The Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023 brought into effect by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, has introduced significant changes to Naturalisation applications in Ireland, starting from 31st July 2023.
Below are the main amendments:
1. Naturalisation for children: Children born in Ireland who were not entitled to Irish citizenship by birth can now apply for Naturalisation after three years of living in the country, reduced from five years.
2. Good character assessment for minor applicants: Minor applicants aged 14 and above, applying for Naturalisation, will now be subject to a "good character" assessment.
3. Continuous residence requirement: The newly enacted legislation brings clarity to the calculation of the continuous year.
The previous "six-week rule" has been replaced, and now applicants are allowed to be absent from Ireland for up to 70 days (or the island of Ireland for spouses of Irish nationals) within the continuous year before submitting their applications. Additionally, under certain circumstances deemed as "exceptional," an extra period of up to 30 days may be granted, allowing a total of up to 100 days of absence.
The Act defines exceptional circumstances, such as health-related issues, family matters, employment commitments, and studies. The Minister for Justice holds discretionary authority to determine whether the absences fall under the category of exceptional circumstances.
4. Retroactive applications: These changes will apply to pending Naturalisation applications and all new applications.
5. Electronic communication: The legislation permits the Department of Justice to issue correspondence and serve documents electronically.
6. Additionally, the Act amends the Immigration Act 1999 concerning section 3 notices of intention to deport. Persons convicted of serious offenses or considered a threat to the security of the State will no longer be given the option to leave the country voluntarily after receiving a notice of intention to deport under section 3.
The changes offers more lenient allowances for citizenship applicants, especially the relaxation of the "six-week rule" which was restrictive and caused difficulties for many applicants. At present, a permissible absence of up to 70 days, which can be extended to 100 days under exceptional circumstances, is a more reasonable provision.
For enquiries about these changes and immigration matters in general, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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