A passport is an internationally recognised travel document confirming your identity and nationality and you are only entitled to an Irish passport if you are an Irish citizen. Your passport is an important legal document. At all times, you should ensure that it is kept in a secure place. Each Irish passport carries a unique identification number and you should keep a note of your number, in the event that your passport is lost or stolen.
As well as allowing you travel abroad, your Irish passport entitles you to certain diplomatic support services from Irish embassies abroad should you get into difficulties. While your Irish passport is an internationally recognised travel document, it does not give you an automatic right to enter other countries.
Your Irish passport is issued by the Irish Government through the Passport Office here in Ireland. Irish passports are also issued through Irish embassies and consulates throughout the world, to whom you apply if you are living abroad.
Since 11 April 2011 passports are no longer free to those aged 65 and over.
It is no longer possible to obtain a replacement passport (e.g. if your passport has been damaged or if you have married and want to change the name on your passport). Instead, you will have to apply for a new one. See our document on renewing an Irish passport.
Whether you want to apply for a passport for the first time or renew an old/current passport, the application form is the same. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides a Passport Reminder Service which sends you a reminder by email 3 months before your passport is due to expire. You must register for this service.
If you apply for a new passport before your current one has expired, your new passport will run from when you apply.
Further information is available in our document on renewing an Irish passport.
It is not possible to obtain a replacement passport if you have lost your Irish passport or it has been stolen. Instead you must apply for a new passport as if you were applying for the first time. There is more information in our document on replacing a lost or stolen passport.
Irish citizens travelling to destinations outside the EU are subject to the specific passport controls and requirements of those countries. This means, for example, when travelling outside the EU, your passport may need to be valid for a certain period. The arrangements vary from one country to another so contact the embassy of the relevant country before you travel for the most up-to-date information on these requirements. We cannot advise on the requirements of any particular country - you should contact the embassy directly.
All EU citizens have the right to enter and live in the territory of another member state of the EU for up to three months. You simply present a valid passport or national identity card; no other formality is required. EU countries cannot set additional conditions concerning the minimum validity or duration of the identity card or passport. Basically this means that your passport doesn't have to be valid for say, 6 months before you are allowed enter another EU country.
A machine-readable passport is a passport with two typeface lines printed at the bottom of the biographical page, which can be read by machine. Look at the bottom of your Irish passport [the photo page] for two lines that are typeface lines. These lines have letters, numbers and left angle brackets.
When read, these lines electronically provide identical information to that provided on the biographical page. (The biographical page is the page on your passport that illustrates your photograph and carries information about your name, date of birth, address, nationality, etc.).
All passports issued by the Passport Offices in Dublin and Cork and the Irish Embassy in London, which represent over 90% of all passports in circulation, are machine-readable.
Since June 2005 the United States has required that all Irish passport holders must carry a machine-readable passport when travelling to the US. Ireland is one of 27 countries where passport holders may enter the US without a visa for travel or business purposes for a maximum period of 90 days. If you don't hold a machine-readable Irish passport you must obtain a visa in order to enter the US.
Since January 2009, Irish passport holders require an electronic travel authorization (ESTA) before boarding their flight to the US. Further information is available on the US embassy website.
In October 2006 the Passport Office began issuing Irish electronic passports (ePassport). An electronic passport is the same as a normal machine-readable passport with the addition of a small integrated circuit or chip embedded in the photo page. The chip securely stores a digitised image of the photo and personal details of the passport holder as they appear on the data page of the passport, which allows the use of facial recognition technology at border controls. The chip incorporates digital signature technology to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip.
You must be an Irish citizen in order to be eligible for an Irish passport.
You have a right to apply for a passport if you are 18 years or over. If you are under 18, you will need the consent of both parents or guardian(s) in writing in order to get your own passport.
Titles such as Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr, Rev., Sir, Lord, Lady, etc. are not entered on Irish passports.
If the version of the name to be entered on the passport differs from the version of the name on the birth certificate, you must provide evidence of usage for at least two years, e.g. bank statement, driving licence, credit cards, etc. At least two examples of such evidence should be enclosed with your application.
A passport may be issued in the married name of an applicant if a civil marriage certificate is produced.
Since October 2004 all children, regardless of age, must obtain an individual Irish passport in their own name. Three year passports are available for children under 3, and five year passports are available for children between 3-17 years.
Children who are already included on a parent’s passport, issued before October 2004, may continue to travel to most countries up to their 16th birthday along with that parent. There are, however, some exceptions.
There is more information on applying for a child's passport in our document on passports for children.
Four recent identical photographs of the passport holder must be included with each application. Two of these should be signed on the back by the person who witnesses the application. The witness should also write the form number shown in Section 9 of the application form on those two photographs. If you are applying in Ireland the witness must be a member of the Garda Síochána. If you are applying abroad, suitable categories of witness are listed on the application form.
