Part 2 of the Act amends the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 to clarify the procedure for citizenship ceremonies and to allow the Minister to dispense with the requirement to attend a ceremony and require the declaration to be taken in a different manner as specified by the Minister. This can be applied where it is considered appropriate in order to ensure that applications are dealt with efficiently.
The amendments clarify naturalisation requirements for minors. The Minister may grant a certificate where satisfied that the child was born in the state, is of good character, has had a period of one year’s continuous residence in the State immediately before the date of the application, and in the eight years prior has had a total residence in the State of two years. The good character requirement does not apply to a child under 14, save if they have been charged with and are awaiting trial for, or they are convicted of, a serious crime – murder, manslaughter, rape or aggravated sexual assault. Where the child is over 14, they are required to attend a citizenship ceremony to make the required declaration.
Amendments are also made to the calculation of continuous residency required for a reckonable period of residency. When calculating the one-year period of continuous residence, an applicant can be outside the state for a period not exceeding (in aggregate) of 70 days. Additional period(s), not exceeding 30 days in aggregate, can be spent outside the State in exceptional circumstances, which include family or personal circumstances, health requirements, employment requirements, voluntary humanitarian work, and other circumstances outside the control of the person.
Amendments to the International Protection Act 2015 reduce the period to avail of voluntary return for persons refused international protection from 30 days to 5 days.
The Act also amends the Immigration Act 1999 to exclude persons who have been convicted of a serious offence and persons about whom the Minister believes there are reasonable grounds to regard them as a danger to the security of the State from availing of voluntary return where they have a deportation order. There are also amendments to allow for notifications of an intention to deport under section 3 and deportation orders to be served electronically. Amendments to the Immigration Act 2004 and International Protection Act 2015 also allow for the delivery of notices electronically.