Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Questions (1269)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1269. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice the position regarding a passport in the case of a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay in returning the passport; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15424/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

An application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy on 22 December 2020. This application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. If any further documentation is required, it will be requested from the person in due course.

The Citizenship Division of my department sent an acknowledgement letter to the applicant, which included the return of the applicant's passport and all original documentation on 7 March 2021.

My Department has not suspended the receipt or processing of citizenship applications at any stage during the pandemic. However, processing rates have unfortunately been negatively impacted by the attendant health and safety related restrictions. 

Under normal circumstances, passports are returned approximately 10 days after their receipt.  However, the current limits on staff attendance in the office due to COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in delays in the return of some passports. 

Applicants are advised not to send in their application during the pandemic if they anticipate that they may have to travel at short notice. However, I fully appreciate that people may have to travel at short notice for emergency reasons.  The citizenship website advises that in these circumstances, applicants should email the citizenship helpdesk www.citizenshipinfo@justice.ie with the relevant details including postal tracking reference if available. Any request must be accompanied by appropriate scanned supporting material detailing the reasons for travel, such as medical information. Any request of this nature is dealt with promptly.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility at INISOireachtasMail@justice.ie, 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 Question process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in the cases where the response is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Question No. 1270 answered with Question No. 1235.