Planning your next (or first) trip to Ireland? One important step is to make sure you have a valid passport. First of all, it must be valid through your return date; you don’t want it to expire while you’re out of the country. But what if you don’t have a passport, or yours expired long ago.
The United States Passport office is currently estimating it will take 6 weeks to process a new passport application. That means you should apply at least two months before your departure date, just in case something unusual happens, such as shipping problems, or questions on your application.
You can get it within three weeks if you pay for expedited shipping, or even faster (8 business days) with the Expedited at Agency feature, but you’ll pay extra for these rush services and there are restrictions on the Agency option. The standard passport fee is $110 for new or renewed passports. First time passport holders must apply in person, and must pay an additional $25 “Execution Fee.” Minor applications (under 16) pay $80 plus the execution fee. Adults renewing an existing passport do not need to pay the extra fee.
Expedited Service is an additional $60 and the Passport office strongly recommends trackable overnight shipping at $20.66 to make sure you get your passport on time. If you are traveling within 2 weeks or need a passport for a foreign visa within 4 weeks and have not yet applied, please call the National Passport Information Center (1-877-487-2778) to schedule an appointment and submit your application at a Passport Agency.
You may track your passport application online, but if you have not yet received your passport 7 days before departure, contact the National Passport Information Center immediately.
What if you have a passport, but it expires soon after you return? Many countries require that your U.S. passport have as much as 6 months validity remaining for entry. Ireland officially does not require this, but only that your passport is valid until you return to the US. However, some airlines and travel guides will advise you to make sure your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your return date. It can’t hurt to be safe. If your passport doesn’t have the required validity, renew it today to avoid the cost and stress of waiting until the last minute.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Ireland in the near future, there’s no time like the present to make sure your passport is in order. You can also obtain a Passport Card with your application ($30) but it’s only valid for travel to Canada and Mexico. You’ll need the standard passport book to visit Ireland. However, you won’t need any visa for this trip. Safe travels!