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Passport copies must now be witnessed by solicitor
Minister Helen McEntee

16 Nov 2021 / ireland Print

Passport copies must now be witnessed by solicitor

From 1 January, new applicants for citizenship will not be required to submit their original passport with the initial application. 

Re-entry visas for minors are also suspended over Christmas to facilitate families making travel plans, the Department of Justice has said.

And those benefitting from the extension of immigration permissions to 15 January 2022 will see their Irish residence permits extended to the same date.

Justice minister Helen McEntee made the announcement today, as part of a streamlining process for the citizenship applications, and to facilitate immigration requirements over Christmas.

Up to 11,000 citizenship decisions will be made this year.

The number of citizenship decisions for each of the past five years are as follows:

2016

11,081

2017

9,159

2018

11,139

2019

9,332

2020

5,159

Speaking today, Minister McEntee said:

“From 1 January, new applicants for citizenship will no longer have to submit their original passport with their application. Instead, they can provide a full colour copy of their entire passport, including the front and back covers.

Witnessed

“The colour copy must be witnessed by a solicitor and submitted with the application form.”

She added that system users may need their passport to travel to see family or friends abroad. The change will also free up staff engaged in returning passports to applicants.

“Arrangements are being made to return all passports on hand by the end of the year and we thank customers for their patience while we work through this.

Travelling

“Anyone who intends travelling between now and the Christmas holidays and will require the use of their passport to do so, may wish to consider waiting until the New Year to make their citizenship application when the new arrangements will apply.”

In January 2021, a temporary system was opened to enable applicants that were in the final stages of processing to complete their naturalisation process by signing a statutory declaration of loyalty. 

“Since January, my Department has contacted almost 8,200 citizenship applicants and has issued more than 7,400 certificates of naturalisation,’ she added.

In addition, significant changes are also being introduced for customers regarding the number of proofs required to establish their identity and residency as part of the application process.

Clarity

The Minister said: “From January, my Department will be moving to a scorecard approach, which will bring added clarity regarding what information applicants will be required to provide to establish their identity and residency.

“In particular, for doctors who are employed in the HSE or in Voluntary Hospitals, the provision of a “Medical Practitioner Employment History Summary” will be accepted as proof of residence.

“I know that this will be very much welcomed by doctors who face unique challenges arising from moving hospitals as part of their training,” she said.

Customers in the State who are entitled to receive a new Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card may use their current expired card to enable them to depart from and return to Ireland in confidence over Christmas and until 15 January 2022. 

The re-entry visa requirements for children under the age of 16 are also being suspended during this period. 

Those holding an Irish Residence Permit card that was in-date at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, now has its validity period extended to 15 January 2022. 

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland