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Irish Citizenship by Descent

Irish citizenship by descent is a pathway to becoming an Irish citizen for those who have Irish ancestry, either through their parents, grandparents, or other specific circumstances. To qualify for Irish citizenship by descent, one must meet certain eligibility criteria. These criteria can vary depending on the specific route taken to claim citizenship.

Experienced advisors at IAS are ready to assist you at every step of your journey towards Irish citizenship by descent. Call us today at 44 (0)333 305 9375.

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS Ireland Immigration Lawyers

    When it comes to obtaining an Ireland visa or permit, IAS Ireland immigration lawyers are well-equipped to help you.

    With IAS’ track record of successfully helping clients visit or immigrate to Ireland successfully, we can help you achieve your goal.

    Our dedicated immigration lawyers provide our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach. With IAS, you enjoy:

    Compassionate support from an experienced immigration lawyer dedicated to your success

    Support in gathering supporting documents and completing a high-quality application.

    Confidence that your case is being handled by an experienced team.

    In-house document checks done by lawyers who are well-versed in Ireland immigration matters.

    Regardless of what your Ireland immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    Who qualifies for Irish citizenship by descent?

    If you or your parents were born on the island of Ireland before 2005, you are an Irish citizen, and you can apply for an Irish passport without making an application for citizenship. However, if you or your parents were born on the island of Ireland on or after 1 January 2005, your eligibility for Irish citizenship is contingent upon the citizenship status of your parents at the time of your birth and the residency history of one of the parents before your birth.

    Eligibility criteria for claiming Irish citizenship by Descent

    Born in Ireland

    If you were born in Ireland, you automatically acquire Irish citizenship, regardless of your parents’ nationality. For instance, you were born in Dublin, Ireland, and are an Irish citizen by birthright.

    Born on the Island of Ireland before 2005

    If you or your parents were born on the island of Ireland before 2005, you are an Irish citizen. For example, your father was born in Belfast in 1980, and you were born in England. You are eligible for Irish citizenship because your father was born in Northern Ireland.

    Born on the Island of Ireland on or after 1 January 2005

    Your right to Irish citizenship depends on your parents’ citizenship at the time of your birth and one of your parents’ residency history before your birth. If your parents legally resident in the island of Ireland for 3 out of 4 years immediately prior to your birth. For example, your parents, both non-Irish citizens, were living in Ireland for five years before your birth in 2010. You are eligible for Irish citizenship based on residency history.

    Irish Citizenship When Born Abroad to Irish Citizen Parents

    You are eligible if one or both of your parents were Irish citizens at the time of your birth. For instance, If your mother was an Irish citizen when you were born abroad, you qualify for Irish citizenship by descent.

    Irish Citizen Parent Born Outside Ireland

    If you have a parent who was born outside Ireland but is an Irish citizen by birth or descent, you may qualify for Irish citizenship. For instance, your father was born in the United Kingdom to Irish parents, making him an Irish citizen by descent. You can claim Irish citizenship through him.

    Citizenship through Descent from an Irish Grandparent

    You can claim Irish citizenship if you have an Irish grandparent. For instance, your maternal grandmother was born in Ireland. You are eligible to apply for Irish citizenship by descent through your maternal line. Bur first you must register in the Foreign Births Register.

    Citizenship by Descent from an Irish Great Grandparent

    You may eligible for Irish citizenship from an Irish great grandparent even if you and your parent born outside Ireland. However, your parent must had registered with the Foreign Births Register by the time of your birth.

    You cannot claim Irish citizenship if none of your parents or grandparents was an Irish citizen when you born. Also, you cannot claim Irish citizenship for your non-immediate relation, like a cousin, uncle or aunt, is an Irish citizen. However, you can be granted Irish citizenship based on adoption at the minister’s discretion.

    Irish Citizenship through Adoption

    If you’ve been legally adopted by Irish citizens, you can claim Irish citizenship. For example, you were adopted as a child by an Irish couple living in the United States, making you eligible for Irish citizenship through adoption.

    Secure your Irish Citizenship by descent today. Contact our team of experts for assistance.

