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Irish Citizenship by Birth or Descent

If you were born in Ireland or one of your parents was Irish at the time of your birth, you may be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth. You may also be eligible for citizenship by ancestry if your grandparent(s) was Irish.

Call us today on 0333 305 9375 to learn more on how we can help you obtain Irish citizenship and enjoy its full benefits.

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    Who is eligible for Irish citizenship by birth or descent?

    You may be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth or through descent if you were born in Ireland or have ancestry ties to the country. For instance, if any of your parents or grandparents was born in Ireland.

    It is worth noting, however, that being born in Ireland doesn’t automatically qualify you for citizenship by birth or descent.

    Citizenship by birth or descent is a complex area of Irish immigration law. It has various routes and requirements that apply to individuals differently based on the circumstances and time of their birth.

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    Different routes to Irish citizenship by birth or descent

    You could be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth or descent through one of the following routes.

    Irish citizenship by birth

    If you were born on or before January 1, 2005, on the island of Ireland, you are automatically eligible for Irish citizenship.

    Also, those who were born in Ireland on or after January 1, 2005, and one of their parents was an Irish citizen at the time of their birth are eligible for citizenship by birth.

    In addition, if a child was born on the island of Ireland on or after January 1, 2005, and one of their parents is British or holds legal permission to reside either in Ireland or Northern Ireland, they will be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth.

    Irish citizenship for children of refugees

    If a child was born in Ireland and one of their parents has approved refugee status, the child will be eligible for Irish citizenship.

    irish citizens

    Who is not eligible for Irish citizenship by birth?

    If you were born in Ireland to foreign national parents on or before January 1, 2005, to foreign national parents, you would not be eligible for citizenship by birth.

    In this case, one of your parents will need to demonstrate with proof that they have a genuine tie to Ireland in order for you to be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth.

    For instance, if one of your parents lived in Ireland for up to three years of the previous four years immediately prior to your birth, this will be counted as reckonable residence and qualify as a genuine link to Ireland. Hence, you will be eligible for Irish citizenship.

    Can I claim Irish citizenship by descent?

    You could be eligible to claim Irish citizenship by birth even if you weren’t born in Ireland or haven’t spent time in Ireland. This is simply known as Irish citizenship by descent.

    You can submit an application to claim Irish citizenship via this route if you have a qualifying link to Ireland through any of your parents or grandparents. This route is popular and relatively more straightforward when compared to citizenship by birth or by naturalisation.

    Different routes towards Irish citizenship by descent

    If one of your parents was born in Ireland and was Irish at the time of your birth, you are eligible for Irish citizenship even if you were not born in Ireland.

    If the parent was deceased when you were born but would have been an Irish citizen if they were alive, then you are still eligible for Irish citizenship by descent.

    In all of the above scenarios, your eligibility for citizenship stands regardless of whether your parents were married or not.

    Irish citizenship through ancestry or grandparents

    If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, you will be eligible for Irish citizenship by descent.

    Irish citizenship through adoption

    If a non-Irish child is adopted by an Irish citizen or a couple where either spouse is Irish, the child will be eligible for Irish citizenship.

    What is Foreign Births Register?

    If you are applying for Irish citizenship by descent, you will have to register your birth on Foreign Births Register.

    If one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth or one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, you will have to register your birth on Foreign Births Register before starting your Irish citizenship by descent application.

    You will have to provide the following documents to register your birth:

    • Original birth certificate which shows parent’s details
    • Two proofs of address which are not photocopies
    • Certified photocopy of official and current state-issued identification
    • Four passport-sized photographs

    If you are applying as a guardian on behalf of a child to whom you are not a parent, you will have to include proof of guardianship to complete the application.

    You are also required to provide documents indicating the exact family tie on which the person’s claim for citizenship is based – whether the person is a parent or grandparent.

    The documents to provide are:

    • Original birth certificate
    • Change of name document (if applicable)
    • Original marriage certificate
    • Certified photocopy of current state-issued identification, or a certified copy of death certificate if the person is deceased

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on your Irish Citizenship by Birth case. Contact Us

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      Foreign Births Register Application Form

      After gathering all those required documents, you will need to complete the application form.

      Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we are dedicated to helping you through the entire Foreign Births registration process. One of our highly experienced immigration lawyers will work with you to complete the application to the very highest of standards.

      You can call us now on 0333 305 9375 to find out more.

      What is the application fee for a Foreign Births Register?

      Upon the completion of your application form, you will be required to pay the application fee of €278 for adults and €158 for those who are under 18.

      What does it mean to have your application form witnessed?

      It is an important requirement of the Foreign Births Register application that your application is witnessed by an appropriate individual who is personally known to you but not a relation.

      You must sign a printed copy of the application form in front of your witness.

      The witness will have to do the following:

      • Stamp the form with an official stamp. If the witness does not have a stamp, they can provide a business card.
      • Certify that the copy of the state identification is a true copy
      • Sign and verify two of the 4 passport-sized photographs

      Who qualifies to stand as an appropriate witness?

      • The witness must be an active practitioner of one of the following professions:
      • Medical Doctor
      • Physiotherapist
      • Nurse
      • Pharmacist
      • Speech Therapist
      • Dentist
      • Lawyer

      Peace Commissioner

      • Notary Public/ Commissioner for Oaths
      • Bank Manager or Assistant Bank Manager or Credit Union Manager or Assistant Manager
      • Accountant
      • Elected Public Representative
      • Vet
      • Garda Síochána/ Police Officer

      Manager/ Montessori Teacher/ Lecturer

      Member of Clergy

      • Teacher/School Principal/ Vice Principal/ School Secretary/ Pre-school
      • Chartered Engineer

      How long does the Foreign Birth Register application take to process?

      Foreign Births Register application is usually processed within six months. However, in some cases, it may take up to 12 months for the application to be processed.

      What can I do if my application is refused?

      If your Foreign Births Register application is refused, you will be sent a letter explaining the reasons for the refusal.

      If you provide all the required supporting documents, you have the right to appeal the decision. You must write an appeal letter within six weeks of the date of the refusal.

      If you would like any professional help with your appeal letter, you can contact us on 0333 305 9375.

      Can I apply for an Irish passport after my birth is registered in the Foreign Births Register?

      Once you have been officially registered into the Foreign Births Register, you will be able to apply for an Irish passport, as long as you can meet all necessary requirements.

      If you are eligible for Irish citizenship by birth, you will not have to register the birth with the Foreign Births Register and will be able to apply for an Irish passport automatically.

      If you have any questions about your Irish Citizenship by Birth application, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  No. You can only be eligible for Irish citizenship by descent as far back as your grandparents. Therefore, if your great grandfather or great grandmother was Irish, but neither of your grandparents or parents is/was Irish, you are not eligible for Irish citizenship by descent.

                  If either of your parents was a UK citizen at the time of your birth and you were born in Ireland, you are eligible for Irish citizenship.

                  If you were born in Ireland and you are not entitled to citizenship of any other country, you are eligible for Irish citizenship by birth.