- How to Apply for Irish Citizenship
- What is Irish Citizenship by Naturalisation?
- What Counts Towards Reckonable Residence?
- What Are The Required Documents?
- Irish Citizenship through Marriage or Civil Partnership
- Citizenship Application for a non-EU/EEA/Swiss Dependant Young Adult
- Irish Citizenship by Birth/Descent
- Can I Become an Irish Citizen by Descent?
- Irish Citizenship by Association, Adoption, and Special Declaration
- How Long Does It Take to Get Irish Citizenship?
- What Is The Irish Citizenship Ceremony?
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Apply for Irish Citizenship
Most Irish citizens automatically become Irish when they are born. Before January 01, 2005, all individuals born in Ireland were Irish citizens by birth. After an amendment to the Ireland constitution, citizenship through birth does not serve as automatic entitlement to all individuals born in the country.
If you have Irish parentage or associations, you may apply for Irish citizenship. If you were born abroad, you are entitled to Irish citizenship if your parents or grandparents were born in Ireland. You may claim citizenship through the Foreign Births Register.
You can also apply to become an Irish citizen in case you are married to a citizen of Ireland and reside legally in the country. If you are a foreign national residing in Ireland, you can become an Irish citizen through naturalisation. The majority of foreign nationals wishing to become Irish citizens take the route of citizenship by naturalisation.
For your application to be considered, you must fulfil several requirements. Most importantly, you must have spent at least five years residing legally in Ireland. This is referred to as reckonable residence. Under certain special circumstances, three years of legal residency is acceptable.
If your citizenship application is approved, you will attend a citizenship ceremony. Once you are an Irish citizen, you have full unrestricted access to State freedoms, and you are eligible to apply for an Irish passport.
What is Irish Citizenship by Naturalisation?
Naturalisation refers to the legal process or act through which a non-citizen of a nation can obtain citizenship or nationality of that country. Naturalisation may involve an application and approval by legal authorities, or it can be automatic via a statute (no effort on the part of the individual). Irish citizenship by naturalisation is the legal process where a foreign national with no ancestral or familial ties to Ireland can become an Irish citizen.
The Irish Minister for Justice holds the discretionary power to naturalise a foreigner as an Irish citizen. Irish citizenship by naturalisation is granted on several fundamental criteria, including:
You have to be above the age of 18 years. You may apply for a minor in three scenarios. The child must have been born in Ireland after January 1, 2005, and is not eligible for citizenship through birth. The minor must have Irish parentage or associations. The child’s parent is a citizen of Ireland through naturalisation.
You must be of good character. Legally speaking, there is no definitive definition of being of good character. Nonetheless, the national police (The Garda Siochana) formulate a report regarding your background.
Information used to determine your character include your criminal records, current ongoing investigations against you, driving infractions committed, open felonious cases, some civil cases against you, or warning and cautions you may have received. On your application form, you may be required to declare if the above cases apply to you.
You will be granted a chance to explain why legal action is being taken against you. The Citizenship authorities may also contact you later for additional background information regarding your associations with Ireland. If you have breached the conditions of the visa, permit or stamp you have been residing under, your naturalisation application will likely not be accepted.
3. Future Intentions
You must intend to continue your residency in Ireland in good faith after naturalisation. You must prove that you intend to stay in Ireland once you become a citizen. If the Ireland authorities approve your naturalisation application and you move away from the country, you have to complete Form 5.
This form documents your intention to retain Irish citizenship during your temporary stay abroad. Also, you have to declare loyalty to Ireland and fidelity to the nation if your application is approved. You have to swear to observe the country’s laws and respect its democratic values. You will make these declarations at the citizenship ceremony.
4. Lawful Residency in Ireland/Residency Requirements
You must have resided lawfully in Ireland for a certain period. You are entitled to apply for citizenship by naturalisation if you have legally resided in the country for five years (60 months). This requirement is referred to as reckonable residence. Also, you must have one year (365 days) of reckonable residency in Ireland you submit your application for citizenship by naturalisation. The residency must be continuous.
You may leave the country for a period of up to six weeks per year in total and still remain a lawful resident that year. In case you leave the country for more than six weeks, that period will not be counted as part of reckonable residency. In the event that an emergency necessitates you to leave the State for more than six weeks, you must explain it in your naturalisation application.
