- What is Irish citizenship through marriage?
- Who is eligible for Irish citizenship through marriage?
- What are the citizenship via marriage/ civil partnership key requirements?
- What is the application process like?
- What documents are required in the citizenship application?
- What is reckonable residence?
- How long does it take to process an application for citizenship?
- How do I pass the good character test?
- Can I get an Irish passport through marriage?
- What are the required documents?
- What happens if I separate from my partner?
- How much does it cost to apply?
- How can IAS help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Irish citizenship through marriage?
Non-EEA overseas nationals married to Irish citizens can become Irish Citizens through marriage. However, Irish citizenship isn’t an automatic right since there are various criteria that you have to meet to become eligible for citizenship. Both of you must correctly fill out the declarations stated at the back section of the naturalisation form to get Irish citizenship.
Individuals married to Irish citizens for a minimum of three years are eligible to apply to become Irish citizens by marriage. However, the individuals have to pass a residency requirement to prove that they have lived in Ireland for three of their five years before submitting their application.
This isn’t an application for citizenship by descent rather an application for naturalisation, which any other foreign national looking to get Irish citizenship would undergo after residing in Ireland for the stipulated period. The process is different (and shorter) than citizenship by naturalisation because it factors in lots of other information.
The factored information includes the purpose for residency, other ties relating to Irish citizens, and family member citizenship. The ministry also considers the applicant’s character and financial status.
The ministry of foreign affairs could waive the required length of residency based on letters of support or a petition from churches or people in government. That said, there haven’t been any residency requirements that have been completely waived concerning the possibilities mentioned above.
Who is eligible for Irish citizenship through marriage?
Individuals may be entitled to becoming Irish citizens by marrying or committing to a civil partnership with an Irish citizen. To do this, you should have been married to your spouse (an Irish citizen) for three years and hold a minimum of three years of reckonable residence in the country.
That said, the Minister for Justice and Equality decides who should and shouldn’t be granted Irish citizenship by naturalisation at their discretion. As mentioned before, the procedure is quite similar to citizenship by naturalisation (required for people looking to move to Ireland permanently). The primary difference is that married couples can do it in three years instead of five.
However, you should note that you will be awarded citizenship if you meet certain criteria. For instance, you’ll have to have strong ties to the Irish state, meet a combination of good behaviour, and meet other eligibility criteria as mentioned in the subsequent section.
If you are applying to become an Irish citizen through marriage, you can get in touch with our immigration lawyers for expert advice and support. You can reach us through the phone or by online video call.
What are the citizenship via marriage/civil partnership key requirements?
To apply for Irish citizenship through civil partnership or marriage, applicants should ensure that they meet all eligibility prerequisites. Failure to do so could affect the applicant’s eligibility, effectively disqualifying their application. Note that providing wrong information (of any form) will also result in automatic disqualification. The key requirements include:
Applicants must be 18 or over.
Most countries recognise people aged 18 as adults and can make adult decisions. Thus, Ireland requires applicants for Irish citizenship via marriage to be at least 18 years old or older to be eligible for consideration.
Applicants should be married or committed to a civil partnership.
Individuals seeking Irish citizenship should already be married to their spouse or be in a civil partnership recognised under Irish law. Failure to certify this key requirement negatively impacts your eligibility.
Be able to pass three years of reckonable residence.
Reckonable residence refers to the period lived in Ireland with the primary purpose of becoming eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalisation. Studying or claiming asylum in Ireland isn’t counted as reckonable residence. You should have the correct information and documents to prove your reckonable residence.
The minister often waives two years from the five-year reckonable residence, which leaves three years; however, this is done at their discretion and shouldn’t be counted on. The three years should include one year of continuous residence in Ireland right before applying for Irish citizenship.
Applicants must be cohabiting with their spouses.
Applicants looking to apply for Irish citizenship should already cohabitate with their spouses. Cohabiting together as civil partners or a married couple helps prove that your marriage is real and that you seek citizenship for the right reasons.
