- Irish dual citizenship through descent
- Irish dual citizenship through naturalisation
- Dual citizenship for the spouse of an Irish citizen
- Applying for Irish dual citizenship
- Immigration permission for dual citizenship
- Applying for an Irish passport
- Frequently asked questions
- How can I get help from the IAS?
What is dual citizenship?
Those who hold dual citizenship are citizens of two countries simultaneously, meaning they have legal rights and obligations with both countries.
Dual citizenship can be gained in a number of ways, including:
- Being born to immigrant parents
- Being born outside of your home country to a parent who is a citizen of your home country
- Becoming a naturalised citizen
- Regaining citizenship in your country of origin having become a naturalised citizen of another country
Irish dual citizenship comes with an array of benefits, particularly for those who are not nationals of an EU member state. With Irish citizenship comes membership of the European Union – an appealing factor for many.
The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 allowed for citizenship by descent, meaning that those who were born outside of Ireland but descend from Irish citizens are able to acquire citizenship.
This includes those who have a parent who is an Irish citizen or even a grandparent who was born in Ireland.
However, under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 2004, children born to foreign national parents in Ireland either on or after 1st January 2005 are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship.
Their parents must prove that they have a genuine link to Ireland, which can be demonstrated if one parent has three out of the previous four years reckonable residence in Ireland immediately prior to the birth of the child.
Furthermore, while Irish law allows you to be both an Irish citizen and a citizen of another country at the same time, not all countries will allow this. If you are Irish, you may have to renounce your citizenship to become a citizen of another country depending on their laws.
Do I qualify for Irish dual citizenship through descent?
Acquiring Irish dual citizenship through descent is contingent on the status of your parent at the time of your birth and whether they were an Irish citizen at that time.
You will automatically have Irish citizenship if either of your parents were born in Ireland, regardless of where you were born. This means you do not need to apply for dual citizenship; you will automatically have it.
Your parents do not need to have been married at the time of your birth for you to claim Irish citizenship through descent.
If you are claiming Irish dual citizenship through descent from your Irish grandparent(s) due to neither of your parents having been born in Ireland, one of your grandparents must have been born in Ireland.
Either one parent or an Irish-born grandparent must have had Irish citizenship at the time of your birth for you to be eligible to acquire dual citizenship.
Extended previous ancestry is irrelevant – only your parents or grandparents and their Irish citizenship status will allow you to qualify.
How do I qualify for Irish dual citizenship through naturalisation?
Naturalisation is the process in which an individual who is born in one country acquires citizenship of another.
If you wish to apply for naturalisation in Ireland, you must have lived in Ireland for a certain length of time under specific forms of immigration permission.
Some forms of immigration permission do not count as reckonable residence in Ireland, meaning that your time spent in the State under these permissions cannot be used to apply for Irish naturalisation. To qualify for Irish dual citizenship by naturalisation, you must:
- Be aged 18 or older (unless you are married, in which case you may be under 18)
- Be of good character (a background check will be complete – a criminal record will be taken into account)
- Intend to continue living in the State (you must have been resident in Ireland for at least four years of the previous eight years and must not have left Ireland for more than 6 weeks in the 12-months immediately prior to making your application for naturalisation)
- Make a declaration of fidelity and loyalty to the State by attending a citizenship ceremony
My spouse is an Irish citizen, can I apply for dual citizenship?
Yes, you are eligible to apply for dual citizenship as the spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen. The conditions of applying for dual citizenship by naturalisation through marriage are:
- You must have been married to/in a civil partnership with an Irish citizen for three years
- You must presently live together in an ongoing marriage/civil partnership of no less than three years
- You must be of full age when you apply for dual citizenship through naturalisation
This is in addition to meeting the standard requirements for those applying for Irish citizenship by naturalisation.
You must have been legally resident in Ireland for at least 3 of the previous 5 years, including one year of continuous residency immediately prior to applying for naturalisation. It is your responsibility to provide documents which prove that you were in Ireland for each year that you claim to have resided here.
Similarly, you must provide documents proving that you and your spouse/civil partner live together permanently. This may include:
- P60s, Property Tax or Social Welfare documents
- Mortgage statements
- Bank statements showing direct debits for utility bills etc.
- Rental agreements
- Spouses Revenue documentation
- Employment letter for spouse
How do I apply for Irish dual citizenship?
To claim Irish dual citizenship, you must have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register. This requires documenting the applicant’s descent from either an Irish-born grandparent or from a parent who is an Irish citizen. To complete this registration, you must:
- Submit your birth certificate and marriage certificate if applicable
- Submit any name change documentation if applicable
- Submit proof of identity (passport/national identity card/drivers licence etc.)
