What is the change? The Department of Foreign Affairs has said it will unveil an online passport renewal service as soon as early 2017, Irish media outlets reported this week.

What does the change mean? Irish citizens around the world will be able to renew their passports online without having to visit an embassy or complete a hard-copy application. The program was announced as Ireland is experiencing a surge in passport applications from U.K. citizens following the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. Implementation is expected to begin early next year and be completed for Irish citizens in any country in 2019.
  • Visas/permits affected:Republic of Ireland passports.
  • Who is affected: People renewing Irish passports.
  • Impact on processing times: The change is expected to reduce the time it takes to renew an Irish passport.
  • Next steps: BAL will monitor the rollout of the new system and will update clients with important information, including any announcement of a date when the system will be launched.

Background: Ireland’s 2016 budget allocated €4 million to develop a “more efficient passport application process,” including an online application service. Demand for Irish passports has been on the rise, particularly since the U.K.’s vote in June to leave the EU. The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed this week that it is working on an online passport renewal service that is expected to be available as soon as early 2017. Few details are available at this point, but the program is expected to ease passport renewals.

BAL Analysis: The online system is expected to make passport renewal significantly easier. Until the change is implemented, those applying for or renewing Irish passports should factor in the increased demand, as well as the peak summer season. Renewal applicants should allow at least two months. Those applying for their first passport require additional screening and should allow at least one month if they reside in Ireland and at least two months if applying from outside. BAL can assist in the process.

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