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Passports: Northern Ireland

Volume 458: debated on Monday 26 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passport applications were processed in Northern Ireland in each of the last six years; how many of those applications were (a) granted and (b) refused; and what the average time taken to process passport applications in Northern Ireland was over this period. (123510)

IPS have a single office in Northern Ireland, located in Belfast. This office processes applications for a catchment area which includes areas of the UK outside of Northern Ireland. Therefore the figures provided relate to the number of applications processed in Northern Ireland but do not represent the number of applications made by residents of Northern Ireland.

Applications processed can have three outcomes:

Passed for issue

The application was successful and approval was given for a passport to be issued.

Withdrawn

The application for a passport was withdrawn prior to a final decision being made.

Failed

The application failed and the applicant was not entitled to a passport.

Table 1 displays the total number of passports processed within the Belfast office, broken down into the outcomes of passed for issue, withdrawn and failed.

Table 1: Belfast passport application outcomes

Passed for issue

Withdrawn

Failed

Total

2002

276,567

1,555

32

278,154

2003

233,857

1,353

197

235,407

2004

297,802

1,611

236

299,649

2005

361,204

1,924

193

363,321

2006

354,340

2,350

255

356,945

When processing passport applications IPS do not monitor the time taken to process applications which have errors or queries raised while being processed. These queries create a need for additional checks to take place and extend processing time due to requesting further information from the customer. For straightforward applications, those measured by the publicised 10 working day turnaround target, table 2 identifies the average turnaround time in days for the Belfast office.

Table 2: Belfast average turnaround in days for straight forward

Average days

2002

4.4

2003

4.2

2004

4.7

2005

4.4

2006

5.5