Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Questions (368)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

368. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the processing of documentation with passport applications once staff return to the processing units; the way in which official documentation will be tracked; the provisions that will be made for online applications or partial online applications given the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10324/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Where supporting documentation is required for a Passport Online application, it is registered when it is received from the applicant. It is then processed by our Document Verification Officers and stored while the application is under process. Original supporting documents are returned to the applicant after the passport has been dispatched.

At Level 5 of the National Framework for Living with COVID-19, the Passport Service cannot register supporting documentation. All applicants are contacted on the next working day after their application to request that they do not submit supporting documentation as it cannot be processed or returned to them until Ireland returns to Level 4 on the National Framework. Where supporting documents are received, they are stored securely but they are not registered.

The Passport Service has paused processing of routine applications while Ireland is at Level 5 of the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. Passport Service staff have been temporarily reassigned to provide consular assistance for Irish citizens overseas.

The Passport Service continues to provide an essential, emergency passport service for Irish citizens at home and abroad. The service is available for those who are required to travel due to the death or serious illness of a family member or because the applicant requires emergency medical treatment. An urgent service is available to Irish citizens who are resident overseas through the local Irish Embassy or Consulate General.

The Passport Service will continue to review its operations in line with the National Framework for Living with COVID-19.