Temporary citizenship process grants almost 1,200 new Irish citizens

 

 

9 April, 2021

 

The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has warmly welcomed the news that approximately 1,200 people have now received Irish citizenship since she established a new temporary process on 18 January.

 

Around 1,200 people have received their Irish citizenship in the 10 weeks since I opened the temporary statutory declaration process. I understand that this includes a significant number of frontline workers who have made such vital contributions during the pandemic. This is fantastic news for the people involved and demonstrates clearly that the process is working.”

 

“Impressively, this has been delivered during the highest level of Covid restrictions, reflecting our commitment to ensuring eligible people receive their Irish citizenship as soon as possible.”

 

“A further 1,159 people have returned their signed statutory declarations and we will be sending them their certificates of naturalisation in the coming weeks.”   

 

Following the successful implementation of the initial stages of the project, the Minister has also announced its expansion:

 

“We achieved our target of communicating with 4,000 people by the end of March and are now extending the statutory declaration process to a further 2,500 people. By the end of June, 6,500 people will have been given the opportunity to complete their Irish citizenship.”

 

The statutory declaration process replaces the requirement for citizenship applicants to attend citizenship ceremonies, which have been temporarily suspended during Covid-19. In offering her congratulations to Ireland’s newest citizens, the Minister announced that plans are well advanced for a virtual celebration later this month, which will give Ireland’s newest citizens an opportunity to properly celebrate in the company of other new citizens,

 

Becoming a citizen of the country you have chosen as your home is a special moment. I know that many people have been disappointed that the in-person ceremonies cannot take place at this time. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate together.

 

“If you received your certificate of naturalisation this year, we will be contacting you shortly to invite you to an online celebratory event being held at the end of April. I look forward to seeing you there and congratulating you in person.”

 

Measures are also underway to further improve processing times for all applicants and Minister McEntee was pleased to announce an additional significant development in this regard:

 

From this week, eVetting has been introduced in the naturalisation process, replacing the manual Garda Vetting process, which was resource intensive and time consuming for all involved. Applicants will now complete the vetting process online, submitting the result directly to the Citizenship team to enable the timely processing of their application.”

 

The digitisation process, in line with the Minister’s Digital First Agenda, has also seen the introduction of eTax clearance, an online payments facility and the Department’s first Chatbot ‘Tara’, who has answered more than 10,000 citizenship customer queries since she was launched in November.

 

The end result will be to free up additional resources to focus on enhanced customer service delivery, ensuring the integrity of the process is protected and processing applications in a timely and efficient manner.

 

ENDS…/

 

Note for Editors

 

A new temporary system that is helping to significantly clear the citizenship backlog has been in place since 18 January. The temporary system enables applicants to complete their naturalisation process by signing a statutory declaration of loyalty. This signed statutory declaration replaces the requirement for citizenship applicants to attend citizenship ceremonies, which have been temporarily suspended during Covid-19.

 

By the end of March 2021, the Department has fulfilled its promise to communicate with 4,000 applicants, most of whom have been in the system over 30 months. The statutory declaration process will continue beyond March and we are aiming to have communicated with an additional 2,500 applicants in the system by the end of June. At that point we will have communicated with all those that were recorded, as at 30 December 2020, as having been in the system 24 months.

 

Those receiving a communication from the Department are being invited to complete the final steps required prior to the granting of a certificate of naturalisation.

 

It remains Minister McEntee’s intention that large scale ceremonies will recommence once circumstances allow. In-person ceremonies have been provisionally scheduled to resume in December 2021, subject to the safety of all involved being assured.