You’ll be asked to provide physical evidence, which may include receipts, bank statements, or another form of paper trail that proves you and your partner live together. Ensure that you store all forms of documents that will help you prove that you live together with your spouse.
Prove that you are of ‘good character
This requirement helps prove that individuals moving to Ireland don’t have a criminal or undesirable immigration history. The Irish hate deception and may deport deceptive individuals from the state altogether. Thus, you must remain honest throughout your application and ensure that you have a clean criminal record before applying for citizenship.
Plan to keep living in Ireland
Individuals applying for Irish citizenship must pledge their loyalty to the state and fidelity to the nation. The declaration states that the individual shall respect Ireland’s freedoms, rights, and laws. Ireland accepts dual citizenship; however, some rules dictate how and when the authorities may revoke your dual citizenship.
Plus, you should be aware that if you obtain Irish citizenship but stay out of the country for seven years without filing a form with the consulate, then there is a chance that you may lose your citizenship.
Keep the registration and immigration permission updated.
Individuals applying for Irish citizenship should ensure there aren’t any gaps between their registration and immigration permission. Any gaps between the documents could be cause for ineligibility.
What is the application process like?
Applying for citizenship through a civil partnership or marriage is quite similar to applying for citizenship through naturalisation. Applicants must fill out the form 8 immigration form assessed by the Irish Minister for Justice and Equality. However, individuals must prove that they are a non-visa-required national before applying.
Depending on the origin of birth, some individuals do not require a visa to live in Ireland. In such cases, non-visa nationals can take their civil partnership/ marriage certificates and their partner’s (Irish) passport to the local GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau) ‘s registration office.
However, the application for Irish citizenship is a bit complex for individuals who aren’t members of the EU because of the number of documents that must be submitted and assessed correctly to support their claim. Entrusting your application process to the Immigration Advice Service helps make the process less bumpy.
You will be assigned an immigration lawyer who’ll guide you through the entire application procedure if you choose our unique application process. The lawyers have lots of experience handling immigration matters, making them best suited to handle your case.
What documents are required in the citizenship application?
Any immigration application requires (at some point) documents that support an applicant’s claim. Applicants seeking Irish citizenship by marriage must submit various documents to support the claim of being married or in a civil partnership. The documents required to support the claim for Irish citizenship through marriage include:
An original passport and a birth certificate
These documents are used to ascertain the applicant’s identity and nationality. Failure to provide these documents may disqualify you from getting Irish citizenship and be grounds for legal action if you live in Ireland illegally.
A civil partnership or marriage certificate
A civil partnership or marriage certificate is meant to support the claim that the individual seeking citizenship through marriage is in a legally binding contract with an Irish citizen as recognised by Irish law.
Naturalisation certification or birth certificate of the Irish partner
This document is used to prove the Irish partner’s identity and ascertain who they claim to be. Generally, these documents are needed to prove that the couple is who they claim to be and have the correct documentation to back it up.
In addition, the partners should also provide sufficient evidence proving that they live together (as a couple). This is done to prevent cases where individuals get involved in sham marriages with the sole purpose of acquiring Irish citizenship.
This evidence may include a portfolio of bank statements and payslips showing regular utility bills and an affidavit. The documents are meant to certify the immigration office regarding the partnership or even marriage’s genuineness.
Applicants should also prove that they are of ‘good character’ and have been residents in Ireland for a minimum of three years out of the five, i.e., reckonable residences.
What is reckonable residence?
Individuals hoping to get permanent residency in Ireland must accumulate ‘reckonable residence’ (which is usually five years) before making an application. This rule also applies to individuals seeking Irish citizenship by civil partnership or marriage.
However, individuals applying for Irish citizenship through a civil partnership or marriage (having shown a strong commitment and dedication to becoming an Irish citizen) are allowed a shorter ‘reckonable residence’ period, i.e., three years.
