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NEW SCORECARD APPROACH INTRODUCED FOR CITIZENSHIP APPLICATIONS FROM JANUARY 2022

On the 31st December 2021, the Department of Justice announced that it would be introducing a scorecard approach for supporting documents that are required for citizenship applications, to prove required residency and establish identity.

The scorecard approach, which is applicable from the 1st of January 2022, is intended to clarify the information that applicants are intended to provide to establish their identity and required residency when applying for Irish citizenship.

Previously, applicants were required to provide a certain number of proofs of residency for each year of the period of residence claimed on their application form. Under the new approach, applicants will now need to reach a score of 150 points in each of the years proof of residency is required. A certain proof of residency will have a definite point value that has been predetermined by the Department.

Furthermore, an applicant will be need to provide sufficient documentation to accumulate 150 points to establish their identity. In the circumstances where an applicant is not able to meet the 150 points standard, the Department has indicated that the applicant will need to engage with the Citizenship Division to provide reasons as to why this is the case.

In the announcement, the Department highlighted the importance that proofs of identity and residence hold for a citizenship application, and confirmed that insufficient documentation can lead to an application being deemed ineligible.

An applicant is no longer required to submit their original passport with their citizenship application; however, the Minister reserves the right to request original passports from an applicant at any stage in the process.

The full announcement can be read here.

If you or a family member have queries about your naturalization application, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

AFGHAN ADMISSION PROGRAMME TO BEGIN ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FROM 16TH DECEMBER 2021

On the 14th December 2021, Minister McEntee confirmed that the Afghan Admission Programme will open for applications this Thursday, 16 December 2021.

The scheme provides a pathway for Afghan nationals who were legally resident in Ireland before 1st September 2021 to apply for a visa for up to four family members who are in Afghanistan, or one of five neighbouring countries: Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The Applicant will be responsible for providing their family members with accommodation in Ireland.

Applications will be accepted for an 8-week period, up to 10th February 2022, at which point no more applications will be accepted. There are reported to be 500 places available.

Although the scheme has undoubtedly been welcomed by many, some have voiced concern that the 500 places quoted to be available is too few, and that the Minister should be flexible with the criteria of only four family members per sponsor.

In a statement by the Department of Justice that confirmed that the scheme will open tomorrow, 16th December 2021, Minister McEntee stated;

 

In processing applications, we will be prioritising those who are especially vulnerable and whose freedom and safety is most at risk, like older people, children, single female parents, single women and girls and people with disabilities. We will also give priority to people whose previous employment exposes them to greater risk, for example UN and EU employees and people who worked for civil society organisations.

 

The application form and additional guidelines for completing an application will be available on the Department’s Irish immigration website (www.irishimmigration.ie) from today, 16th December 2021.

The full statement from the Department of Justice can be read here.

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE ANNOUNCES THE RESUMPTION OF PROCESSING OF FOREIGN BIRTH REGISTRATION

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the processing of Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) was temporarily put on hold. However, processing of Foreign Birth Registration recommenced on a phased basis on Monday, 15th November. Any applications that were sent to the FBR team while processing was closed have been kept on file, and the FBR team has assured that those applications will now be processed in strict date order. The Department of Foreign Affairs has noted that due to the complexity of the process itself, and the backlog of applications that has built up over the paused period, they predict an average of a two-year processing time for current applications.

Foreign Birth Registration allows for persons of Irish descent and children of Irish citizens born outside the State to become Irish citizens themselves.

Who is eligible to become an Irish citizen?

If you were born outside of Ireland, you can apply for Foreign Birth Registration if;

  • One of your grandparents was born in Ireland, or
  • One of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, even though they were not born in Ireland

Depending on the specific situation, there are certain documents that need to be submitted with an application for FBR on behalf of the applicant and the Irish citizen family member. There is also an online form that needs to be completed. The fees for FBR are €278 for an adult (over the age of 18) and €153 for registration of those under the age of 18.

Once a person is registered on the Foreign Birth Registrar, they can apply for an Irish passport as an Irish citizen.

The full notice on the Department of Foreign Affairs website can be found here.

If you or a family member have queries about the Foreign Birth Registration process, please do not hesitate to contact our office.