Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (332)

Pa Daly

Question:

332. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of passports in the backlog as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic noting the effect of the most recent level 5 lockdown in particular; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8089/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

At present, there are approximately 49,000 Passport Online applications in the system. When operations resume at Level 4, all applications received via Passport Online will be processed. The Passport Service have requested that applicants refrain from submitting documents until we resume operations. Applicants will be notified by e-mail when we resume processing.

The Passport Service has a great deal of experience in dealing with peaks in demand, and we are confident that any backlog will be cleared quickly. When the Passport Service resumed operations in June 2020, the backlog was cleared in four weeks. It was similar in December 2020 with the majority of the backlog cleared within three weeks.

There are currently approximately 6,100 paper based applications in the system. The Passport Service plans to resume processing of routine paper based applications such as Passport Express and Northern Ireland Passport Express at Level 3 of the framework.