NATURALISATION APPLICATIONS AND THE “SIX WEEK RULE”
Berkeley Solicitors has recently received confirmation from the Department of Justice that the day a person leaves and returns to the State are not considered a day absent from the State when calculating absences for naturalisation applications.
For standard naturalisation applications a person is required to have five years reckonable residency in the last nine years. The period of five years can be made up as a period of four years within the last eight, with one-year continuous residence in the year prior to application
For those applying as the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen, you are required to have a period of three years in the last five years. This can be made up as two years within the last four, with one-year continuous residence in the year prior to the application.
It is the Minister’s current policy that declared refugees can apply for naturalisation after three years’ lawful residence in the State.
All Applicants are required to have one year’s continuous residency in the State in the year immediately preceding their application.
There is a question on the Form 8 naturalisation application, question 5.6, which asks if an Applicant has been absent from the state for more than six weeks in any of the last five years and to declare same if relevant.
It became apparent in recent years that the Minister’s policy was to deem an application ineligible on the basis of their absences from the State which became known as the “six week rule”. This meant that absences of over six weeks in the first four years or two years of reckonable residence would be deducted from a person’s overall reckonable residence and that an application would be deemed ineligible if a person was absent from the State for over six weeks in the year immediately preceding their application.
Following the Court of Appeal judgement findings in Jones v Minister for Justice and Equality, which affirmed the lawfulness of the Minister’s policy regarding the “six-week rule”, many clients have contacted our office seeking clarity regarding their eligibility where they have been absent for more than six weeks in the previous five years.
The court of appeal clarified that the Minister is entitled to operate a policy regarding absences however to date there is no published policy on the six-week rule or its operation.
It is positive to receive confirmation that days of travel are not considered a day absent in the calculation of a person’s residency and has provided much welcomed clarity in this area.
We would submit that a published policy should be accessible to all those who wish to submit applications for naturalisation as there remains no guidance whether absences for work are permissible and there is no clarity on whether the calculation should be based on a calendar year or a rolling year.
If you or a family member have any queries regarding the naturalisation process or your own application for naturalisation, please do not hesitate to contact us