98. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality, further to Parliamentary Question No. 121 of 4 December 2014, the position regarding eligibility to apply for citizenship or naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in view of the fact that their stamp 4 is due for renewal by 11 February 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4128/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Officials in the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) inform me that there is no record of a current application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's question.
Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in her absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must -
- be of full age
- be of good character
- have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years
- intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation
- have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows—
(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and
(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.
Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in her absolute discretion, waive some or all of the statutory conditions in certain circumstances i.e. where an applicant is of Irish descent or of Irish associations; where an applicant is a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; or where an applicant is a Stateless person within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless persons.
It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended.
In the context of naturalisation, certain periods of residence in the State are excluded. These include -
- periods of residence in respect of which an applicant does not have permission to remain in the State
- periods granted for the purposes of study
- periods granted for the purposes of seeking recognition as a refugee within the meaning of the Refugee Act, 1996.
Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.