The Irish passport is known as one of the most prized passports in the world. With an Irish passport you can benefit from either visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 187 countries. As well as this, Irish passport holders also benefit from free movement throughout the EU, which means that you can live and work in countries in the European Union without needing to apply for a visa.
In recent years demand for Irish passports has increased due to Brexit, in 2019 120,800 Irish passports were issued in Britain, whereas in 2016 just 63,500 were issued.
Because of this high demand, applying for an Irish passport can be a complex process. You will need to be able to prove that you qualify for the passport by submitting a substantial portfolio of evidence.
Who is eligible for an Irish passport
To qualify for an Irish passport you must be an Irish citizen. There are several ways that you can obtain Irish citizenship.
If you or your parents were born on the island of Ireland before 2005 then you will automatically be an Irish citizen and you are eligible to apply for an Irish passport without making a citizenship application first. If you or your parents were born in Ireland after 1 January 2005 then whether you have a right to automatic citizenship depends on your parent’s citizenship at the time of your birth and the residency history of one of the parents before the birth.
If you have a grandparent who was born on the Island of Ireland then you could be eligible for citizenship by descent and could apply for citizenship through Foreign Birth Registration. You could also be eligible for citizenship through Foreign Birth Registration if your parent is an Irish citizen but was not born on the Island of Ireland.
Alternatively, you can also become an Irish citizen through naturalisation.
How to apply for your first Irish passport
There are three ways that you can make an Irish passport application. You can either apply by submitting an online application form using the Passport Online service, you can apply by post by using the Passport Express service or you can apply in person at a Passport Office’s counter service or at your nearest Irish embassy or consulate if you are outside of Northern Ireland.
You can use the Passport Online service to renew your Irish passport from anywhere in the world. If you are applying for your first Irish passport you can use Passport Online if you are resident in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States.
You can only use the Passport Express service if you are in Northern Ireland and only at certain post office branches.
It is not recommended to apply for your first Irish passport in person at a Passport Office, this method is usually used for urgent passport renewals.
The Passport Service recommends that you use the Passport Online service to make your application as this is the cheapest and fastest way to get your Irish passport.
As well as completing the passport application form, you will also need to submit a number of documents as part of your Irish passport application that are used to prove your identity and as evidence that you meet the requirements for an Irish passport.
The documents that you will need to submit include:
- Your civil birth certificate
- Proof of address
- Proof of name
- Copy of your Public Services Card if resident in Ireland, or a national ID card
- Your original passport from your country of birth
- Civil marriage certificate if applying in your married name
- 4 photographs of yourself, 2 of which must be verified and signed by an eligible witness to prove your identity
Depending on your circumstances you may also need to submit other documents, these could include:
- Your Irish parent’s birth certificate
- Your Irish parent’s marriage certificate
- Your adoption certificate
- Your naturalisation certificate
- Your Foreign Birth Registration certificate
Passport application fees
The Irish passport application fees vary depending on what type of passport you are applying for and how you apply for a passport. If you are applying for a standard 10-year, 34 page passport then the fees are as follows:
- Applications through Passport Online: €75 (+ €5 postage if you live outside Ireland)
- Applications through Passport Express – €80 (+€9.50 fee)
- Applications in person – €95
If you are applying for a large 10-year, 66 page passport then the fees are as follows:
- Applications through Passport Online – €105 (+ €5 postage if you live outside Ireland)
- Applications through Passport Express – €110 (+€9.50 fee)
- Applications in person – €125
What is the processing time for an Irish passport?
The processing time for Irish passport applications also varies depending on the method that you used to apply.
Applications visa the online passport service are processed the quickest, usually within 40 working days for first-time applicants and as little as 10 working days for non-complex passport renewals.
Applications by post through the Express passport service have a much longer estimated processing time of 8 weeks for both first-time applicants and passport renewals or replacements.
The processing time for in person applications through the Passport Office’s counter service depend on the Irish Embassy or Consulate that you apply at, you can find out more about the processing times on the Embassy website.
Irish passport applications can be tracked using the Passport Tracker, this will tell you when your application has been received, when you must submit your supporting documents, when your application is being processed and when your passport is being printed.
It is highly recommended that you do not book any travel until you have received your passport.
How can Total Law help?
Applying for your Irish passport can be a complex process, whether it is your first passport application, or if you wish to renew your passport, our lawyers can assist you with your application.
We can assess whether you are eligible for an Irish passport and can assist you with completing the application form. Our immigration lawyers can also help you to gather all of the documents that you will need to support your application.
For more information about Irish passports and the application process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today on (+353) 061 518 025.
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If you are an Irish citizen then you qualify for an Irish passport. If you were born in Ireland before 2005 or you have a parent who was born in Ireland before 2005 then you will automatically be an Irish citizen. There are also other ways that you can qualify for citizenship.
If you have a parent or a grandparent who was born in Ireland then you could be eligible for Irish citizenship by descent. You can apply for this through Foreign Birth Registration, once you have your Foreign Birth Registration certificate you can apply for an Irish passport.
Yes, British citizens can hold an Irish passport and a British passport. To be eligible you must hold dual British-Irish citizenship.
Yes, the Irish passport can be used to travel freely in the European Union, the European Economic Areas and Switzerland. This means that with an Irish passport you do not need to obtain a visa to live in or visit countries in these territories.