    Documentation and Application Process

    The documentation and application processes for individuals who meet the requirements for Irish citizenship through descent can vary depending on the specific route they are taking. Here, we’ll provide a general overview of the steps involved:

    • Determine Your Eligibility: Before starting the application process, ensure that you meet the specific eligibility criteria for the route you are taking to claim Irish citizenship by descent. This may involve confirming your or your parents’ Irish citizenship status, birthplaces, and other relevant factors.
    • Gather Required Documents: Collect all the necessary documentation to support your application. The specific documents you need will depend on your unique circumstances and the route you are using. Commonly required documents may include:
      • Birth certificates (yours and, if applicable, your parents’ and grandparents’).
      • Marriage certificates.
      • Passport copies.
      • Proof of residency history (if required).
      • Adoption papers (for those claiming citizenship through adoption).
      • Any additional documents requested by the Irish authorities.
    • Complete Application Forms: Obtain the appropriate application forms for claiming Irish citizenship through descent. You can typically find these forms on the website of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or at the nearest Irish embassy or consulate. Carefully fill out the forms, providing accurate and complete information.

    How to get an Irish citizenship by descent from UK

    To obtain Irish citizenship by descent from the UK, you must gather essential documents, including your birth certificate, your Irish-born grandparent or parent’s birth certificate, marriage certificates if applicable, proof of your grandparent or parent’s Irish citizenship, and your passport. Ensure your Irish grandparent or parent met the citizenship criteria at your birth. Choose the application route, either through the Irish embassy/consulate in the UK or directly in Ireland.

    Complete the application form, submit it with the required documents, and pay the application fee. Await processing, which may take several months, and be prepared for a potential interview. Once approved, you can apply for an Irish passport to fully enjoy the privileges of Irish citizenship. Verify current requirements with the Irish authorities before applying.

    Cost of Irish citizenship by Descent Application

    The cost of applying for Irish citizenship by descent can vary depending on several factors, including the specific route you’re taking, where you apply, and any additional services you may require. The primary cost associated with the application is the application fee itself. As of September 2023, the fee for an adult Irish citizenship application is €175.

    Our top immigration lawyers can assist you in obtaining your Irish Citizenship by descent without hassle. Contact us today.

    Foreign Birth Registration


    Foreign Birth Registration is a vital process for individuals born outside of Ireland who wish to claim Irish citizenship by descent. This procedure allows those with Irish ancestry to officially register as Irish citizens, providing them with the rights, privileges, and opportunities that come with Irish citizenship. In this section, we will delve into the process of Foreign Birth Registration, including step-by-step instructions and the necessary requirements.

    The Process of Foreign Birth Registration

    Foreign Birth Registration involves a series of steps that require careful attention to detail. Here’s a comprehensive guide:

    1. Determine Eligibility: Before beginning the FBR process, it’s crucial to confirm your eligibility. To qualify, you must be able to prove that you have an Irish-born grandparent or parent who was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth. This typically requires providing detailed documentation, including birth certificates and other relevant records.
    2. Gather Required Documentation: To initiate the FBR process, you’ll need to collect various documents, which can include but are not limited to:
    • Your Birth Certificate: Your birth certificate, issued by the relevant authorities in your country of birth, is essential to prove your identity and place of birth.
    • Parent’s or Grandparent’s Irish Documents: To establish the Irish connection, you will need documents such as your parent’s or grandparent’s birth certificate, Irish passport, or other proof of their Irish citizenship.
    • Marriage and Divorce Certificates: In some cases, you may be required to provide marriage and divorce certificates for your parents or grandparents to prove the lineage.
    1. Obtain Translations and Apostilles: If your documents are not in English or Irish, you will need to have them translated by a certified translator. Additionally, some countries require an apostille or equivalent certification to verify the authenticity of foreign documents.
    2. Submit Your Application: Prepare a complete application package, including all required documents, translations, and any fees. Ensure that your application is filled out accurately and that all documents are in order.
    3. Await Processing: After submitting your application, you will need to wait for the Irish authorities to process your request. The processing time can vary, so it’s a good idea to inquire about the estimated wait time when submitting your application.
    4. Receive Confirmation: Once your Foreign Birth Registration is approved, you will receive a certificate confirming your Irish citizenship. This certificate is a crucial document that you can use to obtain an Irish passport and access various rights and benefits associated with Irish citizenship.
    5. Apply for an Irish Passport: With your Foreign Birth Registration certificate in hand, you can apply for an Irish passport. An Irish passport allows you to travel as an Irish citizen and provides additional proof of your Irish nationality.

    Born in Ireland

    If you are born in Ireland, you automatically acquire Irish citizenship under the principle of jus soli, granting you a range of rights and privileges. These include the ability to apply for an Irish passport, which provides visa-free access to various countries and consular assistance abroad. As an Irish citizen, you have access to Ireland’s public healthcare and education systems, can participate in national and local elections once you reach the voting age, and enjoy equal employment opportunities within the country.

