October 6, 2015 -
Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs has launched a website and mobile app which allows users to apply for the new passport card by simply taking a selfie as a passport photo, acccording to a report by Independent.IE.
The move comes a couple weeks after the European Commission urged the Irish government to fulfill its obligation to implement biometric identifiers in the residence permits for third country nationals.
The app for the new €35 (US$39) passport card enables users to upload a selfie or “passport compliant photo taken on a mobile phone,” said the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The new passport card is being launched in conjunction with a free app (available in iOS, Android and Microsoft) and website that will test photos using advanced biometric algorithms to ensure they adhere to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
“The introduction of the passport card is a significant innovation that will enhance the travel experience for Irish people as they go on holidays or business trips to 30 countries throughout Europe,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D.
Originally set to launch in July, the new passport card was delayed after the department decided to implement a few manufacturing changes in order to improve the card’s durability.
The new passport card can be used by travellers whose regular passport is with an embassy as part of a visa application process. Additionally, the card will be accepted as a form of ID.
All Irish citizens over the age of 18 with a valid passport can use the new passport card to travel to 30 countries, including EU countries as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
If a passport is lost or stolen, the cardholder will not be required to cancel the card, said the department.
Several companies partnered to design and produce the cards, including HID Global Ireland Teoranta, DLRS Group, Absolute Graphics, and Purple Pod.
The card also offers a number of security features, including the use of thermochromic ink (which disappears when heated), UV images, and holograms embedded on a strip on the reverse side.
The Passport Service is able to process 3,000 passport card applications per week, with an estimated processing period of 20-25 working days.