With many Mayo people planning foreign holidays at this time of year, local Fine Senator John O’Mahony is reminding everyone to make sure their travel documents are in order before they travel.
“Before you book your trip it is important to look at your passport and check its expiry date. If you’re booking for your children, remember to check their passports too.”
“When applying, allow at least six weeks for your passport application. Delays are often encountered when forms are incorrectly completed and the six weeks allows time for any issues to be dealt with.
“Turnaround times for passports can vary depending on demand volumes but the Department of Foreign Affairs recommends allowing 3 weeks for renewals & 4 weeks for first time applicants.
“For genuine emergencies there is a Rapid Renewal Service. Certain specific documentation is required for this and candidates have to go to the Passport Office on Lower Mount Street in Dublin. There are, however, limitations to this service, so it’s best to check your passport now and get your application in on time.
“It’s also important to familiarise yourself with the visa requirements of the country you are visiting.
“Visa requirements differ from country to country outside the European Union, so it’s best to check with the country’s embassy or consulate prior to making your travel arrangements.
“Remember, if something goes wrong when you’re travelling abroad and you need help, you can contact your local Irish Embassy or Consulate.
In general, in the provision of consular care, the Department of Foreign Affairs can:
· Issue emergency passports/travel documentation (if certain criteria are met).
· Advise and support you in the case of an accident, serious illness or death.
· Help liaise with local police or other authorities, particularly if there is a language barrier.
· Contact your family or friends on your behalf.
· Visit you in prison if you have been detained.
· Advance cash to you in an emergency situation provided that the amount you need has been lodged in advance with us at our offices in Dublin or Cork or at a Garda Station.
· Provide a list of English-speaking lawyers, doctors or interpreters in a country.
· Provide a list of local undertakers in the event of a death.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides regularly updated travel advice for every country in the world and I strongly encourage you to visit it before making travel plans.
This is all available on the website - https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice - and through a special free Smartphone App called TravelWise.”