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waiting list Passport backlog hits 95,000 with warning of possible eight week-delay for paper submissions

Of the 95,000 passports still in the system, 43,000 are incomplete applications

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Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Some passport applicants have been warned the turnaround time for processing their paper-based or first-time submissions could extend to eight weeks.

The revelation came as the Passport Service is battling to deal with a backlog of 95,000 applications.

This is due to the combination of a flood of last-minute submissions after the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions, the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 shutdown, an estimated 30pc shortfall in normal staffing levels and issues with supporting documentation for paper-based applications.

Passport Express processing resumed on July 19 – and major strides have been made over the past three weeks in reducing the scale of the backlog. A total of 391,841 passports have already been issued this year.

Since May, 325,148 passports have been produced – representing 83pc of the overall total so far this year.

Last month, almost 20,000 passports were being issued each week.

Of the 95,000 passports still in the system, 43,000 represent incomplete applications where further documentation is awaited.

Around 52,000 applications are under processing.

Approximately 37,000 involve child applications, with 21,000 being first time applicants.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson advised people not to make travel plans until they secured their passport.

Some paper-based and first-time applications can take up to eight weeks to process.

However, adult renewals that are done online are usually processed within 10 working days.

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