Passport Express is set to be renamed 'Post Passport' due to slow turnaround times for passport applications.
Dublin Mid-West TD Emer Higgins has welcomed the news, following her calls for a new name that does not mislead applicants about the turnaround time associated with postal applications.
The Fine Gael TD said: “Applying for your passport by post is by far the slowest and most expensive means of application, with standard renewals taking up to eight weeks by post as opposed to 10-15 working days online.
“But up until now I’ve found that a lot of people hear the name Passport Express and presume that it is the fastest method of application. I’ve delighted that An Post has now headed my calls and renamed the service to Post Passport."
Ms Higgins added: “I have been engaging with An Post and Minister Coveney on this matter and I think this new name will provide applicants with greater clarity and prevent people from mistakenly choosing the slower postal method if they can avoid it.
“The main message for those applying for a passport is to apply online, apply early and ensure all your paperwork and signatures are in order and included with your application to avoid any delays."
First-time passport applications
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the huge demand for passports as people begin to travel abroad again has led to “pressure on the system”, particularly for first-time passport applications.
Speaking at Iveagh House in Dublin on Tuesday, Mr Coveney said: “Because there are so many people applying for both renewals and new passports at the moment, it is putting some pressure on the system.”
He said that 900 people would be working in the Passport Office this summer – double the 460 staff working in it last year.
He said that the Passport Office was essentially issuing 5,000 passports a day.
“So far this year, we’ve issued half a million passports, which is 80 per cent of where we were in the whole of last year.
“Last month, there was 170,000 passports issued, which is considerably more than ever before in history.”
In response to anecdotal reports of people not being able to get through to officials to ask about their passport application, Mr Coveney said that additional staff are being allocated to customer services.
“I would be hopeful people will see a difference this week.” - Additional reporting from PA