Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (581)

Peter Mathews

Question:

581. Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to lower the costs of citizenship for applicants who have applied for citizenship here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8716/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The prescribed fees to be paid by applicants on the issue of a certificate of naturalisation were last increased by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Fees) Regulations 2008, which came into effect on 1 August 2008. The standard certification fee is €950 while a reduced fee of €200 applies in the case of an application made on behalf of a minor or in certain circumstances when the application is made by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen. In the case of refugees and stateless persons no certification fee is charged.

In November 2011, I signed into law Statutory Instrument 569/11, which introduced an application fee of €175 for new applications for a certificate of naturalisation. The application fee was introduced to contribute towards the costs of processing those applications that do not attract any certification fee and to help reduce the proportion of invalid and ineligible applications being lodged. The Statutory Instrument also introduced a series of changes to the application forms, in particular to facilitate applicants who are the civil partners of Irish citizens.

The fees are designed to reflect the effort and cost involved in processing applications for a certificate of naturalisation. As the Deputy will be aware I have introduced formal citizenship ceremonies at no extra cost to applicants. These have been universally well received by participants as the ceremonies provide a sense of occasion that serves to underscore the importance to both the State and the applicant of the granting of Irish citizenship.

I have no plans to alter either the application or certification fee at this time.