Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (194)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

194. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway who has lived here for 13 years and is married to an Irish citizen has to pay €980 for an Irish passport; his views on whether this is a very exclusionary fee and would limit those with limited resources to gain an Irish passport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30654/13]

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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 1st 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 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.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.