Citizenship waiting times to be reduced for children

Legal reform Bill will cut naturalisation delay to three years for babies born to non-Irish

The Bill will see the residency requirements for naturalisation of Irish-born children reduced from five years to three.

The Bill will see the residency requirements for naturalisation of Irish-born children reduced from five years to three.

 

Citizenship waiting times for children born in the State to non-Irish parents are to be reduced under a new legal reform Bill.

The Bill, which has been scheduled for priority drafting, would see the residency requirements for naturalisation of Irish-born children reduced from five years to three years.

Since the 2004 citizenship referendum, babies born on the island have automatic citizenship only if one of their parents is an Irish citizen, or is entitled to be so.

Minister of State for Law Reform James Browne said it had been a “cause for concern for some” that children born in Ireland to non-Irish parents do not have an automatic entitlement to citizenship.

Residency requirement

“We fully respect the change made by the Irish people in the 2004 referendum; however, we believe that providing a shorter pathway to citizenship is the right thing to do for these children,” he said.

“We are reducing the residency requirement from five years to three years. The Bill will also set out clear procedures that will apply where a citizenship application is made on behalf of a child.”

The Bill will also see changes to the “continuous residence” requirement for all people applying for naturalisation, he said.

Absence allowed

“Following court judgments on the continuous residence requirement, we are amending the continuous residence requirement to allow for total absences of up to 70 days from the State in the year preceding the citizenship application being made. Up to a further 30 days may also be allowed where necessitated by exceptional circumstances.”

The Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 puts forward a number of other reforms including a provision to allow new legal partnerships, which will enable barristers and solicitors to jointly provide legal services for the first time. The Bill will also allow the number of judges in the High Court to be increased by five.

The Department of Justice said it would be working with the Office of the Attorney General to progress the Bill to ensure publication in the summer session.