216. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Justice if the return of a passport will be expedited for a person (details supplied) that was submitted in their application for citizenship four weeks ago and who urgently needs their passport to travel for a medical procedure on 26 May 2021. [28778/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): The original passport of the person referred to by the Deputy was returned by registered post on 24 May 2020.
Under normal circumstances, passports are returned approximately 10 days after their receipt. However, the current limits on staff attendance in the office due to COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in delays in the return of some passports. Unfortunately it is not possible to give a current average timeframe for the return of a passport submitted with a citizenship application.
It is a requirement of the naturalisation process that a current passport must accompany every application. The identity of every applicant must be confirmed to the greatest extent possible and a passport is a primary identifier.
Applicants are advised not to send in their application during the pandemic if they anticipate that they may have to travel at short notice. However, I fully appreciate that people may have to travel at short notice for emergency reasons. The citizenship website advises that in these circumstances, applicants should email the citizenship helpdesk with the relevant details. Any request must be accompanied by appropriate scanned supporting material detailing the reasons for travel, such as medical information. Any request of this nature is dealt with promptly.