I am 18 and flying to Spain for a holiday this summer. Can I use a passport card when travelling to Spain, and how do I apply for one?
Answer (May 2018)
The Irish passport card is a credit-card sized Irish passport. You can use it for travel within the European Union, the European Economic Area (which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland. So, you will be able to use it when going to Spain this summer.
You must be aged 18 or over to apply for a passport card. You must also hold a valid Irish passport that is not due to expire in the next 3 months.
The personal details you provide when applying must be exactly the same as those on your passport book.
The passport card is valid for a maximum of 5 years or until your passport book expires, whichever period is shorter.
If you plan to use your passport card when travelling, you must use the passport card number when checking in online.
The passport card costs €35. If you are applying from outside Ireland, there is an additional delivery cost of €5.
You can apply for a passport card online on dfa.ie. When making the application you need:
- Your current passport book
- Your digital photograph (see the detailed guidelines on dfa.ie)
- A valid email address
- A debit card or credit card
When you submit your application online, you are issued with an 11-digit application number. You can track your application’s progress on the Department’s website using the application number.
Find out more about passport cards on dfa.ie.
The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance helps you with the cost of clothing and other expenses for children in school.
To qualify, you must be getting certain social welfare payments and (in general) your child/ren must be aged between 4 and 17 on or before 30 September 2018. If they are aged between 18 and 22, they must be in full-time second-level education.
Many people will get an automatic payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. If you qualify automatically, you will receive your payment in the week ending 13 July 2018.
If you do not get an automatic payment, you must apply for the Allowance. Application forms are available online (pdf) and from your Intreo Centre, local Social Welfare Branch Office and Citizens Information Centres.
You can also request a form by texting Form BTSCFA followed by your name and address to 51909 or by emailing BSCFA@welfare.ie.
Read more about the scheme on citizensinformation.ie.
If your flight is cancelled or delayed for any reason, you can check out your rights on flightrights.ie.
Once you know your rights, you can make a formal complaint to the airline by email or through the airline’s website. Details for the online complaints sections of most European airlines are listed on eccireland.ie (pdf).
You can apply for a student grant now – you do not have to wait for your exam results or an offer of a college place.
If you are applying for a student grant for the first time, SUSI will prioritise assessing your application if you apply by 12 July 2018.
See how to apply for a grant on susi.ie.
The Mortgage to Rent (MTR) Scheme and the Abhaile Scheme aim to keep people in mortgage arrears in their homes wherever possible.
Read more about these complementary schemes.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued an Extreme Fire Risk warning.
While the warning is in place, you should avoid lighting open fires or using barbecues around forests or open land. If you see a fire, do not attempt to intervene. Move to a safe location, upwind of the fire if possible. Then call 112 to report the fire to the emergency services and follow their instructions.
The warning is in effect from 6 July to 11 July 2018 and will then be reviewed.
Read more on agriculture.gov.ie (pdf).
Irish Water has issued a National Water Conservation Order. The Order extends the ban on the use of hosepipes to all areas throughout the State.
The ban takes effect on Friday 6 July 2018 and runs until 31 July.
Read more on water.ie.
Since Sunday 1 July 2018, drivers of electric vehicles (and some types of hybrid) can get reduced road tolls under the new Electric Vehicle Toll Incentive Scheme.
To avail of the scheme, you register your vehicle with one of the participating toll tag providers. At the end of each month, the toll tag provider will refund you the discount that your vehicle qualifies for under the scheme.
Read more about the scheme on etoll.ie.
Children can travel for free on public transport services from 2 – 15 July 2018, under the National Transport Authority’s ‘Kids Go Free’ initiative.
During this period, Child Leap Card holders can travel free on bus and rail services including Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Luas, DART, Commuter Rail and LocalLink services.
To travel for free, present your Child Leap Card as normal. Your card won’t be charged while the initiative runs.
Find out more on leapcard.ie.
Irish Water has temporarily banned the use of hosepipes in the greater Dublin area. The ban is being introduced to help conserve water as the dry weather continues.
While the ban is in place, you cannot use a hose to water your garden, clean your car or fill a paddling pool, pond or fountain.
The ban runs for one month from today, 2 July – 31 July 2018.
Read more about the hosepipe ban on water.ie.