Approval of Irish Citizenship Applications
On the 18th of January 2021, the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, formally announced the new temporary procedure to replace physical citizenship ceremonies during the Covid-19 pandemic. This procedure involves citizenship applicants swearing a written Declaration of Fidelity to the Nation and Loyalty to the State. Individuals whom the Minister has deemed as suitable applicants to be granted a Certificate of Naturalisation are sent the Declaration and are asked to swear the Declaration before a relevant witness and return it to the citizenship division along with two passport photographs, their original IRP card and in relevant cases their original Irish Travel Document.
Applicants are also asked to pay a fee of €950. Some applicants such as refugees are exempt from the €950 fee whilst other applicants such as minors or widows/widowers/surviving civil partners of deceased Irish nationals pay a reduced fee of €200.
Since January 2021, approximately 500 applicants have been granted their Irish citizenship. The Citizenship Division plan to contact approximately 4,000 applicants by the end of March with the Statutory Declaration in order to complete the final stage of their citizenship application process. The procedure will continue beyond March and until such time as it is possible to hold Citizenship ceremonies again. The Immigration Service Delivery have confirmed that in the future, they do intend to return to the traditional ceremony process, and they have tentatively picked a date of 5th/6th December 2021 for the next citizenship ceremony. This plan of course, is subject to whatever public health restrictions and guidelines are in place in the final quarter of 2021. The temporary procedure will for the moment remain in place, until such time as Citizenship ceremonies may return.
Introduction of new E-Payment System
As above outlined, when a person is notified by the Minister for Justice that it is her intention to issue them with a Certificate of Naturalisation, they are asked to submit payment in the sum of €950 to the Department of Justice. A new e-payment system has been introduced to allow applicants to pay the €950 online as an alternative to submitting a physical bank draft to the Department of Justice. The online payment process can be accessed using the following link. Applicants need to set up an account if they do not already have one and choose the option ‘Applications for Naturalisation’. They will then find a dropdown menu entitled ‘Citizenship Certificate Fee’ and then they should follow the steps to complete the process and pay the relevant fee.
For Question 2.3 of the online payment form, which relates to ‘Citizenship Group Number’, applicants should insert the reference ‘CMU1’ into this box. There has been some confusion to date as to what the citizenship group number refers to and the ISD have now confirmed that the relevant reference to insert into this field is ‘CMU1’.
We are delighted to report that many clients of Sinnott Solicitors through our Dublin and Cork offices, have been issued with their Certificates of Naturalisation in recent weeks. A significant number of our clients have also received the Statutory Declaration of Fidelity and are currently waiting to be issued with their Certificates of Naturalisation. Our immigration team in Dublin and Cork greatly welcome the progress that has been made in this regard.
Notwithstanding this, there are many applicants who have been waiting for four years or longer at this junction for a decision on their applications, an absolutely disproportionate period of time, and we expect that the Department of Justice will follow through with their commitment to clear the serious backlog of pending applications in the coming months.
With offices in Dublin and Cork, Sinnott Solicitors have a specialist team of Immigration Solicitors and Immigration Consultants who 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 matters, do not hesitate to contact our immigration department in Cork or Dublin today on 014062862 or email@example.com.