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FAQs: Embassy Services COVID-19 Update

FAQs: Embassy Services COVID-19 Update

LAST UPDATED: 30 December 2020

This page has answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about consular services at the Embassy of Ireland in Brussels. 

In order to provide a safe environment for our staff and our visitors, and adhere to public health guidelines, the Embassy is currently operating at reduced capacity. Appointments are currently only available for Irish citizens requiring emergency assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Irish Passports
  2. Foreign Birth Registration

  3. Visas for Ireland

  4. Other Services (certified copies of passport, witnessing, driving licence queries)

 

 1.  Irish Passports

The Passport Service has paused operations in line with Ireland moving to Level 5 of the Government’s National Framework on Living with COVID-19 on 24 December 2020.

Applications can still be made online while the Passport Office is closed and will be processed when services resume. An update is expected in mid-January 2021.

To apply via Passport Online, please click here.

We strongly advise applicants not to make travel arrangements without a valid passport.

If you need a travel document for a genuine emergency, please contact us. An emergency is defined as death or grave illness of an immediate family member, with a need for urgent travel within the next few days or for emergency medical treatment of the applicant. Proof of emergency will be requested. 

Did you know you don't need to wait for your passport to expire in order to renew?

Adult passports can be renewed if there there is validity of less than one year remaining. Childrens passports can be renewed if there is validity of less than six months remaining.

In light of service interruption due to coronavirus and postal delays we strongly recommend that Irish passport holders allow extra time to renew their passports at present.

 

Q: How can I apply for my Irish passport?

A: At present, it is only possible to apply for your passport from Belgium using Passport Online.

Passport Online is the fastest and cheapest way to apply for a passport for adults or children, and can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Passport Online can be used for first time applications and renewals.

As always, you should not make travel arrangements without a valid passport.

We are currently unable to process applications using the APS2 paper passport application form.

For the latest updates on the provision of passport services, please visit: www.dfa.ie/passports

Q: What is the status of my passport application, and when will my passport be delivered? 

A: You can track the progress of your passport application on the Passport Tracking website by entering your application number.

Delivery

Passports are sent by registered post.

When your new passport has been dispatched by the Passport Office a postal tracking code will appear on the Passport Tracking website. This code can be used to track the delivery of your passport. The tracking code can be used on the An Post website, and following arrival in Belgium on the B Post Track Your Shipment website. There can be a delay in the tracking code working on the B Post Tracker.

Your new passport and/or passport card will be sent via registered post to the address you provide in the online application form. The online application has the option of entering a home address AND a dispatch address (if you are not at home to sign for it during the day).

Please do not use the Embassy address as a dispatch address. Due to current workplace arrangements, we cannot guarantee that staff will be available to sign when the postal service is delivering. This could result in the passport being returned to Ireland and in significant delays in receiving of your passport.

Q. Where can I find out more about Passport Online and the documents I need to submit in order to apply for an Irish passport? 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about Passport Online can be found here

Details of the documents required for first time passport applications can be found here.

Q. Who can I contact if I have further questions about Passport Online? 

Contact details for the Passport Office Customer Service Hub are available here.

Please note the Embassy has no role in online applications.

Q: I received an email from the Embassy prior to February 2020 to say my passport is available for collection. How do I collect my passport?

A: Please contact us by email to arrange collection or postage of your passport if you applied via the Embassy prior to February 2020.

 

2. Foreign Birth Registration

Please note that since February 2020 new applications for Foreign Birth Registration are submitted directly to the Passport Office in Ireland. Contact details for the FBR Unit can be found here.

You are automatically an Irish citizen if one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, and was born on the island of Ireland. You don't need to apply to become an Irish citizen in this case and can apply for a passport using Passport Online.

The last information of the processing of Foreign Birth Registration applications in the context of COVID-19 is available here.

Q: What is the status of my application for Foreign Birth Registration?

A: If you have already sent in an application, your application is safe and will be processed in due course. The current processing time for applications is 12-18 months.

Q. I submitted an application for Foreign Birth Registration to the Embassy prior to February 2020. What is the status of my application? 

Please bear with us as we work through the remaining application we have to hand. We hope to complete processing of these applications in the coming months. 

If you have a query regarding an application submitted at Embassy Brussels, you can contact us by email and we will respond as soon as possible. 

Q. I am interested in applying for Foreign Birth Registration. Where can I find out more about eligibility and the requirements? 

More information on Foreign Birth Registration can be found here.

 

3. Visas for Ireland

Q: Is the Visa Office open? Are you accepting new visa applications?

A: Our Visa Office remains closed to the public.

We are now accepting applications for Long Stay 'D' visas (e.g. study visas, employment visas, join family visas), by registered post only. Please do not visit the Embassy as it will not be possible to submit your application in person.

Processing of short stay 'C' visa applications (e.g. visit visas, tourist visas) is currently suspended.

Applications for certain emergency or priority categories will continue to be processed. More details are available on the website of Immigration Service Delivery.

Q. How can I track the progress of my visa application? 

A. We strongly recommend that you send your visa application to us by registered post. You will be provided with a tracking number that can be used on the B Post Track Your Shipment website.

Following receipt of your application, we will contact you by email with any queries regarding your application. 

Q: When will you begin accepting short stay visit visa applications (e.g. tourist visas)? 

A. We are currently not accepting Short-stay Visas (‘C’ categories), for visits of less than 90 days, due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in Ireland.

As soon as an update is available, we will update the visa section of our website.

Q: Where can I find the latest updates on visa services?

A: The latest updates can be found in our Visa Section and on the website of Immigration Service Delivery.

4. Other Services (certified copy of passport, witnessing, driving licences)

Q. I have been asked to provide a certified copy of my Irish passport. Can this be done at the Embassy?

A. We regret that we cannot offer this service at present.

This service is widely available from the offices of a Notary Public or Lawyer in Belgium. Details of how to find an English speaking notary or lawyer in Belgium can be found on our New to Belgium page.

Q. I need to have the statutory declaration witnessed (e.g. Irish pension declaration). Can this be done at the Embassy?

Please note that, other than in genuine, documented emergencies, the Embassy of Ireland in Brussels no longer witnesses statutory declarations or affidavits.

This service is readily available at the offices of a notary public or lawyer in Belgium. Details of how to find an English speaking notary or lawyer in Belgium can be found on our New to Belgium page.

Q. Is is possible to obtain an Irish driving licence at the Embassy? Is it possible to exchange a UK / NI driving licence at the Embassy?

The Embassy has no role in applying for, renewal or replacement of Irish driving licences.

If you live in Belgium and need to renew your Irish license, you should contact your local municipality where it can be swopped for a Belgian one.

If your Irish driving licence has been lost/stolen, you may need to a Letter of Entitlement in order to get a replacement Belgian Licence. In this instance, you will need to contact the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) in Ireland.

UK/ NI Driving Licences & Brexit

If you hold a UK / NI driving licence and reside in Belgium, it is recommended that you exhange it for a Belgian licence prior to 31 December 2020. More information is available from Belgium's FPS Mobility and Transport.

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