Everything you need to know about applying for your child's first passport
The first time I had to apply for my son's passport I was clueless.
Up until the mid-noughties, children could be added to their parent's passports to travel but now they need their own passports to fly.
I put myself under no end of unnecessary stress applying for my child's passport when things could have been a lot more straightforward.
If you're in the process of applying for your child's first passport but don't know where to start here is my advice on getting it done and dusted without causing any panic.
You will need four clear photos to send off with your child's passport application.
This can be tricky when they're babies or very small as keeping them still is never easy. I recently ended up with a bunch of unusable photos after bringing my daughter to get some taken in a chemist.
One way around this is to take the photo yourself at home against a white background or with the baby lying down on a white sheet. This means you can take your time and take as many photos as you like until you get one that you are happy with. These photos can then be printed off at your local chemist.
They can't be smiling or wearing hats in the photo and their face should be perfectly centred in the frame.
Getting the forms witnessed
When I was first applying for my child's passport in 2013 and I read that it had to be witnessed by someone we knew who was a guard, priest, teacher or lawyer, I panicked.
All I could think was I don't know anyone in any of these professions and I ran around like a headless chicken trying to find a way to get them witnessed.
While the wording would make it seem like you should be on personal terms with the person who witnesses the signing of your child's form, this is not actually the case.
Simply bring your forms to your local Garda station and the officer on duty will sign the forms for you then and there. Just remember to bring a form of ID for yourself and your partner. Both parents must be present for the signing. If the other parent is unable to attend you will be required to bring an affidavit from a solicitor.
Give yourself plenty of time
While Passport Express say that your passport will arrive within three weeks of applying, children's passports, especially first time applications, will take longer to process.
If you have any upcoming travel plans make sure to get your child's passport sent off ASAP as first-time applications cannot be processed online and must be posted.
If you're afraid you've left it to late you can apply for an appointment at Passport Appointments Ireland to have your passport issued within a week.
I applied for my daughter's first passport two months before we were due to travel and had to contact the office after the online tracker said it wouldn't be ready until two weeks after our travel date!
We got it sorted out and were able to go on our trip but I would advise any other parent applying for their child's passport to give themselves much more time.