Minister proposes shorter residency for children to become Irish citizens

ireland
Minister Proposes Shorter Residency For Children To Become Irish Citizens
Helen McEntee is set to table a Bill seeking to reduce the current residency requirement for children. Photo: PA Images.
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Children born in Ireland who are not entitled to citizenship at birth could secure it earlier due to a reduced residency requirement, under new legislation brought forward by the Minister for Justice.

Helen McEntee is set to table a Bill seeking to reduce the current residency requirement for children not entitled to citizenship because their parents are not Irish citizens, or because they do not meet the three year residency requirement prior to the birth.

Under the proposed change, children will be required to be resident in the State for three years, rather than the current five, to become an Irish citizen.

At present, a child must be resident in Ireland for four of the previous eight years before they can become a citizen, in addition to the requirement to have one year’s continuous residence in the State prior to the date of their application.

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Under the new Bill, the number of years a minor must be resident in Ireland will now be two years out of the previous eight, in addition to the requirement to have one year’s continuous residence immediately prior to their citizenship application.

This amendment provides increased security for children

“It is my hope that reducing the amount of time children of non-Irish nationals born in Ireland have to wait before being eligible for citizenship will provide comfort and reassurance to many families across the country,” Minister McEntee said.

“This amendment provides increased security for children where a parent subsequently falls out of permission, as the child will be entitled to Irish citizenship and will therefore be an EU citizen with the right to remain in the State with a non-EEA national guardian or parent.

“However, it will not broaden the categories of children who are entitled to citizenship and this amendment will only apply to the children of those parents who are legally resident in the State.”

Older children

The proposed change emerged from discussions between Minister McEntee and Labour Senator Ivana Bacik, and will be contained in the upcoming Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

Children born in Ireland to non-national parents who have three years prior residency will continue to be Irish citizens from birth.

Minister McEntee has also said she will explore if child agency Tusla could apply for citizenship on behalf of older children in its care.

The Minister said this would be explored “with careful consideration of any implications for children in particular, for example, if a child has citizenship of another country that does not permit dual citizenship.”

The Minister expects to meet with the Minister for Children regarding the matter in the coming weeks.

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