If you take more than six weeks outside the country during the year before your naturalisation application, you cannot make your application that year. You have to wait until next year. Altogether, an applicant must have five years of reckonable residency from the previous nine years. Some applicant categories are allowed to apply after three years of reckonable residence. The reckonable residence conditions have some exceptions including the following:
- If you are the civil partner or spouse of an Irish citizen.
- If you are a recognised refugee (Geneva Convention).
The Minister for Justice and Equality can waive the reckonable residence conditions from five years to three years in the above instances.
What Counts Towards Reckonable Residence?
If you are not a national of the UK, Switzerland and the European Economic Area (EEA), certain residency periods may count as reckonable residency necessary for qualification for naturalisation. If you have been lawfully residing in Ireland as a holder of a type of long visa, such as an employment visa, granting you permission to live in the country, this will count towards reckonable residence requirements.
The same applies if you reside in Ireland as an Irish citizen’s civil partner or spouse. Below are some instances of time periods that count towards reckonable residence:
- Stamp 1 – time you spent in the State under a work permit.
- Stamp 1G – time you spent in Ireland as the civil partner or spouse of a work permit holder.
- Stamp 3 – time you spent as the dependent of an employment permit holder or other legal Ireland resident.
- Stamp 4
- Stamp 5
- Below are examples of residency periods that do not count towards reckonable residency:
- Stamp 1G – time you spent on Third Level Graduate Scheme under this stamp.
- Stamp 1A
- Stamp 2 – time you spent under a student visa.
- Time you spent in the State while undocumented.
- Time you spent in the State under a Tourist Visa for non-EEA nationals.
The Immigration Service Delivery website features an online residency calculator that you can use to determine if you meet the conditions for Irish citizenship by naturalisation. If you are a non-EEA national, you must complete the online residency calculator when submitting your naturalisation application.
Immigration permission stamps and documents from the Department of Justice & Equality indicating your granted permissions serve as proof of the length of your residency in Ireland. When applying for citizenship by naturalisation, it is crucial to keep your immigration registration updated with no gaps.
It is important to allow enough time to facilitate your GNIB appointment to renew your permission before expiry. Otherwise, gaps in your residence permissions create situations where your residency is not considered continuous for citizenship application purposes. Also, if you spent extended periods outside the country, you will be required to explain the absences.
What Are The Required Documents?
Several aspects and factors determine the specific documents you must include in your naturalisation application. These factors include the route you choose to acquire Irish citizenship by naturalisation and your particular circumstances as an applicant.
Adult Irish citizenship applications are completed through Application Form 8. The documents required for the standard Application Form 8 include:
- A valid original passport
- All passports you had held from when you entered the country, including biometric pages as well as all pages with permission and immigration stamps
- Two passport photographs. They must include your signature and date on the back of each.
- A copy of your birth certificate (certified)
- A copy of your Irish Residence Permit(certified)
- A copy of the permission to remain letter. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service issues these letters.
- Copy of online residency checker form
- Copies of your bank statements for all your bank accounts for at least 3 or the last 6 months.
- Letter from your current employer documenting the date you began working
- Copies of 3 payslips from the past 6 months plus a copy of your tax statement(P60) from the Revenue Commissioners for every year of your residence in Ireland
- A copy of your civil partnership/marriage certificate when applicable(certified)
Note that if you are a national of the UK, Switzerland or an EEA country, you are not required to provide the complete online residency checker with your application. You must prove your reckonable residency by including documents detailing your history in Ireland. The application form includes documents suitable for that purpose.
If this is the case for you, you must provide three different residency proofs for every year you have resided in Ireland. The documents must include your name and address. We can provide expert advice on the specific documents you need to include in your Irish citizenship application.
Irish Citizenship through Marriage or Civil Partnership
If you are in a civil partnership with or married to a citizen of Ireland, you may apply for Irish citizenship by naturalisation. This is among the fastest routes to Irish citizenship by naturalisation. To apply, you have to meet the conditions below:
- You are above the age of 18 years.
- You are married or in a civil partnership for at least three years.
- You have lawfully resided in Ireland for three of the last five years before submitting your application. Before the date you submit your application, you must have resided continuously in the country for one year.
- You have the intention to reside in Ireland after becoming an Irish citizen.
- You reside with your partner.
- You have good character.
To apply for naturalisation through this route, you must complete Application Form 8. You and your partner have to fill out the declarations detailed on the back of this form.
