I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 56 together.
Customers (both adults and children) applying through the Passport Express service are given a commitment by the Passport Service that ten days from the date of receipt by the Passport Service of properly completed applications a passport will be issued. Last year over 83% (428,000) of all persons applying for their passports in the State used Passport Express Irish citizens applied for their passports through Passport Express.
There is no requirement for applicants or parents of applicants to present at a passport office in person. However for those who have non-emergency urgent travel, the Passport Service now operates an appointment system and extended opening hours in our Molesworth St office. This has significantly reduced the incidence of queues and reduced waiting time for members of the public. The should be noted that the minimum turn around time for a passport is 3 working days.
In cases of genuine emergency every effort is made by the Passport Service to meet a travel date where the Passport Service is satisfied that:
- the proposed journey is related to the death or serious injury or illness abroad of a close relative or a medical emergency relating to the applicant him/herself; and
- the presence of the applicant at the foreign location in connection with such an unexpected event is necessary or highly desirable; and
- the need to travel has arisen at short notice.
Additionally, my Department provides a Duty Officer Service outside normal office hours to deal with matters requiring immediate attention, including the issue of passports.