Belfast Telegraph

New passport card for EU travel

A new passport card will be particularly useful to youngsters on a night out as well as regular travellers within the EU, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has said.

The five year card - the first of its kind in the world - will be made available from mid-July and will cost 35 euro (£26).

Mr Flanagan said said it will be accepted for travel within the European Union and the European Economic Area, and would be of use to travellers whose regular passport is with an embassy as part of a visa application process.

It will also provide a useful backup if someone loses their passport while travelling in Europe, according to the minister.

"The passport card will be particularly useful for young people who use their passport booklet as identification, especially on nights out," he added.

"As a father I have often felt concern about the impracticality of the passport booklet as a means of identification for young people on nights out and this new card will be a far more practical option."

Citizens will be able to apply for the card online or through a smartphone app which has also been launched.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the initial set up of the passport card project will cost the taxpayer 416,000 euro.

"This includes a number of one-off costs associated with production and design of a secure passport card," a spokeswoman said.

"The passport card has very advanced security features, including an embedded hologram photo on the strip on the reverse of the card.

"Different types of ink, including thermochromic ink (which changes colour when rubbed) are used in its production as are a number of different printing techniques, all of which make the card very secure."

Also included in the figure are the information technology costs associated with setting up the smartphone app to allow people to apply from their phone and a website which will allow citizens to apply online.

"For commercial sensitivity reasons it is not possible to disclose the cost of the individual cards," the spokeswoman added.

"The Passport Service estimates that the passport card system will be self-financing within three years."

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