The Minister for Justice has commenced the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023 with effect from the 31st of July 2023.

The Act introduces some significant changes with respect to Irish citizenship, international protection and immigration rules.

Some of the key changes set out in the act are as follows:

Citizenship for Minors Born in the State

Children born in the State who do not qualify for Irish citizenship at birth can now apply for citizenship by naturalisation after three years of residency. Previously children born in the State were required to wait for five years before they could apply.

Their parents must reside in the State on a lawful immigration permission which is reckonable for the purposes of Irish citizenship following the usual requirements. Time spent on student permissions or undocumented residency for example is not reckonable.

Good character assessment for minors

Minor applicants over the age of 14 will now undergo a “good character” assessment when their applications are processed. 

Absences from the State

When a person applies for Irish citizenship, they must have a period of one year’s continuous residency in the State prior to the application. 

The definition of continuous residence has been the source of much confusion and litigation in recent years with the Department of Justice previously applying a “six week rule” whereby persons applying for Irish citizenship could not be absent from the State for more than six weeks in the twelve months prior to their application in order for residency to be continuous.

The Act has finally provided clarity to this issue, confirming that Applicants can be absent from the State for up to 70 days in the twelve month period preceding the application.

Spouses of Irish citizens residing in the North of Ireland can be absent from the island of Ireland for up to 70 days. 

An additional 30 days of absences may be permitted in “exceptional situations” such as for family or personal circumstances, health requirements, employment, study.

Therefore, the maximum time that a person may be outside of the State in the continuous year prior to the application is 100 days, however the extra 30 days  included in this will only count in exceptional circumstances.

Sinnott Solicitors Dublin and Cork greatly welcome the clarity provided in the act and submit that the additional absences now permitted will provide greater flexibility to applicants planning to apply for citizenship now that this issue has been legislated for. We have met many clients in recent years who were afraid to leave the State for even one day in the twelve month period prior to the application due to the uncertainly surrounding the previous rules so the changes are very significantly welcomed.

The changes are applicable to applications which are pending in addition to new applications in future.

We do however have some concerns regarding the changes, for example, we have many clients who travel frequently for the purpose of employment and submit that the maximum 100 day cap may have an impact on a persons employment where travel is a frequent part of their role and they are hoping to apply for Irish citizenship by naturalisation. 

Deportation Orders

Persons convicted of serious offences or who are considered a danger to the security of the State can be served with a deportation order without first being given the option of leaving the State voluntarily. 

Electronic Service of Documentation

Amendments have also been made to the Immigration Act 1999 allowing immigration authorities to serve documentation and correspondence electronically.

The full text of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023 can be read here.

The Immigration team at Sinnott Solicitors Dublin and Cork look forward to working with our clients with respect to their Irish citizenship applications in light of the new and exciting changes, particularly for minors born in the State who can now apply after three years of residency. 

Our specialist team of Immigration Solicitors and Immigration Consultants located in our Dublin and Cork offices are experts on Irish citizenship and all Irish immigration matters. Should you have any queries with respect to any of the information contained in this article or any other immigration matter, do not hesitate to contact our immigration department in Dublin or Cork today on 014062862 or