The name of the Passport Express application channel must be changed so that it is clear to customers that it is not the fastest method of application, a local TD has said.
Deputy Emer Higgins, TD for Dublin Mid-West, is highlighting that applying online is the fastest way to get your passport. Deputy Higgins said, “Every week my office is still encountering people who have applied for their passport through the Passport Express method because they understandably think that the name implies it must be the fastest method, but it is not.
“This is an issue I raised a couple of months ago and I know that An Post and Minister Coveney have been engaging on it but we need to see it being changed as soon as possible to avoid the ongoing confusion that we are encountering among the public. “The turnaround time for standard passport online renewals is between 10-15 days, but when you apply through Passport Express this turnaround time jumps to eight weeks because it takes much longer to process a physical application and all the physical documents,” added Deputy Higgins.
“Children’s first-time passports are taking around 40 days because they come with additional complications due to the need to verify parent/guardianship and other factors but applying for your child’s first-time passport through Passport Express will exacerbate this further. “Between 4,000 and 5,000 passports are being issued every day, and we’re expecting about 1.4 million applications this year.
“There are three locations and staff levels will increase to 900 from 600 previously, with the vast majority of applications being processed very smoothly. I am concerned, however, about the people who will be disappointed and have to cancel travel plans and lose money because they applied through Passport Express thinking it would be the quickest way. “And you can’t really blame those people because it does sound like the quickest method,” said Deputy Higgins.
“Passport Express is of course a vital service for people who do not wish to use the online system or who have limited digital skills, but I think it’s high time that Passport Express underwent a name change. “A simple name change would prevent a lot of confusion, but it needs to happen sooner rather than later,” concluded Deputy Higgins.