Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (274)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

274. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the fees for pensioners seeking citizenship will be reduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5202/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

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 set at €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.

There is no provision in the Regulations for the discretionary waiver or reduction of fees, or for differing fees to apply to different nationalities, duration of residency or age. The current rate of fees 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. The Deputy will be aware that 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.

Any review of fees would have to consider other categories of applicants, such as EU nationals, and the impact any changes would have on the level of fees for other applicants.