What were the Irish abroad doing in 2014?

It was a big year for Irish passports, with 629,446 issued in total. Of these, slightly over half were issued to adults; the rest to minors.

According to Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), May and June were (somewhat unsurprisingly) the busiest months for passport applications, with 25% of all applications being submitted during those two months.

In keeping with immigration trends, DFAT offices in London and in Canberra, Australia issued the highest number of passports – 51,412 and 6,557 respectively. After London and Canberra, the Irish diplomatic offices with the highest demand for passports were New York (5,352); Sydney (3,534); San Francisco (3,219) and Ottawa (2,800).

2014 also saw an uptick in applications for Irish citizenship through foreign birth, with over 5,500 people registering – a 10% increase over 2013. The majority of these applications were received through the Embassies and Consulates in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and South Africa, reflecting the large Irish communities living in these areas.

DFAT issued more than 3,000 Certificat de Coutume (civil letters of freedom) to Irish citizens getting married or entering civil partnerships abroad, with the most popular countries for the ceremonies abroad being Italy, Spain, Malta, France and Germany. Fifty applications were received from Irish citizens entering into a same sex civil partnership abroad.

Irish diplomats in embassies and consulates around the world assisted almost 1,650 Irish citizens following serious consular emergencies, including deaths, arrests, accidents, child abductions and hospitalizations. DFAT provided consular assistance to the families of 217 people who died while abroad.

The highest number of consular assistance cases occurred in Spain, followed by Australia, USA, Canada, Britain, France, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Portugal.

Remarking on the 2014 consular statistics, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said “Providing consular assistance and other consular services to Irish citizens at home and abroad is at the heart of what we do in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Our staff are deeply committed to assisting Irish citizens in difficulty and to helping Irish families at home dealing with distressing situations abroad.

“Ireland’s diplomats stand ready to respond quickly and effectively to urgent cases and emergency situations worldwide.”

He urged the Irish traveling abroad to check their passport expiration dates well in advance and to take out travel insurance in case of an emergency.

A guide to How to Apply for a Passport, which takes Irish citizens through each step of their passport application and answers the most frequently asked questions, is available here.

The DFAT website has country-specific travel advice that is helpful for people planning trips abroad.