From 11 April 2011 the fees when applying for an Irish passport using An Post's Passport Express (see below) or through an embassy or consulate are:
When applying in person at a Passport Office or by ordinary or registered post the fees are:
If you use An Post's Passport Express service, which guarantees that you will get your passport within 10 working days, there will be an additional charge of €9 per application. An Post also offers a 'Family Application' option whereby up to 4 passport applications for a family may be enclosed in one envelope. The additional charge for a Family Application is €15.50. The additional charge includes postage to/from the Passport Office. The Passport Express service through UK Post Office branches in Northern Ireland (pdf) costs £6.
If you are an Irish citizen living outside Ireland and are applying for a passport through your Irish embassy or consulate, there may be additional administrative costs or handling charges depending on where you live. Check this in advance with the Irish embassy or consulate in the country in which you are living.
You can pay for your Irish passport through Passport Express, at a Passport Office public counter, by ordinary post, or through your nearest Irish embassy or consulate abroad. If you are paying by cheque, it must be in euros and be drawn on an Irish bank.
If you are using An Post's Passport Express service, you should pay the passport application fees and the extra Passport Express fee directly to An Post, either by cash, cheque or Laser debit card.
If you are applying in person at the Passport Office in Dublin or Cork, you can pay by cash, cheque, credit or Laser debit card, postal order or bank draft.
Cheques, postal orders and bank drafts enclosed with ordinary postal applications should be made payable to the Passport Office. You can also pay by credit or debit card on an ordinary postal application. For security reasons, you should not include cash with a postal application.
It is not possible to apply for an Irish passport online. It is also not currently possible to download the application form you need to complete.
If you are an Irish citizen living in the State, you should fill out form APS 1. You will find these forms at every Garda Station and at any Post Office that displays the "Service Plus" logo.
If you are an Irish citizen living in Northern Ireland or outside Ireland and you are applying for an Irish passport, you should fill out form APS 2. You can get the application form from the Irish embassy or consulate in the country where you live (or the closest embassy or consulate). The Passport Express service including forms is available through certain UK Post Office branches in Northern Ireland (pdf).
When you get the form, you should read the detailed notes provided with it, to help you complete your application correctly.
Since January 2011, adults applying for an Irish passport for the first time must include the following with their application:
You may also be required to provide further information and/or attend for interview.
Note: If you are unable to provide any general photographic ID, you will have to complete a certificate of identity and have it witnessed. The certificate of identity will be sent to you upon receipt of your passport application. The certificate will include preprinted details, including your application photograph. It must be witnessed by someone from a list of people acceptable to the Passport Service for this purpose, and who also personally knows you.
Complete Section 6 of the application form. Submit the form together with the documentation mentioned above as if it was your first application for a passport. (View detailed information on how to replace a lost or stolen Irish passport here).
Applicants are encouraged to use the Passport Express service operated by An Post and through Northern Ireland post offices. Applying through the Passport Express service ensures that properly completed applications will normally be processed in 10 working days. This period may be extended at certain times of the year due to increased application numbers. Check the Passport Office website for current processing time information.
If you make your application by ordinary post, you should allow at least 8 weeks for your passport to be processed.
If you call in person to any of the Passport Offices in Ireland, your application will take a minimum of 2 weeks to process. Those travelling in less than 10 days can avoid having to queue at the Passport Office to lodge their application by making an appointment online.
If you require a passport ugently, you should contact the Passport Service. Applications in Ireland with proof of travel (e.g. airline tickets) are guaranteed to be processed within 3 working days. There is an extra charge for the urgent service - €55 for an adult and €30 for a child.
In cases of genuine emergency, the duty officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can issue an emergency passport of limited validity. Examples of such emergencies are:
There is a charge for this out-of-hours emergency service - €110 for an adult and €55 for a child. The emergency passport is valid for a limited amount of time. An application for a regular passport will have to be made subsequently.
If living abroad, in general you should allow at least 6-8 weeks for the processing of your passport via your local embassy or consulate.
In December 2006 the Passport Office launched their Passport Tracking Service. This service allows you to check the status of your application online. In order to do this, you must have the application number from your form (available in the top left-hand corner of the form) to do this.
If applying from within the State, you should use Passport Express. Hand in your application at your nearest Service Plus Post Office. Applying in person at a Passport Office should only be done by those who have immediate travel plans or a necessity to travel for reasons of family emergency.
If applying from outside the State, send the completed application to the nearest Irish embassy or consulate, or hand it in at the nearest participating Norther Ireland Post Office if using Passport Express.
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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.