Passports are internationally recognised travel documents that attest to the identity and nationality of the bearer. The Irish passport is an invaluable identity document and its integrity is paramount to the maintenance of the level of visa-free access that Irish citizens enjoy to 93 countries worldwide today. Any changes to the format of the Irish passport must be fully compliant with International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, regulations and standards.
The ICAO is a UN specialised agency which defines in detail the required format for a passport.
My Department currently has no plans to introduce a Covid-19 stamp on passports to demonstrate that travellers have received any vaccination against the virus. All passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas, with limited exemptions, are required to complete a Covid-19 passenger locator form. The form supports a system of engagement with arriving passengers, including the targeting of key public health messages through SMS and email. The form can also be used for contact tracing. The Covid-19 passenger locator form is now an online form.
The Government decided at its meeting on 10 November that persons claiming an exemption from the request to restrict their movements on the basis of a negative PCR test up to three days before departure will be required to indicate on the passenger locator form that they have had such a test. This will require a further amendment to the passenger locator form and work is under way within the Department of Health and across Government to give effect to this decision. It may also be possible to include vaccination data when the vaccine becomes available which will provide further reassurance with regard to international travel.