To obtain an Irish passport, an applicant must first obtain Irish Citizenship. Establishing identity and residency as part of the Citizenship application process is not always straightforward. From January 2022, the Citizenship application process moved to a scorecard approach, designed to bring clarity to what information applicants are required to provide to establish their identity and residence. The documentation required for a successful application has also been changed.
The Department of Justice has prepared a table which details the point value of documentation which can be submitted as proof of residency and proof of identity (Proofs). A score of 150 must be reached in both categories.
Proof of Residency
For each year that proof of residency is required, applicants will be required to reach a score of 150 points. To do this, they must submit documented proofs with a predetermined point value until they reach the required score of 150 points for each year of residency claimed.
The table is divided into categories and states what the minimum number of proofs are and their corresponding value. For example, a statement from Revenue (P60/Employment Detail Summary/Notice of Assessment) is worth 70 points for each of the relevant years. Documents like a mortgage statement or receipt for payment of a utility will only be worth 50 points but must also form part of the proofs.
Proof of Identity
The Minister for Justice must be assured that the applicant has been lawfully resident in the State for the relevant period claimed. A genuine passport from the applicant’s home country meets the requisite 150 points alone, while an out-of-date passport will only be worth 50 or 75 points depending on when it expired. Other documents such as an Irish Residence Permit or Driving Licence can be relied upon, but their point value will be far less, at 25 points and 10 points respectively.
If the proofs are insufficient and the applicant does not engage with the Department, the application will be deemed ineligible.
A change in the mandatory supporting documentation was also introduced on 1 January 2022. New applicants for citizenship are no longer required to submit their original passport with the initial application. Instead, they can provide a full colour copy of their entire passport and all previous passports containing stamps that contribute to an applicant’s period of reckonable residency claimed.
The Department of Justice retains the right to request actual passports to be submitted as part of the verification process. It is estimated that approximately 10% of applicants will be requested to submit their passport for verification. The Minister bases her decision on requesting an original passport on the basis of the range of information available to her at that time in relation to the application. This includes security features or more robust data rules attaching to various passports available to her at that time in relation to the application.
The new scorecard approach means greater visibility for citizenship applicants on what is required to successfully vouch their identity and residency. This will bring clarity which should assist in reducing processing times.
Removing the requirement for new citizenship applicants to submit their original passport is a welcome change which facilitates continued mobility.
Our experienced Business Immigration team are available to assist with Irish naturalisation applications.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.