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. A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received and, therefore, it is not possible to state if the person referred to by the Deputy, is eligible to make an application.
It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory conditions as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended and pay the appropriate fees.
Detailed information on Irish citizenship and the naturalisation process, along with the relevant application forms and guidance notes, is available on my Department's Irish Immigration website at: www.irishimmigration.ie/how-to-become-a-citizen/.
Last year, the average time from receipt of application to issue of a decision was 23 months.
My Department is taking a number of steps to speed up the processing of applications and a number of digitisation measures have also been introduced to increase efficiency in the process, including eTax clearance, eVetting and online payments. The end result of the digitisation process will be to free up more staff to focus on processing applications in a timely and efficient manner, to improve service to our customers and reduce waiting times.
Last year, my Department made 11,512 citizenship decisions, which is the highest level since 2015. Additional staff have also been assigned to the citizenship team. Based on these measures, my Department's objective is to achieve an improved timeframe of 6-9 months for decisions on a majority of applications during 2022.
Traditionally, citizenship applicants are required to attend an in-person citizenship ceremony to take an oath of fidelity to the State and complete the process to receive their certificate of naturalisation. Due to the pandemic, it has not been possible to hold such ceremonies since March 2020.
In January 2021, a temporary system was established to enable citizenship applicants to complete their naturalisation process by signing a statutory declaration of loyalty to the state. This has temporarily replaced the requirement for citizenship applicants to attend citizenship ceremonies.
Subject to public health guidelines, my Department intends to host an in-person citizenship ceremony on 20 June 2022 and further ceremonies on 5 and 6 December 2022 in Killarney.