    Additionally, you are entitled to the protection of Irish law and the Irish Constitution, ensuring access to fair trials and legal services. While no further registration is required to confirm your citizenship, you can obtain official documentation such as an Irish passport or Citizenship Certificate if needed for various purposes.

    Irish citizenship when you are born abroad

    Irish citizenship when born abroad is granted to individuals who can establish a direct lineage to an Irish citizen parent. To qualify, the individual must provide evidence of their Irish parent’s citizenship and their own relationship to that parent, typically through birth certificates and marriage certificates. Additionally, the Irish citizen parent should have registered the birth with the Irish authorities or obtained a foreign birth registration for the child.

    The application process involves submitting these documents to the relevant Irish authorities, such as the Irish embassy or consulate in their country of residence. Once the documentation is verified, and eligibility is confirmed, the individual can obtain Irish citizenship, providing them with the rights and privileges associated with being an Irish citizen.

    Applying for Irish Citizenship by descent may be challenging. Contact our legal experts for guidance and assistance today.

    Irish citizen parent born outside Ireland

    Irish citizenship can be claimed by individuals who have an Irish citizen parent born outside of Ireland. To be eligible, one must provide sufficient documentation to establish their parent’s Irish citizenship, which typically includes the parent’s birth certificate and any relevant naturalization documents if applicable. Additionally, the applicant needs to prove their relationship to the Irish citizen parent through birth certificates or other legal records.

    The guidance for this process involves gathering all necessary documentation, completing the relevant application forms, and submitting them to the appropriate authorities, typically the Irish embassy or consulate.

    Citizenship through descent from Irish grandparent

    Individuals seeking Irish citizenship through descent from an Irish grandparent must meet specific requirements and follow a precise application process. To qualify, the applicant’s grandparent must have been born on the island of Ireland, and documentary evidence such as the grandparent’s birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable) must be provided. Additionally, the applicant must demonstrate a genuine link to Irish culture, including language or cultural ties.

    The application process typically involves submitting these documents to the Irish embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of residence. The processing time can vary, so it’s advisable to check with the relevant authorities for the most current estimates and requirements to claim Irish citizenship through descent from an Irish grandparent.

    Irish citizenship through adoption

    Irish citizenship through adoption allows individuals who have been adopted by Irish citizens to claim Irish citizenship. To qualify, the adoptive parents must be Irish citizens, and the adoption must be legally recognized in Ireland. The process typically involves submitting an application to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, along with supporting documents such as the adoption order, proof of the adoptive parents’ Irish citizenship, and the applicant’s birth certificate.

    Applicants must also demonstrate a genuine and ongoing relationship with their adoptive parents. Once approved, individuals will receive Irish citizenship, granting them the same rights and privileges as any other Irish citizen.

    How long does it take to get Irish citizenship by descent?

    The timeline for obtaining Irish citizenship by descent can vary depending on several factors. For foreign birth registration, it typically takes several months to process the application, ranging from 6 to 12 months or more, depending on the volume of applications and the completeness of the submitted documentation. Irish passport applications, which are often the final step after citizenship approval, usually take approximately 4 to 6 weeks for standard processing, while expedited services may shorten this to 2 to 3 weeks.

    Citizenship applications, including those based on descent, can take several months to over a year from submission to decision, primarily influenced by factors such as application complexity and governmental processing times.

    Are you aware that you may be eligible for Irish Citizenship through adoption? Verify your qualifications today by reaching out to us.

    How IAS Can Help

    For tailored support with your Irish Citizenship by Descent application, turn to IAS today. Our team of dedicated experts is committed to assisting you in realising your objectives, whether for personal or business reasons, while efficiently navigating the intricacies of the UK immigration system.

    We offer a wide range of services, from application guidance and document preparation to compliance assurance and ongoing support. Feel free to reach out to us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to arrange a consultation and embark on your journey towards achieving your immigration goals with confidence.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    In most cases, Irish citizenship by descent doesn’t require you to renounce your original citizenship. However, it’s essential to check your home country’s rules regarding dual citizenship

    No, there is no specific age limit for claiming Irish citizenship by descent. You can apply at any age, but certain routes may have additional requirements for minors

    Irish citizens enjoy rights and privileges, including the ability to live, work, and study in Ireland and other EU countries. They can also vote in Irish elections and obtain an Irish passport.

    Yes, you may qualify for Irish citizenship through your Irish-born grandparents

    Yes, as an Irish citizen, you have the right to work and reside in any European Union (EU) member state, making it easier to explore employment opportunities within the EU.

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