Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (52)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

52. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications for naturalisation on hand at present; the average time taken to process such applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26671/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. All applications for a certificate of naturalisation are processed and assessed individually in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements, not only within the State but also at European Union as well as international level. It is therefore important that appropriate procedures are in place to ensure that the integrity of the regime for granting Irish citizenship through the naturalisation process is held in high regard both at home and internationally. These procedures are continually evolving such as reflecting the need to respond to changing international circumstances and also to ongoing service improvements due to the introduction of new technology and work practices.

In general, it takes around 6 months for a standard application to be processed from the date it is received to the date a decision is made. The average processing time from the date an application was received to the date a decision was made was 6.7 months in 2016, 7.2 months in 2017 and 6.5 months in 2018. Additional checks with state agencies which in turn may require liaison with counterparts in other jurisdictions can result in some applications taking longer than this average timescale. These checks are fundamental to maintain the legitimacy of the naturalisation process both nationally and internationally.

As of the end of May 2019, there were 12,500 applications on hand. To date this year a total of 2,348 adults and 638 minors have been naturalised while a further 680 adults are due to attend a citizenship ceremony in Waterford this coming Friday.

The nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases can take longer than others to process. Each citizenship application is unique and is assessed on its merits according to the administrative and legislative conditions in place at the time of application

INIS devotes considerable resources to the processing of these applications. It also operates a dedicated phone helpline and email helpdesk available for all applicants interested in the progress of their application, details of which are available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie