452. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice if there is a special rate of payment or grant which could be made available to pay for the Irish citizenship process for students or low-income families (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [60526/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): All fees payable under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, are kept under ongoing review by my Department. However, there is no provision for the discretionary waiver or reduction of fees, or for different fees to be applied.
The fees charged in respect of applications for a certificate of naturalisation are governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Regulations 2011 and have not increased in the last ten years. The standard certification fee is set at €950. By way of comparison, in the UK, the adult fee has increased from £756 to £1,330 during the same period.
The fee is charged in two parts. The current application fee is €175, payable when an application for naturalisation is lodged. I am informed that the introduction of the application fee had an immediate positive effect on the quality and completeness of applications, which is ultimately to the benefit of all applicants.
A certificate fee of €950 is payable to successful applicants when a certificate of naturalisation issues. A reduced fee of €200 applies in the case of an application made on behalf of a minor or in certain cases where the application is made by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen. In the case of recognised refugees and stateless persons, there is no certificate fee.
The standard fees payable by an applicant are designed to reflect the effort and cost involved in processing applications for a certificate of naturalisation which, given the benefits involved, is quite a detailed process. In addition, the overall fees enabled citizenship ceremonies to be introduced at no additional cost and to develop digital solutions to enhance and speed up the application process.
All non-EEA nationals currently residing in the State are required to pay an annual registration fee of €300. However, once citizenship is granted this registration fee no longer applies.