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You are here:    Home  >>  Practice Areas  >>  Immigration  >>  Naturalisation / Citizenship
      
NATURALISATION / CITIZENSHIP
Summary:
Through the naturalisation process, a non-Irish national can be issued with a certificate of naturalisation and make an application for an Irish passport. The statutory criteria include the requirement that the applicant have acquired five years reckonable residency in the State and be of good character. The Minister exercises an absolute discretion in determining applications for a certificate of naturalisation. Minister Alan Shatter announced several changes to the citizenship procedure in June 2011 including that applications received after 17th June 2011 would be determined within six months.
      
Naturalisation is the process whereby a non Irish national can apply to become an Irish citizen.
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An application for a certificate of naturalisation will be considered under the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended. The Act provides that the Minister for Justice and Equality may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The granting of Irish Citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour and not an entitlement.
      
An application for Naturalization can be made by any person who has acquired 5 years of reckonable residency in the State, or in the case of a Spouse of Irish Nationals and Refugees, they need only have acquired 3 years. All applicants must have a period of one year of continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately prior to the date of the application for naturalisation.
      
The calculation of reckonable residency is calculated at the time of submitting the application, and not at the determinaion of it. Reckonable residency is lawful permission to remain on stamp 1, 3 or 4 conditions. Time as a student or asylum seeker is excluded from reckonable residency calculations. In certain specific cases, stamp 2 or 2 A may be regarded as reckonable.

As well as satisfying the requirements of reckonable residency, applicants must be of good character.
      
On 17th June 2011, the Minister for Justice and Equality updated and introduced new forms for applications for naturalisation. There are now four different forms:
Form 8 for a person of full age.
Form 8A for a minor child born in the State without an entitlement to Irish citizenship.
Form 9 for a minor child of a naturalised Irish citizen.
Form 10 for a minor child of Irish descent or Irish associations.
      
Each form specifies full details of what supporting documentation is required to be submitted with the application.

On 17th June 2011, the Minister announced that all applications submitted on and after this date would be processed in six months. Application processing times prior to this were extremely long and applicants waited between two and four years to have their applications determined. Backlogs of applications submitted prior to June 2011 are ongoing. It has been indicated to our office that the current goal is to have all applications submitted by September 2012 processed within the 6 month timeframe.
      
      
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It is very important to note that the Minister has an absolute discretion as to whether or not he grants a certificate of naturalisation and there is no entitlement to naturalisation. The discretionary nature of the application means that many applications are refused on the basis that the applicant is not financially self-sufficient. If you are submitting an application at a time when you are unemployed and in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, it is advisable to also submit documentary evidence of your active pursuit of further employment
      
      
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