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Citizenship Applications

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 15 February 2022

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Ceisteanna (621)

Marian Harkin

Ceist:

621. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Justice the status of a citizenship application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8444/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy 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.

During this time, it is important that the person maintains their immigration permission and takes all appropriate steps to renew their permission to be in the State.

In accordance with the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, an applicant must have had a period of one year’s continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately before the date of the application. As the person concerned has already submitted their application, the six weeks absence rule no longer applies. They should, however, contact my Department at: citizenshipinfo@justice.ie, if they intend to remain outside of the State for an extended period of time.

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 level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. However, the nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

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.

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.

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