Passport redesign is on the way as post-Covid processing delays raise the hairs on the back of holidaymakers’ necks

Irish passports are undergoing a major redesign to prevent fraud and improve security features.

The State Department said this is part of a major national passport reform program to be implemented over the next three years.

New technologies are being introduced to improve current processing systems and support online passport applications.

The larger capacity is being rolled out following complaints of delays in processing applicants in the wake of the pandemic. After the lifting of travel restrictions in the post-Covid months, the demand for travel documents increased dramatically.

But it’s the passport book redesign that will be the most obvious change for travelers. The State Department said the passport changes will include “visual images depicting important national cultural issues overlaid with an innovative and effective passport security design.”

The passport was last changed nine years ago, with a combination of photographs and drawings reproduced using special printing techniques to ensure high security.

These included iconic images of Ireland such as the Cliffs of Moher and a depiction of the countryside along the River Liffey featuring the Dublin Convention Centre, Custom House, Liberty Hall and the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

International Civil Aviation Organization guidelines recommend frequent redesigns to prevent fraud. It suggests that any redesigns made include enhanced security features to preserve the integrity of the passport.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said it was important to protect the passport’s global reputation.

“The Irish passport is consistently ranked as one of the best performing passports in the world – offering visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to 187 countries – and the integrity of the passport is central to that,” she said.

Department officials intend to issue a tender for the passport redesign within the next month, she added. It will include proposed changes to the passport book and card design.

“According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, frequent redesigns with enhanced security features are recommended to maintain the integrity of travel documents and mitigate the current and future risk of fraud,” she said.

“Over the next three years, the Passport Service will pursue a significant reform program. This reform will involve transforming the technology that currently underlies passport operations.

“These technological upgrades are essential to stabilize and support the improvements for citizens at home and abroad that the launch of the Passport Online service will bring.

“The central project of the passport reform program is the replacement of the current processing system with a new, improved core technology that will bring more resilience, agility and capacity to the passport processing systems.” Passport redesign is on the way as post-Covid processing delays raise the hairs on the back of holidaymakers’ necks

Fry Electronics Team

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