Online passport services to be 'enhanced'

Charlie Flanagan says the changes will "significantly improve the flow of information to passport applicants"

Online passport services to be 'enhanced'

File photo

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has announced a number of 'enhancements' for online passport services.

The passport application tracking service is set for an upgrade, while a web-chat service is set to offer 'real time' communication between the Passport Service and applicants.

Minister Flanagan said: “The launch of web-chat and enhanced on-line tracking services will significantly improve the flow of information to Passport applicants. Enhanced tracking means that the applicant now has more accurate and tailored information on when his/her passport will be delivered. 

"It will ease travel planning and reduce the need to contact the Passport Service for updates. If customers have queries, the WebChat channel will provide an interactive reply. This option complements other existing customer service channels including Twitter direct messaging and phone line services," he added.

It comes amid an ongoing reform programme for the Passport Service, which is due to run until 2019 with a budget of €18.6m.

More than 730,000 passports were issued last year - a record number for any year to date.