- Two proofs of address
- Four passport-sized photographs of you – a professional witness who knows you personally must sign two of your passport photos as a form of verification. This witness must also stamp your application form with their official stamp and certify that the copy of your state identification is genuine
If you are claiming Irish dual citizenship through a parent or grandparent, you must also provide their birth certificate, marriage certificate if applicable and death certificate if applicable. Proof that they are an Irish citizen is also necessary (by providing their passport/drivers licence etc.)
It can take up to six months for a straightforward application to be processed.
One of IAS’ immigration lawyers can help with both the completion and submission of your dual citizenship application. We will ensure that you provide the relevant supporting documentation, complete with signed forms and declarations.
We will also provide a Letter of Representation when submitting your application, highlighting its merits and why it ought to be approved.
For more information on how we can help with your dual citizenship application, contact IAS today on (+353) 061 518 025.
What immigration permission will I have if I acquire dual citizenship in Ireland?
If you are granted dual citizenship in Ireland, you will typically be granted Stamp 6 immigration permission.
This permission allows you to remain in Ireland indefinitely with full citizenship rights. Some of these rights include:
- The right to vote – this is a significant right for Irish citizens who are able to vote in General elections as well as local elections, European elections, Presidential elections and referendums
- The right to stand for political office
- The ability to serve on a jury if called upon to do so
- Entitled to diplomatic support from Irish embassies etc.
Those who have acquired Irish dual citizenship will also automatically gain EU membership status since Ireland is an EU member state meaning they can:
- Travel freely between EU countries without requiring a visa/being subject to passport controls
- Take up residence in an EU country without having to meet particular criteria
- Take up employment in any EU country without having to acquire special permission
How do I apply for an Irish passport after I have acquired Irish dual citizenship?
Once you have been granted dual Irish citizenship status, you can apply for an Irish passport.
Since 29th March 2016, any first time applicant of an adult passport (who is resident in Ireland) must provide a photocopy of their Public Services Card for identification.
It is no longer a requirement to supply a copy of photographic identification or proof of use of name. However you must still provide proof of address when making your passport application.
Different documentation is required with your passport application depending on how you acquired Irish citizenship.
Get in touch with one of our experienced immigration lawyers in Ireland who can evaluate your specific circumstances to ensure that you provide the relevant documentation.
If you acquired Irish dual citizenship through naturalisation, you must provide:
- Your naturalisation certificate
- Your foreign passport
- Your birth certificate
- Your civil marriage/civil partnership certificate
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If you were born outside of Ireland but have acquired dual Irish citizenship, your child is entitled to become an Irish citizen even if they were also born outside of the State.
However, before the birth of any of your children, you must register your own birth in the Foreign Births Register to ensure that your children will be entitled to Irish citizenship. This is because, since 1st July 1986, a person is only considered an Irish citizen from the date of entry in the Foreign Births Register.
Once you have given birth to your child, you must also register their birth in the Foreign Births Register.
An Irish passport can only be applied for once your child has been registered and has received a certificate confirming their entry in the Foreign Births Register.
Contact IAS on (+353) 061 518 025 if you require legal assistance to secure Irish citizenship for your child who was born outside of Ireland.
No, Irish law does not require you to renounce citizenship to acquire dual Irish citizenship. Additionally, British citizens are also allowed to hold dual citizenship. However, not all countries permit this. Some countries require that you renounce your citizenship in order to acquire citizenship of another country.
If, for example, you are an Irish citizen living abroad and wish to gain citizenship in the country that you are currently residing – however this country does not permit dual citizenship – you would have to renounce your Irish citizenship.
To renounce Irish citizenship, you must:
- Be aged 18 or above
- Live outside of Ireland
- Be in the process of acquiring citizenship in another country
The process of renouncing Irish citizenship involves completing a ‘declaration of alienage’ form, having this declaration witnessed and submitting this to the Department of Justice and Equality.
If you require help with renouncing your Irish citizenship or would like legal advice on whether you are entitled to acquire dual citizenship, a dedicated IAS immigration lawyer can assist.
Contact us on (+353) 061 518 025.
If your application for Irish dual citizenship has been refused, one of our immigration law specialists can provide practical assistance. We can assess whether you are eligible to appeal this decision and, if so, can submit an appeal.
Our appeal package may be ideal for you –- to find out more about this, contact our client care team on (+353) 061 518 025.