Written answers

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Citizenship Applications

Photo of James LawlessJames Lawless (Kildare North, Fianna Fail)
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208. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will examine the applications of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49203/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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My Department is responsible for citizenship by descent through the Foreign Births Register under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the processing time for FBR applications stood at 18 months due to an unprecedented surge in applications as a result of Brexit and the necessarily rigorous processing that applies to citizenship applications.

The applications referenced were registered on 31 March 2021, and are waiting to be processed. All documentation received is being stored in a secure environment.

Due to the pandemic, FBR staff have been reassigned to assist in the delivery of essential services. This has resulted in a pause in overall FBR processing. FBR staff have continued to provide an emergency service for Foreign Birth Registration in cases of exceptional urgency, such as expectant parents, or stateless persons. In cases of exceptional urgency FBR applicants may continue to contact the Passport Service directly.

The Passport Service is actively planning to resume processing FBR applications as soon as possible. My Department is committed to allocating further resources to assist with the high volume of applications, with a focus on reducing turnaround times to pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of 2021. In the medium term, changes to the FBR process to increase efficiencies and improve the customer experience will be delivered under the next phase of my Department's Passport Reform Programme.

The FBR team has been in contact with the applicants to update them on their applications. Further information regarding the resumption of FBR services will be made available in due course on the Department’s website.

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