To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of first-time passport applicants who are required, as and from 29 March 2016, to submit a copy of their public services card; if he is putting a provision in place to facilitate first-time applicants who have to wait to obtain their card and who require a passport at short notice or in emergency situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6465/16]
The requirement that adults who are applying for a passport for the first time hold a Public Services Card (PSC) and submit a copy of this card was introduced from 29 March. This change is an important further step in preventing fraud and identity theft. It will ensure that the identity of first-time applicants continues to be verified to a high standard and it will help protect the integrity of the Irish passport.
In excess of 1.8 million Public Services Cards (PSC) are already in circulation and it is anticipated that many first time applicants will already hold one. People who do not currently have a card can apply via a secure registration process in person at their local Department of Social Protection office.
The processing time for first time passport applications is sufficient to allow the applicant who is not already in possession of a PSC to obtain a card through the Department of Social Protection registration system prior to the approval of their passport application.
If travel is required at short notice for urgent reasons, the Passport Service and the Department of Social Protection will make every effort to expedite the PSC registration process to allow the passport to issue and procedures are in place to facilitate this. In cases where this does not prove possible, the Passport Service will consider each application on its merits and will take extenuating circumstances into account.
WRITTEN question for answer on 14/04/2016 :
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection to put special provisions in place to facilitate first-time passport applicants, given the requirement for them to submit a Public Services Card with their application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. - Pat Breen.
Question No: 16 Ref No: 6468/16
To the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will put special provisions in place, to facilitate first-time passport applicants, given the requirement for them to submit a Public Services Card with their application; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
- Pat Breen.
* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 14th April, 2016.
R E P L Y
Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Joan Burton T.D.):
The Public Services Card (PSC) is designed to replace other cards within the public sector such as the social services card and free travel pass of this Department, and to make it easy for providers of public services to verify the identity of customer. The Passport Office has introduced a requirement for first-time adult applicants to be registered for a PSC in advance of applying for a passport.
A PSC is issued following a registration process which involves the capture of an individual’s photograph and signature and the verification of identity data, and is usually received by the individual within 5 working days. Details of the registration process and information on the documents which a person should bring are available on the Department’s website at http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Public-Services-Card_holder.aspx.
At present, 98 of the Department’s locations nationwide are processing registrations for the PSC. There are three PSC centres in County Clare at Ennis, Kilrush and Ennistymon. Appointments for registration for a PSC may be made online at www.MyWelfare.ie, or by contacting the office directly (contact details are available on the Department’s website at http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/SAFE-Registration-PSC-Location.aspx).