The new travel document was launched today by Minister Charlie Flanagan, who said applications are now being accepted online.
It is a new innovation that will allow Irish citizens to travel within all thirty countries of the European Union and European Economic Area. Adult citizens over the age of 18 who already have a valid Irish passport book are eligible to apply for the card, which is designed to fit readily into any wallet or purse.
Speaking at the announcement of the new service, Minister Flanagan said: “I am delighted to announce that applications for the new passport card can be submitted on-line from today through my Department’s website and also through a new mobile app which has been specifically designed for the purpose.
“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 thirty countries throughout Europe.
"Citizens who apply will need to have a valid passport book already but they will be able to use the passport card alone for travelling to such popular destinations as Spain, France and Italy.
“This an Irish-led and Irish-designed project that combines cutting edge technology and security features with ground-breaking levels of user-friendliness and flexibility.”
Novel features include the ability to upload a selfie – or “passport compliant photo taken on a mobile phone,” as the Department of Foreign Affairs terms it.
The card is being launched together with a free app and website that will test photos using advanced biometric algorithms to ensure they meet International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, it adds.
The free app is available in iOS (via Apple App Store), Android (via Google Play Store) and Microsoft (via Windows Store) formats.
The Minister added: “I am particularly proud that we are one of the very first countries in the world to introduce such a passport card. It represents a very positive story of Irish-led creative thinking and innovation and illustrates that we are very much pioneers in this area.”
"It also underlines the Government’s commitment to the expanded provision of public services online.”
The passport card is valid for entry into the following thirty countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
The fee for a Passport Card is €35. There will be an additional €5 postal fee if you reside outside Ireland. It has a maximum validity of 5 years or the remaining validity of your current Passport book, or hard copy.