New legislation relaxes requirements for naturalisation and removes option to leave voluntarily for deportees with serious offence convictions

04 Aug 2023


The Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023, which commenced on 2 August 2023, contains a range of amendments and updates to law related to Irish nationality and citizenship, civil liability, bankruptcy, legal services, immigration, international protection, and more.

Regarding citizenship and migration, the Act makes a number of significant changes to existing law and procedures.

Children born in Ireland who do not have an automatic right to citizenship were previously required to reside in Ireland for a minimum of 5 years before applying for citizenship. Under the Act, this requirement has been reduced to 3 years, but the law stipulates that the minor must have a period of one year’s continuous residence in Ireland immediately prior to the date of their application, and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence amounting to two years.

All applicants for citizenship, including minors, are now permitted to be outside of Ireland for a period totaling 70 days for the year of continuous residence required prior to their application for citizenship This is an increase from the previous 6 weeks permitted. In addition, a further 30 days may be permitted in exceptional circumstances related to family or personal circumstances, health of the applicant or a family member, employment or study requirements, voluntary service for humanitarian purposes, or other circumstances beyond the control of the applicant. This clarifies the exceptional circumstances that were previously only in internal policy. For the other years of residency required for citizenship applications, the rules remain the same and the continuous residency requirement does not apply. 

The Act also makes changes to deportation procedures in that individuals who have been convicted of serious offences or for whom the Minister has reasonable grounds to consider them a danger to the security of the State can be deported without an option to leave the State voluntarily. This would mean that those individuals are prevented from returning to Ireland in the future.

As a part of broader modernisation efforts, this Act includes an amendment to the Immigration Act 1999 and the International Protection Act 2015 to allow documents related to immigration decisions, including deportation orders, to be delivered electronically rather than solely by post.