24 Nov 2011


On the 9th of November, 2011, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter TD, signed a new Statutory Instrument enabling the introduction of an application fee of €175 for all applications for citizenship.

Those applying for Irish citizenship now incur an extra charge of €175 on top of the existing processing fee of €950 which successful applicants must pay. This new fee is non-refundable and non transferable to subsequent re-application(s). In the event of an application being returned on the grounds of incomplete information or documentation, the individual is required to pay another sum of €175 for a new application following a four week grace period to afford applicants the opportunity to provide the requested documentation. This is onerous as obtaining the acceptable standard of official documents from outside the jurisdiction within a four week period is often fraught with challenges.

The Citizenship Application process to date is already a very difficult process for applicants. The lack of transparency, consistency or clarity in decision making when determining citizenship applications has eroded the confidence of many in the process. There is no guarantee that even the best prepared application will be successful as the qualifying conditions are subjective to any official's broad discretionary powers. Official decisions cannot be appealed which leads to a profound disquiet among immigrants that they may be exposed to systematic exploitation to raise revenue.

Compared to other jurisdictions, Ireland already charges high processing fees for naturalisation certificates. Naturalisation should not be a burden on the immigrant who chooses Ireland as a home. The new application charge may be considered by many long term residents as a subtle form of social exclusion.

NCP is calling on members of ethnic minority communities, public representatives and others to support our call to the Minister to revoke the Citizenship Application Fee with immediate effect.