Normally, applicants of Irish citizenship should have lived in Ireland for five years minimum to become eligible. Individuals formally partnered or married to an Irish citizen can apply for citizenship with a three-year “reckonable residence,’ instead of five.
You should note that while the applicant should have a three-year reckonable residence, they should have lived (and remained) in Ireland for the entire final year before applying for citizenship. Plus, they must have amassed a cumulative two-year reckonable residence in the four years before the final year.
Remember that there are circumstances where staying in Ireland doesn’t count as reckonable residence. Among them are living in Ireland illegally, visiting Ireland for short-term purposes, living in Ireland while seeking refugee status, etc.
How long does it take to process an application for citizenship?
People looking to become Irish citizens through marriage or civil partnerships can expect a minimum waiting period of 6 months to get a verdict on their application. According to the citizen information website, the process takes about 12 to 18 months, depending on various factors.
Currently, it takes a maximum of 23 months to process Irish citizenship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to public health restrictions, the issue arises partly from the inability to conduct in-person citizenship ceremonies. The process was also affected by limited staff attendance and a high court case that was appealed, leading to a six-month loss of processing time.
The applicants are served based on the chronological order of receipt, and verdicts are made on a case-by-case basis. Applicants will be contacted by the ISD (Immigration Service Delivery) within a few weeks to inform you whether the application has gone through the initial processing stage.
Some cases are likely to take longer than expected due to various reasons. For instance, there could be incomplete applications, waiting for payment certificates, or a lack of engagement with the department on the applicant’s side. At other times, the department requires input from other government agencies, resulting in delays.
In addition, failure to submit correct documents or produce enough evidence for your claim could delay your case even further. Thus, it’s always best to get expert legal guidance when filing immigration applications. If you are concerned about how long the process may take, then you can apply for IAS’s Fast-track Application Package and get a speedy turnaround on your application.
How do I pass the good character test?
The god character test is designed to eliminate individuals with undesirable criminal or immigration history before being allowed to live in Ireland. Several factors are assessed when vetting a person’s character. The applicant’s Irish citizenship application is denied if the officials find evidence to support that the applicant isn’t of good character, i.e., they have a negative criminal and immigration history.
As stated before, the Irish state takes deception and dishonesty seriously. The state doesn’t recognize marriages or civil partnerships done out of convenience (for the sole reason of getting Irish citizenship). Such unions if and when discovered) could negatively impact your application.
Marriages and civil partnerships made out of convenience refer to contractual agreements that are deliberately done for the sake of getting immigration advantages, i.e., getting Irish citizenship. Individuals using this strategy to get into Ireland or extend their stay in the state will have their application declined or removed from Ireland entirely.
Any misinformation provided in your documents (even unknowingly) could be analysed and used against you because you want to gain Irish citizenship through deceptive means. You reserve the right to prove that your intentions are genuine by providing more paperwork. However, failure to do so may result in your citizenship application being out rightly denied, which is why you must be meticulous and provide the correct documents and information while applying.
Thus, it would be best if you looked for assistance and immigration advice from trusted experts who’ll advise and help you through your immigration application. Entrusting the IAA (Immigration Advice Authority) with your case helps eliminate any risks that could disqualify your application.
You will be assigned a lawyer that will verify if you meet all the requirements and check to ensure that there aren’t any gaps in the application, which the officials could use to deny your application.
Can I get an Irish passport through marriage?
Individuals can obtain an Irish passport if they apply and are granted citizenship through marriage. Getting an Irish passport grants the holder to traverse across EU member states freely, trade, and study wherever they want in the European Union. Irish citizens with an Irish passport can also fly to most South American countries, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Canada.
Ireland ranks sixth regarding travel freedom, with the Irish passport allowing Irish citizens can to stay in Panama, Peru, and Mexico for a maximum of 180 days at a time. Irish citizens with an Irish passport can stay for up to 60 months in Canada, Barbados, and Japan, making the passport a favourite among foreign citizens.
