renew Irish passport through Passport Online from anywhere in the world.
The Passport Express service is available only in specific post office branches and you must live in Northern Ireland to utilise it.
The Passport Office option is mainly for urgent passport renewals and it’s not the most recommended method for first passport issuance. The Passport Service encourages people to use the Passport Online route as its the most affordable and expeditious way to obtain an Irish passport for the first time.
What Documents Do I Need to Submit?
You’d have to provide the following documents:
- Your birth certificate
- Proof of address and name
- A copy of the Public Services or national ID card
- The passport from your country of birth
- If you’re applying under your married name, your Civil Marriage Certificate
- Four identical photographs of yourself from the waist up, two of which ought to be signed by a qualified witness to verify your identity.
A qualified witness is, in ordinary circumstances, a member of the Garda Síochána. If you’re applying from outside Ireland, you must choose from a list of eligible professionals (lawyer, police officer, dentist, etc.)
Other documents that you may be asked to submit (depending on your situation) include:
- Your Irish parent’s birth certificate and, when applicable, marriage certificate.
- Your Foreign Birth Registration certificate
- Your adoption certificate
- Your naturalisation certificate
If you wish to renew Irish passport online, you’d only need to fill out the online form and submit a digital photo.
What is the Irish Passport’s Validity Period?
Your Irish passport would be valid for ten years if you are 18 years of age or older. For children under 18 years of age, the validity period reduces to five years.
If you renew your passport before the current one expires, its validity period will commence from the moment it gets approved while the remaining period of the other passport will be considered forfeited.
If you spent more than five years without renewing your Irish passport, you’d have to apply for a new passport as if it were your first submission.
How Much Would I Have to Pay?
The fees vary depending on the type of passport and how you decide to apply. In the case of adult 10-year passports, these are the costs:
- The Passport Online service charges €75 for 34 pages (standard) and 105€ for 66 pages. In addition, you’ll have to pay an additional €15 surcharge if you request the passport from abroad.
- Post Passport (or Passport Express) will have you paying €80 for 34 pages and €110 for 66 pages, plus a surcharge of €9.50 or more.
- If you opt for making use of the Passport Office’s counter service, you’ll have to pay €95 for 34 pages and € for 66 pages.
5-year children’s passports have the following basic fees (apart from the surcharges just mentioned):
- Passport Online: €20 (34 pages) and €50 (66 pages)
- Passport Express: €30 (34 pages) and €55 (66 pages)
- Counter application: €45 (34 pages) and €55 (66 pages)
As of 15 July 2019, the Offices in Dublin and Cork stopped accepting cash payments. The only accepted payment methods are:
- Debit or credit card
- Postal order
- Bank draft
How Much Time Does It Take to Obtain an Irish Passport?
The processing times likewise depend on the method you select.
Online Passport is the fastest way to get your passport approved. It takes roughly 40 working days for new applicants and 10 working days for simple renewals.
Passport Express applications take much longer. Normally, you’d need to wait approximately 8 weeks (not counting the postage period) for the passport petition (or renewal) to be decided.
Lastly, processing times for counter service applications may be different depending on the embassy or consulate in which you lodge your petition. Visit your embassy’s or consulate’s website to find out more information.
You can track your Irish passport application process by logging into the Passport Tracker, which contains information on when your application was received, deadlines for submitting supporting documents, and processing and printing dates.