You are required to provide the documentation detailed in the previous section, as well as a certified copy of your civil partnership/ marriage certificate with your application. Also, you will be required to provide three different documents proving residency detailing your names and addresses for every year you and your spouse have resided in Ireland.
Citizenship Application for a non-EU/EEA/Swiss Dependant Young Adult
If you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss dependent young adult, you may be eligible to apply for Irish citizenship by naturalisation. You may use the reckonable residency of your parents if you lack the required reckonable residence requirements. Ireland considers you a young adult if:
- You are between the ages of 18 and 23 when you apply for naturalisation.
- You legally immigrated to Ireland with your family unit.
- You currently attend secondary school in Ireland or transfer directly from secondary school to third-level education.
- You are still continuously dependent on your parents.
Citizenship application for a non-EU/EEA/Swiss dependent young adult is the only exception where Stamp 2 permissions may count towards reckonable residence. If you are using this route, you must complete Application Form 8.
You must provide certain documents from the aforementioned documentation list with your application. You must also include a letter from your college or school indicating the date of your registration and attendance.
Irish Citizenship by Birth/Descent
You may be an Irish citizen through birth if you or your parents were born or adopted in the country. If you do not have entitlement to Irish citizenship through birth, you can become a citizen when you enrol your birth on the Foreign Births Register. An individual is a citizen of Ireland through birth if they are part of the categories below:
1. Born in the Country before January 1, 2005
If you happen to have been born in Ireland prior to January 1, 2005, you are a citizen of Ireland through birth automatically. If you happen to have been born in Northern Ireland prior to the same date, you could claim Irish citizenship. You can elect to be a citizen of Ireland and apply for an Irish passport.
2. Born in the Country after December 31, 2004
Irish citizens voted to alter the constitution of Ireland to end entitlement to Irish citizenship through birth automatically by all individuals born in the country. As such, if you were born after January 1, 2005, the entitlement to be a citizen of Ireland depends on your parents’ residency history and nationality. If when you were born, either one of your parents was a citizen of Ireland; you become a citizen of Ireland automatically if you were born in the country.
3. Born Abroad to an Irish Parent
In case you were born abroad and your parents were born in Ireland and had entitlement to Irish citizenship, you become a citizen of Ireland through birth automatically.
4. Born in the Country and Cannot Claim Citizenship to another Nation
You may have been born in the Republic of Ireland, and the above categories do not apply to you. If this is the case and you cannot claim citizenship to another country, you become a citizen of Ireland through birth automatically.
5. Irish Citizenship in Case You Were Born Outside the Country
If you were born abroad and your parents were born in the Republic of Ireland and held citizenship status when you were born, you become a citizen of Ireland through birth automatically. If you were born abroad to parents who were also born abroad, you can become a citizen of Ireland
if one of your parents was a citizen of Ireland when you were born.
You must register this birth in the Foreign Births Register to claim citizenship by birth. The only exception is if your parents happened to be outside the country in public service when you were born. Your Ireland citizenship becomes valid from the registration date rather than from your date of birth.
Can I Become an Irish Citizen by Descent?
Citizenship by descent is another route to Irish citizenship you can take if you were not born in Ireland and do not reside in the country. If one or both of your grandparents were born in the country, but none of your parents were born in the country, you can become a citizen of the Republic of Ireland.
Also, if one or both of your parents were born in the country and they held Irish citizenship when you were born, you are entitled to apply for citizenship. You are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship based on previous extended ancestry or ancestors that are not your parents and grandparents.
Also, you are not allowed to claim citizenship based on extended familial relations (cousins, uncles, or aunts) if your parents or grandparents were not citizens of Ireland when you were born. You will be required to enrol your birth in the Foreign Births Register.
Irish Citizenship by Association, Adoption, and Special Declaration
You may apply for Irish citizenship on the basis of Irish associations. Irish association refers to relations through blood or adoption by a citizen of Ireland. Irish citizenship through association is at the discretion of the Minister.
If you want to apply via this route, you must have lawfully resided in Ireland for at least three years as proof of your connection to the State. Also, these applications take longer to process (up to two and a half years).
If a citizen of Ireland adopts a minor who is not a citizen of Ireland, the adopted minor becomes an Irish citizen. Also, some individuals can claim Irish citizenship through several special declarations.
Once you have determined the appropriate route to Irish citizenship, the application process involves the following steps:
1. Checking That You Qualify
To become an Irish citizen, you must meet the eligibility conditions stipulated in the Nationality and Citizenship Act as detailed herein.