Individuals can fill out some final documentation, pay a certification fee, get an invitation to a citizenship ceremony where they’ll be granted a certificate of naturalisation. They can then apply for an Irish passport.
The application process can seem daunting since you have several stringent rules and various application forms to fill out. However, you can get through it with the right help. Here are three ways you can apply for and get an Irish passport.
How to apply for an Irish passport
- Apply by post via passport express- This is the only accepted postal application process for an Irish passport in Ireland. Applications submitted via registered or ordinary post will be returned to the applicants unprocessed.
- Apply online via passport online- You can apply through ‘passport online’ if you reside in Canada, Europe, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Great Britain.
- Apply in person via passport office’s counter service – The office is located in:
42-47 Lower Mount Street
1a South Mall
If you live in Canada, Australia, the USA, or Great Britain, you should know that Irish embassies and consulates no longer process Irish citizenship applications. All applications are officially processed in Dublin. Thus, you should not submit any physical documents for Irish citizenship applications to the embassies. (Note that you can still apply online).
What are the required documents?
The required documents include:
- Completing an identity verification form that proves who you are allows you to proceed with your application for an Irish passport. (This step is for individuals applying for their passport online)
- Getting the form signed and witnessed by Garda (Irish police) and an appropriate individual
- Civil birth certificates: This document is meant to prove your birth location and is used (together with other documents) to verify your Irish nationality.
- Passport photographs: These will appear on your Irish passport.
- A partnership/ civil marriage certificate: Used to prove your marital status, especially if you became an Irish citizen via marriage.
- Proof of name: Used (together with other documents) to prove your identity
- Proof of address: Shows proof of your physical location of residence.
- Copy of government-issued photo ID/ public service card: A public service card refers to a document that’s provided to individuals with a PPS number (required when applying for a job or seeking state benefits).
- Any requested additional documents: You may be asked to provide other documentation of proof to help facilitate your application. Delivering these documents helps ease the application process allowing you to receive your passport on time.
You must have all listed documents, and any documents you feel may be required to help smooth out the application process. You should also pay the required fees on time while making your online application to avoid delays.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has created a new Foreign Birth Registration team that will help improve the process and make it more efficient. The department also provides more officials to reduce the workload due to the increased number of applications that require more processing.
What happens if I separate from my partner?
Separating from your Irish partner will affect your immigration status. If this happens, you are obligated to notify your GNIB registration officer of any changes made within seven days.
How much does it cost to apply?
Applying for Irish citizenship via marriage or civil partnership requires the applicant to make an online payment of €175. Note that you will need to pay €950 for the subsequent certificate if they are successful.
It would be best to keep in mind that these are base fees for the application, and you may face some extra hidden costs during the application process. Carry some extra funds with you to avoid delays that could affect your application process.
How can IAS help?
The Irish government permits foreign nationals to get Irish citizenship via various means, i.e., naturalisation, ancestry, and also marriage. Ireland also permits dual citizenship allowing individuals intending to apply for Irish citizenship to retain their home country’s passport while enjoying the travel freedoms of owning an Irish passport.
While it is wonderful to become an Irish citizen and share your nationality with your significant other, the process can be a little challenging. As such, it is good to do thorough research and get all the help you may need to smoothen the process as much as you can. This is why you should contact the IAS for expert help, advice, and guidance on what you need to do to become an Irish citizen.
Call us on 0333 305 3612 or use the contact form to learn more about our Immigration Services.
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You can get an Irish passport if you are granted citizenship through marriage, granting you freedom of movement across all the EU member states and an array of benefits.
Once you have been notified that you are an Irish citizen through marriage, you will need to fill out some final documentation and pay a certification fee. You will then be invited to a citizenship ceremony and granted your certificate of naturalisation.
If you separate from your Irish spouse or civil partner, this will affect your immigration status and you should notify your Garda National Immigration Bureau Registration Officer within 7 days of any changes being made.