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Justice | Addressing the number of persons waiting for naturalisation for extended periods

To ask the Minister for Justice the extent to which the number of persons awaiting naturalisation is being addressed with particular reference to those in this jurisdiction for more than five years and anxious to obtain employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The median processing time for applications for naturalisation currently stands at 19 months. I understand the extended wait times can be frustrating for applicants and my Department has been working hard to clear backlogs. Unfortunately, due to unprecedented demand, and the legacy of the pandemic delays, processing times have extended.

In 2022 there were 13,613 Certificates of Naturalisation issued, including 1,719 in respect of minor applicants. This represents a 39% increase on the number of certificates issued in 2021 (9,780) and demonstrates my Department’s commitment to processing applications in a timely manner.

There are ongoing developments and improvements being made to the citizenship application process. Significant reforms  have been introduced for customers to streamline the number of proofs required to establish their identity and residency as part of the application process. A new scorecard was introduced to help applicants to complete their applications. Since this initiative went live, a preliminary review of applications received indicates that the quality of the applications has markedly improved.  

I welcome this development which builds on other innovative measures introduced in the application process, including the deployment of “Tara” the e-chat bot, as well as e-payments, e-tax clearance and Gardaí e-vetting, and the removal of the requirement to provide the original passport when making an application, all of which have positively enhanced the applicant’s experience.

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