Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs has announced that the passport renewal process will be digitized, from early 2017.
Currently those renewing passports deal directly with the Irish Passport Office. Now from early next year it will be possible to process applications online. This move was prompted by the surge in applications for Irish passports following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. The new system will reduce paperwork and streamline the renewal process.
Half of application made to the Passport Office are made by Irish citizens seeking to renew their passports. Passport applications had increased by 12.5 percent this year, compared to the same period in 2015. Now, following Brexit the number applications made by UK citizens rose by 27.6 percent, with 31,707 applications made so far this year.
The Department of Foreign Affairs told the Irish Times the new online process will be funded by a $20.4 million allocation awarded to it. They have allotted $4.3 million to the Passport Office to help modernize its services. The online process will be introduced in the first quarter of 2017 ad will be fully operational in early 2019. Two requests-for-tender notices have been issued to build the system for the department.
The Passport Office is looking into rolling out further technology updates. In particular, they plan to work on limiting passport fraud.