Naturalisation is the process whereby a foreign national can become naturalised and get an Irish/EU passport.
Citizenship / Naturalisation Applications
A person with 60 months lawful reckonable residency in the State is entitled to apply for naturalisation/ citizenship provided that certain requirements are met. The time spent in the asylum process, on a student visa and on some other permission stamps is discounted for the purposes of the qualifying period of residency.
Citizenship – The Six Week Rule
The last year spent in Ireland prior to the Citizenship Application must be unbroken residency. If there is an absence of six weeks in any year that must be explained. We are currently taking cases before the High Court challenging this rule and we expect that the requirement will be deemed unconstitutional. The six weeks absence from Ireland is currently causing a difficulty until such time as the High Court decide whether it is unlawful. Therefore, if travelling with work it must be set out clearly and the applicant must go back through the past five years and give details of their absences.
Carol Sinnott Solicitor recently spoke to the Irish times about the unconstitutional nature of the six week rule that the department of Justice have implemented. You can read the article here:
Information On Citizenship Applications
For Citizenship queries it is important that the applicant does not receive social welfare or has any criminal convictions. A PPS card is necessary in every case as opposed to just a PPS number which can be obtained from a person’s local social welfare office.
Original passports must be submitted. In relation to the application fee the Department does not accept postal orders and Bank of Ireland will not give out a bank draft for under €500. Therefore, a different bank must be used to buy the draft.
Citizenship On The Basis Of An Irish Born Child/Parent Or Close Affinity
In relation to citizenship applications generally if you have an Irish Citizen Child you can apply for citizenship after three years of residency as you are related by blood or affinity. All applicant can still submit an application for citizenship in circumstances where they are the parent of an Irish citizen child or based on Irish associations by asking the Minister to exercise his discretion under s. 16(a) of the Citizenship Act to waive the residency condition contained in s. 15(1)(c) of the 1956 Act.
Irish Citizenship Children And The Citizenship Application Form
In relation to Irish Citizen children a copy of their passport and birth certificate must go with the application. In relation to non-EU nationals the GNIB number is a personal number only applicable to non-EU nationals. In relation to question 5.2 regarding the passport number that refers to the passport that the person arrived into the state on and not the current passport. The references must be given by three Irish Citizens. The processing time is currently 6 to 9 months minimum.
Citizenship Based On Marriage To An Irish Citizen
If the applicant is married to an Irish Citizen the application can be made after three years as opposed to five years. It can be done as a five year or three-year application.
Online Residency Calculator and Non-EEA Nationals
Non-EEA Nationals must complete an online residency calculator when submitting their applications for citizenship. They also have to enter the dates of their registration stamps to ascertain that they are eligible and this must be enclosed with the application. If the client is unsure of their stamps we can write to GNIB for a letter of reckonable residency setting out all of their stamps in the state and dates of registration. We always offer to do this when the client is unsure.
After the application has been granted the person will need to submit two passport photographs and a bank draft in the sum of €950 in preparation of the ceremony.
Citizenship By Descent / Foreign Birth Registration
If a Grandparent was born in Ireland then that person would be entitled to citizenship by decent. In relation to the son or daughter of a parent that person could only obtain citizenship by decent if the parent was on the foreign births register at the time of the son or daughter’s birth. Otherwise the son or daughter would need to move here for a period of five years. Alternatively, if the parent got on the foreign births register the child would be related by blood and could apply for citizenship after three years.
Such applications should be accompanied by the birth certificate, marriage certificate and death certificate of each lineal ancestor. For example, the Grandfather, father or mother of the Applicant. At the moment for UK citizens these applications need to be made to the London Embassy together with a fee of €277.
In relation to citizens other than British Citizens the citizenship by decent application would need to be made in the embassy of the applicable Country.
Recent Trends on Citizenship by Descent Applications
We have recently come across a number of cases where our UK clients have applied for pre-Brexit citizenship by descent on the basis of their Irish Grandparent. Some of our client are estranged from their parents are therefore unable to get a copy of their parent’s passport or a copy of some form of ID for the parent. This should not be a bar to qualifying for Irish Citizenship. Those applications are not being processed by the Department of Foreign Affairs or refused even though the applicant has satisfied the grandparent test. We are currently dealing with a number of such applicants and with a view to challenging the refusals or the refusals to process the cases further. If you are one of those applicants who cannot get a form of ID from your parents, then you may want to discuss your application with us. We believe that can assist you if you qualify in every other way for citizenship by descent.
Judicial Review of Citizenship Refusals or Delay
In cases where a person has not received a decision from their citizenship application it may be possible to bring a Judicial Review against the Citizenship Section of the Department of Justice for the delay. In general, it takes six months for a straight forward application. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service’s Website states that it takes six months for a straight forward application to be processed from the date it is received to the date that a decision is made. It also says that processing times can vary depending on certain circumstances.
In order to bring an order of mandamus (High Court Proceedings) to compel the department to deal with your application, it must be established that there has been an unjustified delay which is tantamount to a refusal. The factors that the Court will have regard to as per Judge Edwards in the KM case are the following:-
- The period of time
- The complexity of the issues
- The extent of any enquiries required
- Any reasons given for the delay
- Any prejudice
The Minister enjoys absolute discretion in terms of granting naturalisation/citizenship applications. The Courts are therefore inclined to afford the Minister some greater degree of latitude than would be the case in more routine applications. In delay cases it must be decided whether absurd delays impact upon family rights. In the case of Mahmood .v. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the issue of absurd delays impacting seriously on family rights was examined. In the case of Moldovan .v. The Minister for Foreign Affairs the Court would have refused an order to compel in respect of a passport application which ultimately took close to one year when the advertised turnaround time was fifteen days.
Delay in Citizenship Cases Generally
With delay cases generally, a lot will depend on what reasons are given for the delay. Judge O’Malley in the Moldovan case was particularly persuaded by the cogency of the reasons given by the Minister in the case before the Judicial Review proceedings issued. Your Solicitors letter requesting the Minister to issue a decision in your case should prompt the Department to advance those reasons if any. It is important to get an indication from the Minister as to their attitude towards the delays and how they seek to justify it before embarking upon the Judicial Review process.
How To Apply
New Application Forms
The Department of Justice and Equality have introduced a new Form 8 application form for all Applications By Persons Of Full Age For Naturalisation As An Irish Citizen.
Applications submitted on the previous version of the application form will not be accepted for processing and will be returned.
The following changes have been implemented with the introduction of the new form:
- Bank drafts are now the only acceptable method of payment, postal orders are no longer acceptable.
- Original current and expired passports of the Applicant valid during their period of residence must be submitted along with a certified copy of the biometric page of their current passport.
- Copy of p60’s for each year of reckonable residence must be submitted as evidence of employment.
- Three proofs of address for each year of residence claimed must be submitted e.g. mortgage/rent agreement, household bills (gas, electricity, phone or cable/satellite TV), bank statements, revenue letters, social welfare, letter from employment etc.
- As and from 19 September 2016 all applicants for a certificate of naturalisation aged 18 or over who are resident in the State must be registered with the Department of Social Protection for a Public Services Card (PSC).
Sinnott Solicitors can help you with your application and will carry out a full review of your circumstances in order to determine whether you are entitled to Irish Citizenship.
We advise clients on their period of reckonable residency for this process and we look at each individual circumstances in order to apply for the most appropriate route to a successful application.