Can you get an Irish passport if your spouse is Irish?
Generally speaking, you can get an Irish passport if your spouse is Irish, however, there are a series of steps and processes you must surpass first in order to be eligible.
It is not possible to receive an Irish passport without first registering as an Irish citizen. Therefore, you will need to apply to become an Irish citizen before anything else.
The route to an Irish passport as a non-visa national
You can get an Irish passport much easier and faster if you are considered a ‘non-visa national’ in the State. This means that, due to your county of birth, you do not need a visa to live and work in Ireland.
The list of non-visa applicants continues to change so it is worth checking to see if you are classed as a non-visa national before taking any of the following steps. Currently, citizens of Australia, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Switzerland and the EEA, UK and United States – amongst many others – do not need a visa to enter and remain on the island of Ireland. As a non-visa national, you need only preclearance – or ‘entry clearance’ – to meet border security checks. If you wish to remain in the country for longer than 3 months, you will be required by law to register for an Irish Residence Permit.
Once you have been granted permission to remain and are equipped with an Irish Residence Permit, you can simply take your marriage or civil partnership certificate as well as other supporting evidence to your local Garda National Immigration Bureau Registration Office to apply for Irish citizenship.
The application process with the Garda National Immigration Bureau is much more straight forward than the application you must submit to the Minister for Justice and Equality.
Become an Irish citizen as a visa national
If you are considered a visa national in Ireland – I.e. you needed a permit to enter and remain in the State such as a Work Permit, such as a non-EEA citizen – then the rules to apply for citizenship are slightly more complex than that of a non-visa applicant.
However, you can easily get an Irish passport if your spouse is Irish. In this instance, your spouse or civil partner will be considered the ‘sponsor’ for your application. Being the partner of an Irish person is of enormous benefit to your case since many of the requirements are relaxed in your favour.
One of these relaxed requirements includes the ‘reckonable residence’ criteria, which dictates applicants must accumulate time spent on the island of Ireland in order to become an Irish national.
For most applicants, meeting this requirement can be burdensome on the grounds that they will need to satisfy the Minister for Justice that they have lived in Ireland for at least 5 years before seeking to apply for citizenship.
However, as an individual whose spouse is an Irish citizen, this requirement drops from 5 years to 3 years.
The 3-year reckonable residence requirement must be met as follows:
- You must have lived on the island of Ireland for the year prior to your application – that is a solid 12 months that is backdated to the date you send your application
- In the 4 years prior to the 12-month stint, you must have an additional 2 years of considerable time spent all-in-all in Ireland
It is important to note that not all time spent in the State within the past 5 years would count towards reckonable residence. For instance, if you entered Ireland as a student under the Student Visa or you were undocumented at the time.
Documents to submit within the Irish Citizenship application
In addition to the aforementioned Irish citizenship requirements, you must also meet the accommodation requirement when applying to become an Irish national. You must provide proof of your living arrangement that must be akin to marriage – this applies whether you are a married couple or you are in a civil partnership. You might need to provide mortgage or rental agreements as evidence that you are living on the island with your civil partner or spouse.
You may also need to submit a sworn affidavit of your intention to live together permanently as well as other paperwork which proves your cohabitation. This could be a joint bank account, utility bills, mortgage repayments or bank statements.
You must also submit a declaration of fidelity to the nation which outlines your intention to remain and your loyalty to the State and its laws.
Then, you will simply need:
- Your birth certificate and/or original passport to prove your identity and nationality
- The birth certificate or naturalisation certificate of your spouse or civil partner which proves their Irish citizenship
- Your marriage or civil partnership certificate which verifies that you are married to an Irish citizen
You will need to submit all your evidence in the application form itself before sending it off to the Department of Justice.
Your character will be assessed by the Minister of Justice and Equality, known as the ‘good character’ requirement. The Minister will checks that you have kept all your immigration permissions up to date with no periods of time that were unaccounted for throughout your time in Ireland. This government official will also conduct background checks to ensure you have no criminal history or major immigration breaches, for example if you have ever made a fraudulent application or have a history of unlawful residence by overstaying your visa permission.
It is crucial to note here that any misleading or deceptive information you submit, including seemingly innocuous statements or evidence, the Minister will exercise his/her discretion over whether or not to grant you citizenship. Deception will not be looked upon lightly, so it is best to be as honest and cooperative as possible. If you don’t pass the good character requirement, it is likely you will be refused and/or prohibited from applying for citizenship for a lengthy period of time. In some severe cases, applicants have even been ordered to leave the island of Ireland completely.
It is therefore vital your application is as thorough as possible. Any discrepancies could be used against you.
If you need application assistance, ring the IAS today on +353 (0) 615 180 25. Our expert immigration lawyers situated in our Ireland office are fully equipped to help you with your Irish Citizenship application. An IAS solicitor can assist you in building a portfolio of evidence to submit with the necessary forms. Get in touch with our friendly customer care team today to hear about our Application Service.
A legally binding marriage or civil partnership
In order to get an Irish passport as the Spouse of an Irish national, it is vital that your marriage or civil partnership is both legally binding and recognised to be such in the eyes of the Irish state. Consequently, your marriage certificate is of vital importance when you come to apply for citizenship.
In addition, applicants must be aware that your spouse or civil partner must be an Irish citizen. It doesn’t matter if your loved one was born an Irish citizen or became an Irish citizen through naturalisation. Indeed, your partner may have needed to meet the reckonable residence requirement themselves in the past. Nevertheless, it is vital he/she holds citizenship and residency rights to the State. This is crucial in order for you to be deemed eligible to apply via this specific route.
The Minister for Justice will determine whether your marriage to an Irish citizen, or union to your civil partner, is legally recognised in Irish law.
Applying for an Irish passport
Once you have been approved for Irish citizenship, you should attend a citizenship ceremony which grants you with your certificate. Your certificate should verify that you are now considered an Irish national.
With this document, you should be able to register on the Foreign Births Register (if it hasn’t been done automatically) and you can finally apply for an Irish passport.
Alongside your citizenship certificate you will also need:
- To prove your age with an official photo ID such as your driver’s licence, national ID card or birth certificate
- To prove your identity with 4 passport size photographs of yourself – 2 of which need to be signed and dated by an official witness (such as a doctor)
- To verify your address with an official statement/government letter
You can apply for an Irish passport via one of the following methods:
- Online via Passport Online service – the fastest and cheapest way to send your application
- Post via Passport Express
- In person at a local Passport Office/Consulate of Ireland although this route is not ideal for first-time applicants since it is the most expensive and usually reserved for urgent passport renewals and lost passport services
Assistance applying for an Irish passport if your spouse is Irish
At the Immigration Advice Service, our Ireland immigration solicitors assist applicants with comprehensive and industry-leading advice every day. The application process can certainly appear daunting to those unfamiliar with the stringent rules and requirements, particularly as there are many application forms to contend with.
We deliver an exceptional immigration service, helping both Irish citizens and those who are married to an Irish citizen on a regular basis.
If you wish to secure an Irish passport and become an Irish national, arrange an appointment today with one of our immigration specialists. We offer advice on meeting the citizenship requirements as well as full application support.