2. Fill in an Application Form
Depending on your route to Irish citizenship, you have to fill in the current application forms on the Immigration Service Delivery website. These forms include Form 8, Form 9, Form 10, and Form 11. Carefully read all the notes attached to the forms, and do not leave any sections blank.
3. Gather Your Documents
The relevant supporting documents will depend on your route to Irish citizenship and your circumstances. If your documents are not in English, they must be translated by a professional translator. Note that if you are an adult applicant, you are required to send a tax clearance certificate that certifies that your tax affairs are in order.
If for any reason, you are unable to include the required documents, you must include an explanation as to why you cannot attach the documents. In case you are unable to include your marriage certificate or birth certificate, you may use affidavits. Affidavits are only acceptable if you can prove that you cannot obtain the certificates.
4. Make a Declaration
Once you have filled out the relevant application form, you must make a statutory declaration when you are ready to submit the form and documents. A statutory declaration is an official written statement swearing that the information you have provided is true.
A party authorised to witness statutory declarations must witness the statement. These parties include a solicitor, a notary public, a commissioner for an oath, or a peace commissioner.
5. Send Your Application
It is important to carefully check your application form and ensure you have included all the relevant documents. The application form contains a checklist that you are required to follow. Once your form and relevant documents are in order, you send the same to the relevant application office, whose address will be included in the form.
When submitting your application form and attached documents, you must pay an application fee. The application fee is 175 Euros. You are only allowed to pay the application fee via banker’s draft.
Any bank can provide a banker’s draft. You make the payment to the Secretary-General, Department of Justice. No other payment method is accepted. The application fee is non-refundable. If your application is rejected, you will not get this amount back.
How Long Does It Take to Get Irish Citizenship?
Most applications for Irish citizenship by naturalisation are processed within 12 months. Immigration Service Delivery contacts you within several weeks to inform you if your application has passed the first processing stage. During this time, ISD may request additional documentation or clarification on the specific information you include in your application, after which you are afforded an application number.
If your application is approved, ISD will send you a letter. You will be requested to pay the Certification Fee and submit your Irish Residence Permit if you are a non-EEA/UK/Swiss national. You will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony.
What Is The Irish Citizenship Ceremony?
Once your application for citizenship by naturalisation is approved, you may be invited to attend the Irish citizenship ceremony. During this ceremony, you make an official declaration of loyalty and fidelity to Ireland. You will receive your naturalisation certificate at the ceremony. With this certificate, you officially become an Irish citizen, and you can apply for an Irish passport.
How Do I Register a Birth on The Foreign Births Register?
The Foreign Births Register enables descendants of Irish citizens who move abroad to claim Irish citizenship. Below are the steps for registering a birth on the Foreign Births Register:
Before application – ensure that you are eligible to apply and have an email address.
Gather your documents – check that you have all the necessary documents, including original birth certificate, certified copy of identification (national ID card, driver’s licence, passport), four photographs, and similar documents related to the Irish citizen you are basing your application on.
Complete online form – You must submit your application online on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. You submit the completed form electronically and print a hard copy to sign and send.
Pay the application fee – after completing the application form, you pay the registration fee online.
Have your documents, form, and photographs witnessed by a witness personally known to you.
- Complete online form – You must submit your application online on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. You submit the completed form electronically and print a hard copy to sign and send.
- Pay the application fee – after completing the application form, you pay the registration fee online.
- Have your documents, form, and photographs witnessed by a witness personally known to you.
How Can I Get a Document Certified?
A number of the documents required for application have to be certified. Document certification means they are declared “true copies.” You can get your document certified when you make your statutory declaration, as detailed herein. A solicitor, public notary, peace commissioner, or commissioner of oaths can certify your documents, including your passport, birth certificate, spouse’s birth certificate, and marriage/civil partnership certificate.
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Yes, dual citizenship is possible if you don’t want to revoke your original nationality and want to keep your Ireland citizenship. Irish law states that you do not need to give up another citizenship to apply to become an Irish citizen by naturalisation or to claim Irish citizenship by birth or descent.
Yes, once you have received Irish citizenship you will be free to apply for an Irish passport and enjoy the full benefits of being an Irish citizen.
Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we can assist you with the entire passport application, making the process as smooth as possible. Call us now on 0333 305 3612 for more information.