Irish passports - an overview
A passport is an internationally recognised travel document that confirms your identity and nationality.
You must be an Irish citizen to be eligible for an Irish passport.
You can acquire Irish citizenship by birth or descent or through naturalisation. If you are the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen you can apply for citizenship through naturalisation if you meet certain conditions.
Your passport is an important legal document. You should always keep it in a secure place. Every Irish passport has a unique identification number. You should keep a note of this number, in case your passport is lost or stolen.
Your Irish passport allows you to travel abroad and entitles you to certain diplomatic support services from Irish embassies if you get into difficulty abroad. While your Irish passport is an internationally recognised travel document, it does not give you an automatic right to enter other countries.
Your Irish passport is issued by the Irish Government through the Passport Service of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland. Irish passports are also issued through Irish embassies and consulates throughout the world. You apply to the relevant embassy or consulate if you are living abroad.
You can also get information on:
- How to apply for your first Irish passport as an adult
- Renewing an Irish passport
- Your child's first Irish passport
- Renewing your child’s Irish passport
- Replacing a lost or stolen passport
- Irish passport cards
Machine-readable passports and electronic passports (ePassports)
A machine-readable passport is a passport with 2 typeface lines printed at the bottom of the biographical page [the photo page], which can be read by machine. When they are read, these lines provide identical information to that provided on the biographical page.
An electronic passport (ePassport) is the same as a normal machine-readable passport but it also has a small integrated circuit or chip embedded in the photo page. The chip securely stores a digitised image of the photo and personal details of the passport holder.. The chip allows facial recognition technology at border controls. The Irish Passport Office has issued ePassports since October 2006.
Passport reminder service
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides a Passport Reminder Service which sends you a reminder by email 3 months before your passport is due to expire. You will need to register for this service.
The Irish passport card is a travel document that you can use for travel in the European Union, the European Economic Area (which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland instead of the passport book. It is similar in size to a credit card.
Second passport for business travellers
If you travel a lot for business, you may need a second passport for when your current passport is being held by an embassy for visa issuing purposes. A second passport allows you to travel when this happens.
Passport applications and COVID-19
The Passport Service has resumed the processing of online applications for all passport types. You should expect delays to your application.
The processing of Passport Express applications has also recommenced in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The turnaround time for processing paper based applications is 6-8 weeks.
Passport phone lines are now open.
If you urgently need a passport to travel (because of the death or serious illness of a family member, or you need urgent medical treatment abroad), you should contact the Passport Service through webchat.
Where can I travel on my Irish passport?
All EU citizens have the right to enter and live in another EU member state for up to 3 months. You just need a valid passport or national identity card. EU member states cannot set additional conditions concerning the minimum validity or duration of the identity card or passport. This means that your passport doesn't have to be valid for, say, 6 months before you are allowed enter another EU state.
Irish citizens travelling to destinations outside the EU are subject to the specific passport controls and requirements of those countries. You may require a visa to travel to your destination, and/or a transit visa if you have to transfer flights. Your passport may also need to be valid for a certain period. These arrangements vary from one country to another, so contact the embassy of the relevant country before you travel for the most up-to-date information on these requirements.
Names and genders on Irish passports
In general, your passport is issued in the name and gender on your birth certificate. However, you can request that your passport carry a different name and/or gender for the following reasons:
- Marriage or civil partnership: If you want to have your passport issued in your married or civil partnership name you should submit your civil marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate.
- You are known by a different name to your birth certificate: If the name you are known by is different from the name on your birth certificate and this is not due to marriage, civil partnership or adoption, you have to supply documentary evidence that you have been using the name continually for at least 2 years. This applies even if you have received a Gender Recognition Certificate.
- You are known by the Irish version of your name: If the name you are known by is the Irish version of your name but you do not have proof of 2 years’ usage, proof of at least 6 months’ usage may be accepted. If the proof of 6 months’ usage is accepted, the English version of your name will also be noted on the passport.
- Gender recognition: You can apply in your preferred gender if you have received a Gender Recognition Certificate from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. You need to submit your Gender Recognition Certificate and your birth certificate as re-issued after gender recognition. You also have to supply documentary evidence that you have been using the name continually for at least 2 years.
Documents that show proof of usage include driving licences, bank statements, insurance, tax and social welfare documents. You should include at least 2 documents with your application.
If the name on your passport is not exactly the same as the name on your birth certificate, you can indicate on the application form that you also want your birth certificate name noted on the passport. This is known as recording an observation on your passport. It can help to avoid difficulties if you apply for a visa or work permit abroad.
Titles such as Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr, Rev., Sir, Lord, Lady are not entered on Irish passports.
Can my application be refused?
If the Passport Service is not satisfied that you have proved your identity or citizenship status, your application may be refused. However, the Passport Service will normally contact you to request further documentation or information before issuing a formal refusal.
Your passport application may be refused if:
- Issuing you with a passport would pose a danger to national security, the security of another country, or might endanger public safety
- You provide false or misleading information or documents
- The courts have issued an order for the surrender of a child’s passport
- You already have been granted an Irish passport, and you have not given a valid reason for applying for a new Irish passport
If your application for an Irish passport is refused, you have a right to appeal the decision – see ‘Passport appeals’ below.
Can my passport be cancelled or revoked?
If your passport is lost or stolen and you notify the Passport Service of this, your passport will be cancelled.
The Passport Service has the power to revoke your passport if:
- Your citizenship by naturalisation is revoked by the Department of Justice and Equality
- The passport was issued in error, or fraudulently
- Cancelling the passport is in the interests of public safety or security, either in Ireland or abroad
A child’s passport may be revoked on the order of a court, if the court believes removing the passport is in the child’s best interest.
Consent for your child's passport
Your children must have their own passports, and cannot travel on the passport of their parents or guardians. Not all children born in Ireland are automatically Irish citizens.
A child’s passport can only be issued with the consent of each of the child’s guardians. You can read more about guardianship of children.
You can get more detailed guidance on how to apply for your child’s first Irish passport, or how to renew your child’s passport.
You can appeal a decision to refuse your application for an Irish passport, or to revoke your Irish passport, to the Passport Appeals Officer. You should make an appeal in writing.
The Passport Appeals Officer will either uphold the decision of the passport office, or recommend that the original decision be changed.
The Passport Service does not have to follow the recommendation of the Passport Appeal Officer. If this is the case, the Passport Service should inform you of the reasons why it is not following the recommendations of the Passport Appeals Officer.
The Passport Appeals Officer should not be used to appeal a decision to refuse your application for Irish citizenship through naturalisation.