Meath Citizen Information Centres in Navan, Trim and Ashbourne have released the following details on how they can help those seeking information on immigration issues.

If you are your family have any immigration or citizenship queries   – Your local Citizens Information Centre is here to help and their services are free and confidential.

Citizens Information Centres (CICs) in Meath deal with a lot queries regarding Immigration and Citizenship. In particular we have been receiving a substantial amount of queries as a result of the recently announced changes to the Citizenship Application which now includes a scorecard points based approach as well as the newly launched Undocumented Regularisation Scheme

Scorecard Approach to Citizenship Applications

Significant changes are being introduced for customers regarding the number of proofs required to establish their identity and residency as part of the Citizenship application process. Since January, Citizenship has moved to a scorecard approach, which is intended to bring added clarity regarding what information applicants are required to provide to establish their identity and residence.

Applicants will be required to reach a score of 150 points in each of the years proof of residency is required. They do this by submitting proofs with a predetermined point value until they reach the required score of 150 points for each year of residency claimed.

With particular reference to Doctors employed in the HSE or Voluntary Hospitals, the provision of a “Medical Practitioner Employment History Summary” will be accepted as proof of residence.

The responsibility is on the applicant to provide sufficient proof of reckonable residence for the period of residence claimed on the application form and the scorecard approach will ensure applicants have clarity on what exactly is required when they submit their initial application. The Minister must be assured the applicant has been lawfully resident in the State for the relevant claimed period. Failure to provide sufficient proofs of residence with the application will result in the application being considered ineligible. The Minister reserves the right to request original passports from applicants at any stage in the process.(INIS)

Applicants for Citizenship should also note that since 1st January 2022, new applicant for citizenship [ will not be required to submit their original passport with the initial application; they can provide a colour copy of their entire passport (including the front and back covers). This colour copy must be witnessed by a solicitor and submitted with the application form.

Undocumented Regularisation Scheme

A new scheme to allow people who have no immigration status in Ireland to apply for legal residence opened for applications on 31 January 2022. The scheme is open for applications until 31 July 2022.

The scheme is for people who have been undocumented in Ireland for at least 4 years at the start of the scheme, or for at least 3 years for families with children under 18.

You apply online, upload documents to prove your identity and residence history, and pay an application fee. If your application is approved, you will get a Stamp 4 residence permission. You can apply just for yourself, or you can apply as a family. In addition, international protection applicants, who have been waiting for a decision for 2 years or more, can apply through a separate application process. You will be contacted by the Department of Justice with further details.

The application fee for single applications is €550; the application fee for family applications is €700. You are required to pay this application fee in full when you are submitting your online application form. Otherwise, your application will not be submitted. This application processing fee is non-refundable in all cases.

The Department of Justice have produced both documents and video clips as a help for would be applicants as well as a frequently asked questions (FAQ) guide.

Lorraine Walsh, Development Manager, North Leinster Citizens Information Service/Meath outlined that the service has been dealing with significant queries this month on the application process and the newly announced scheme and emphasised “(applicants)…do not be overwhelmed by the application process, we are here to help with every stage of the process and will refer clients to experts in this area if required”

Funded by the Citizens Information Board , the range of areas covered by Citizens Information Centres locally are extremely wide and varied including social welfare rights and entitlements and other social issues such as employment, health services, housing, education, family matters, justice, travel and consumer rights for which people need access to information.

A growing number of customers require in-depth assistance and CIS plays an important role in providing advocacy with, or on behalf of, those people who need it, particularly for those with disabilities, migrants, refugees, lone parents, the Travelling Community, prisoners, geographically isolated people and those who may not have access to digital resources. Basically, anyone working or living in Co. Meath who has an issue that needs addressing or is at a crossroads in their lives.

We are open for a drop-in service, Monday 10am – 12:30pm, Wednesday 2pm – 4:30pm and Friday 10am – 12:30pm. The remaining days will be used for pre-booked appointments with customers who have more complex requirements and queries.

For anyone needing impartial, confidential, non-judgemental and informed advice and support the CIS is here to help, throughout the pandemic and as we emerge from the pandemic. There are many ways to access our services. Our website www.citizensinformation.ie is packed full of helpful information.

For further information, to find out our opening hours, if you would like us to address a specific query or to book an appointment with a member of our team please contact Navan Citizens Information Centre on 0818 07 6150 / Ashbourne Citizens Information Centre 0818 07 6110. We are available from Monday to Friday and our services are free and confidential.