Thursday, 3 October 2019

Questions (103)

Alan Kelly

Question:

103. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of becoming an Irish citizen for asylum seekers claiming refugee status; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40236/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the fees to be paid by an applicant for a certificate of naturalisation are governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 569 of 2011). The application fee, stipulated at €175, is payable on application for a certificate of naturalisation, and a certification fee is payable on the issue of a certificate of naturalisation. 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 cases where the application is made by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen. In the case of recognised refugees and stateless persons the certification fee is nil. Therefore, in relation to the cost of applying for and receiving a certificate of naturalisation there is no cost to a person recognised as a refugee under the International Protection Act 2015. 

There is no provision in the Regulations for the discretionary waiver or reduction of fees, or for differing fees to apply to different nationalities, pensioners or based on length of residency. While the operation of the Act is kept under review, there are no plans to amend the fees as they are comparable with other jurisdictions.  

 The standard fees payable by an applicant are designed to reflect the effort and cost involved in processing applications for a certificate of naturalisation. Formal citizenship ceremonies have been introduced at no extra cost to applicants. These have been universally well received by participants as the ceremonies provide a sense of dignity and 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 Immigration Service of my Department 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 Immigration Service is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.