British applicants facing a 60 day wait for an Irish passport
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British applicants facing a 60 day wait for an Irish passport

FIRST-TIME Irish passport applicants from Britain are facing waits of up to 60 working days before their new documents arrive, according to Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

Information supplied to the Irish Times shows Northern Irish applicants will also be made to wait around 30 working days as demand continues to soar.

An estimated 112,000 people applied for Irish passports in March 2019, ahead of the original Brexit deadline.

This number represented an increase on the 100,4000 applications seen in January of that year, with 100,500 British people applying over February.

Online applicants face a wait of 10 working days for their new documents while those using the passport express system received documents within 15-20 working days.

However, the Passport office has confirmed to the Irish Times that first time Northern Irish applicants are facing a wait of 30 working days with renewals arriving within 15 working days.

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First-time British applications made through the Irish embassy in London are waiting around six times longer than Irish online applicants with renewals taking around 20 days.

It comes after a year in which Ireland issued a record number of passports and identity cards, with over 862,000 issued in 2018, up on the 779,000 sent out in 2017.

The increase has been attributed to Brexit with 84,855 coming from Northern Ireland in 2018 while 98,544 applications came from England, Scotland and Wales.

An estimated one in six people from Britain are thought to be entitled to claim Irish citizenship and the benefits that will come with it.

Under Irish rules, foreigners can apply for citizenship if a grandparent was born in Ireland or if a parent was an Irish citizen at the time of the applicant’s birth.