Irish Citizenship: How to become an Irish National

Irish Citizenship

Irish identity has always been synonymous with friendliness, music, and fun. That’s why people around the world take such pride in their Irish roots, links, and heritage. But, who can actually claim Irish citizenship? 

In a post-Brexit world, an Irish passport may now be more valuable than ever. Finding out who can claim Irish citizenship is a complex and nuanced subject. Below you will find the facts laid out in a straightforward and understandable way. If you want to read more on any given topic just follow the links in the titles. 

To become an Irish citizen means that you are recognised as a national of Ireland, and a citizen of the European Union. As an Irish citizen you have rights and privileges, as well as certain duties and responsibilities, under the Irish Constitution. 

The main questions that arise on the subject of eligibility to Irish citizenship are: 
  • Am I eligible if I was born in Northern Ireland? 
  • Am I eligible through my ancestry? 
  • Am I eligible through adoption? 
  • Am I eligible through my marriage or civil partnership? 
  • What is naturalisation? 
  • Is dual citizenship recognised in Ireland?

Irish Citizenship

Northern Ireland

If you were born on the island of Ireland, including Northern Ireland, before 1 January 2005, you are entitled to become an Irish citizen. 

If you were born on the island of Ireland on or after 1 January 2005, your eligibility depends on your parent’s citizenship at the time of your birth and the residency history of your parents before your birth. 

Irish Citizenship

Ancestry

There are numerous circumstances by which Irish citizenship is granted through birth or descent. Here are the subtleties to the issue unraveled: 

Irish Citizen Parent

If you were born on the island of Ireland to a parent who is recognised as an Irish citizen, you are entitled to become an Irish citizen. 

If you were born outside of Ireland to a parent who was recognised as an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you are entitled to become an Irish citizen. 

Foreign National Parent 

If you were born on or after 1 January 2005 to British parents who are entitled to live in Northern Ireland or the Irish State without restriction, you are entitled to Irish citizenship, whether you were born on the island of Ireland or elsewhere. 

If you were born on or after 1 January 2005 to other foreign national parents in Ireland, you are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship. Evidence of a genuine link to Ireland must be shown by one of the parents which takes the form of the parent having three out of the previous four years reckonable residence in Ireland immediately before the birth of the child. With this evidence the child will be entitled to Irish citizenship. 

To claim Irish citizenship, you must register your birth in the Foreign Births Register.

Refugee Status Parent

A child born in Ireland to a parent with refugee status is also automatically entitled to Irish citizenship. 

Irish Citizen Grandparent & Other Irish Citizen Ancestors

If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, but neither of your parents were born in Ireland, you may become an Irish citizen. 

Unless at least one parent or Irish-born grandparent was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth you cannot claim Irish citizenship on the basis of extended ancestry. This means Irish relations such as cousins, aunts or uncles do not grant you Irish citizenship. 

Irish Citizenship

Adoption 

A non-Irish citizen child who is adopted by an Irish citizen, or a couple where either spouse is an Irish citizen, is entitled to Irish citizenship. 

If an Irish citizen living abroad adopts a child abroad and wishes for them to have Irish citizenship, they need to apply for the adoption to be entered in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions. When it is registered, the adoption has the same legal status as an adoption made in the state of Ireland. 

If an Irish citizen living in Ireland adopts a child from abroad, immigration clearance must be obtained from the Department of Justice and Equality before the child may enter the state. This is known as intercountry adoption, and more information is available at the Adoption Authority of Ireland

Irish Citizenship

Marriage/civil partnership

If you are a foreign national who is the spouse/civil partner of an Irish Citizen you are eligible to become an Irish citizen if you meet certain conditions. You may also apply for citizenship through naturalisation, a process explained below, as there are more favourable residence requirements for this. 

The practical conditions for applying for Irish Citizenship are: 
  • Your marriage/civil partnership must be recognised as valid under Irish law, and have the duration of at least three years at the time of your application. 
  • You must have one year of continuous reckonable residence in Ireland immediately before the date of your application. Furthermore, during the four years prior, you must have a total of two years of reckonable residence in Ireland. In total, you must have three years of reckonable residence in Ireland out of the last five. 
  • You and your spouse/civil partner must live together as a married couple/civil partners.
  • You must intend to continue to live on the island of Ireland and make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

So, what’s reckonable residence?

This is the period of lawful residence in Ireland of an individual. This calculation of time  excludes certain permissions to enter Ireland, such as student visas and while awaiting asylum status. 

Documents confirming reckonable residence for citizens of countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and for those of Non-EEA countries differ:

EEA Nationals

All the legal time spent in Ireland by an EEA or Swiss Citizen is reckonable for naturalisation purposes. However, because their passports do not receive immigration permission stamps, they must send various documentation along with their application to prove their residence in Ireland. 

Non-EEA Nationals

For non-EEA or Swiss citizens, registration with immigration is the evidence of legal residence, which meets the requirements of naturalisation. 

Use the online residency calculator to check if you meet the naturalisation residency conditions.

Irish Citizenship

Naturalisation 

This is the process by which a foreign national, living in Ireland for a certain amount of time, may apply to become an Irish citizen. 

The decision is made at the total discretion of the Minister for Justice and Equality who has the power to waive certain conditions for applicants in select circumstances. 

Practical conditions for applying for naturalisation are: 
  • You must be 18 years or older. If you are under 18, and are married, you can apply for naturalisation. If you are applying on behalf of a minor, you can find more information from the website of the  Immigration Service Delivery
  • You must disclose all details of your criminal record truthfully in your application form. 
  • You must have one year of continuous reckonable residence in Ireland immediately before the date of your application. Furthermore, during the eight years before that you must have a total of four years of reckonable residence in Ireland. Altogether you must have five years of reckonable residence in Ireland out of the past nine years. Use the online residency calculator to calculate your reckonable residence. 
  • You must intend to continue to live on the island of Ireland and make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

The application fee for naturalisation is €175. Upon the issue of a certificate of naturalisation you will be required to pay a further fee of €950. After this fee has been paid you will be invited to a citizenship ceremony where you will be granted your certificate. 

Irish Citizenship

Dual citizenship 

Dual citizenship is recognised in Ireland. This means the State of Ireland does not require you to renounce citizenship of another country to hold Irish citizenship. So, it is possible to possess a passport for another country while retaining an Irish passport. However, certain countries do not recognise dual citizenship. Be sure to check with the authorities of the other country to ensure your rights remain protected. 

 

About the author

Nicholas Lane

Student of English and French. Born in Essex, bred in Donegal, buttered in Dublin. Writer with Babylon Radio and UCD Tribune. Radio presenter with UCD Belfield FM.

3comments

Leave a comment: