786. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice if consideration has been given to reducing the fees for citizenship applications given Ireland currently has the second most expensive fees in the EU; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16408/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The fees in relation to applications for a certificate of naturalisation are governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Regulations 2011.
The current application fee is €175, payable when an application for naturalisation is lodged. I am informed that the introduction of the application fee had an immediate positive effect on the quality and completeness of applications, which is ultimately to the benefit of applicants.
A certification fee is payable only when the application is successful and a certificate of naturalisation issues. The standard certification fee is set at €950, while a reduced fee of €200 applies in the case of an application made on behalf of a minor or in certain cases where the application is made by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen. In the case of recognised refugees and stateless persons, there is no certification fee.
The standard fees payable by an applicant are designed to reflect the effort and cost involved in processing applications for a certificate of naturalisation which, given the benefits involved, is quite a detailed process.
There is no provision for the discretionary waiver or reduction of fees, or for different fees to be applied. All of the fees payable under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, are kept under ongoing review by the Department. However, there are currently no plans to amend the fees.
COVID-19 has unfortunately prevented the holding of our large scale citizenship ceremonies at this time and a temporary statutory declaration system is currently in place since 18 March 2021. 887 certificates have issued to date under the temporary process, with more to follow in the coming weeks and months. It remains my intention that large scale ceremonies will recommence once circumstances allow.