In notices dated the 15th and 16th November 2021, the Minister for Justice has announced a number of immigration changes to the processing of naturalisation applications and immigration requirements over the Christmas period.
With regards to the processing of naturalisation applications, the Minister has announced that that from the 1st January 2022, new applicants for naturalisation will not be required to submit their original passports with the initial application.
Applicants will instead be required to submit a full colour copy of their entire passport, including the front and back covers. The colour copy must be witnessed by a solicitor and submitted with the application form and supporting documents.
In addition, the Minister announced that significant changes are being introduced regarding the number of proofs required to establish identity and residency as part of the application process. More details will be announced on the Department’s website in the coming weeks.
With regards to immigration requirements over the Christmas period, the Minister announced that anyone holding an Irish Residence Permit card that was in-date at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 can use their current expired card to depart from and return to Ireland in confidence over Christmas and until 15 January 2022.
It was also announced that re-entry visa requirements for children under the age of 16 have also been suspended until 15th January 2022.
The notice states that holders of expired IRP cards wishing to travel over the Christmas period must be able to show a copy of the travel confirmation notice, available here, and their original expired IRP when travelling.
This is a temporary measure and travellers with expired cards will need to return to Ireland before the 15th January 2022. This measure is not available to persons who do not have a physical IRP card in their possession.
We welcome these changes which will simplify the naturalisation application process and will allow individuals with expired IRP cards to travel and visit family over Christmas.
Further updates will be posted on our blog.
If you or a family member have queries about your immigration status, please do not hesitate to contact our office.