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Irish Citizenship by Birth or Descent

Irish Citizenship by Birth or Descent

If you were born in Ireland or have Irish ancestry, you could be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth or descent, even if you don’t live in Ireland. The Irish citizenship by birth or descent route is becoming increasingly popular, due in large part to Brexit.

Call us now on (+353) 061 518 025 to find out how we can help you become a dual citizen and enjoy the full benefits of Irish citizenship.

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Am I eligible for Irish citizenship through descent?

Irish citizenship via birth or descent is a complex area of Irish immigration law. You could eligible for Irish citizenship if you were born in Ireland, or if one of your parents or grandparents was born in Ireland.

However, it is important to note that you are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship if you were born in Ireland.

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What are the different routes to Irish Citizenship through birth or descent?

There are a number of different routes towards Irish citizenship through birth or descent. You could be eligible for Irish citizenship even if you weren’t born in Ireland or spent any time in the country.

Irish citizenship by birth

If you were born on the island of Ireland on or before 1st January 2005, you will automatically be eligible for Irish citizenship.

Also, if you were born in Ireland on or after 1st January 2005 and one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you will be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth.

If a child was born on the island of Ireland on or after 1st January 2005 and one of their parents is British, or has permission to reside in Ireland or Northern Ireland, they will be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth.

Irish citizenship for children of refugees

If someone was born in Ireland and of their parents has approved refugee status, the child will be entitled to Irish citizenship.

Who is not eligible for Irish citizenship by birth?

If you were born in Ireland on or after 1st January 2005 to foreign national parents, you will not be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth.

In this situation, one of the parents of the child will need to be able to prove that they have a genuine link to Ireland in order for the child to be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth.

For example, if one of the parents lived in Ireland for three of the previous four years as reckonable residence immediately prior to the birth, this will count as a genuine link to Ireland, and the child will be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth.

Can I claim for Irish citizenship by descent?

You could be eligible for Irish citizenship even if you weren’t born in (or spent any time in Ireland). This route towards citizenship is known as Irish citizenship by descent.

You can apply via this route if you have a link to Ireland through one of your parents or grandparents. Irish citizenship by descent is a very popular route towards citizenship, and is relatively straightforward in comparison to Irish citizenship by naturalisation.

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What are the different routes towards Irish Citizenship by descent?

If one of your parents was born in Ireland and was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you will be eligible for Irish Citizenship, even if you weren’t born in Ireland.

Also, if you were born outside of Ireland and one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth you will be eligible for Irish citizenship, even if your parent wasn’t born in Ireland.

If this parent was deceased at the time of your birth but would have been an Irish citizen if they were alive, you will still be eligible for Irish citizenship by descent.

In all of these situations, the rules apply regardless of whether your parents were married or not.

Irish citizenship through ancestry of grandparents

If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, you will be eligible for Irish citizenship through the Irish citizenship by descent route.

Irish citizenship through adoption

If a child who isn’t an Irish citizen is adopted by an Irish citizen or a couple where either spouse is an Irish citizen, they will be eligible for Irish citizenship.

What is the Foreign Births Register?

If you are applying for Irish citizenship by descent, you need to register your birth on the Foreign Births Register.

If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland or one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you will need to register your birth on the Foreign Births Register before you begin your Irish citizenship by descent application.

You will need to provide the following documents to register your birth:

  • Original birth certificate which shows parent’s details
  • Certified photocopy of official and current state-issued identification
  • Two proofs of address which are not photocopies
  • Four passport-sized photographs

If you are applying on behalf of a child as a guardian and not a parent, you will need to include proof of guardianship in order to complete the application.

You will also need to provide documents which relate to the person you are basing the application on, whether that person is a parent or grandparent.

The required documents are:

  • Original birth certificate
  • Original marriage certificate
  • Change of name document (if applicable)
  • Certified photocopy of current state-based identification, or a certified copy of death certificate if person is deceased

Foreign Births Register Application Form

Once you have gathered all the relevant documentation together, you will need to complete the application form.

Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we can help you with the entire Foreign Births registration process. One of our experienced immigration lawyers can work with you to complete the application to the very highest of standards.

Call us now on (+353) 061 518 025 to find out more.

What is the fee for a Foreign Births Register Application?

After your application form has been completed, you will need to pay the application fee which is €278 for adults and €158 for those who are under 18.

What does it mean to have your form witnessed?

An essential component of the Foreign Births Register application is to have your application witnessed by an appropriate person who is personally known to you, but not a relation.

You must sign a printed copy of your application form in front of your witness.

The witness will need to:

  • Stamp the form with an official stamp. If the witness doesn’t have a stamp, a business card should be provided
  • Certify that the copy of the state identification is a true copy
  • Sign and verify two of the four passport-sized photographs

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers for guidance about the Foreign Births Register process Contact us

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Who counts as an appropriate witness?

The witness must be actively working in one of the following professions:

  • Garda Síochána/ Police Officer
  • School Principal/ Vice Principal/ Teacher/ School Secretary/ Pre-school Manager/ Montessori Teacher/ Lecturer
  • Member of Clergy
  • Medical Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Physiotherapist
  • Speech Therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Dentist
  • Lawyer
  • Notary Public/ Commissioner for Oaths
  • Peace Commissioner
  • Bank Manager/ Assistant Bank Manager or Credit Union Manager or Assistant Manager
  • Accountant
  • Elected Public Representative
  • Vet
  • Chartered Engineer

How long does the application take to process?

Your Foreign Births Register application should be processed within six months. However, it could take up to 12 months for the application to be processed.

What can I do if my application is refused?

If your application is refused, you will receive a letter of refusal detailing the reasons for the refusal.

If you provided all the required documentation in your application, you have the right to an appeal. An appeal letter should be written within six weeks of the date of the refusal.

If you would like any help with the appeal letter, please do not hesitate to contact us on…

Can I apply for an Irish passport once my birth is registered in the Foreign Births Register?

Once you have been officially entered onto the Foreign Births Register, you will be able to apply for an Irish passport, provided you can meet certain requirements.

If you are entitled to Irish citizenship by birth, you will not need to register the birth on the Foreign Births Register and will be able to apply for an Irish passport automatically.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the IAS can provide full support if you would like to complete an Irish citizenship by birth application on behalf of your child.

With many years of experience in the field of Irish immigration law, the IAS can offer you the very highest level of service.

Call us now on (+353) 061 518 025 to find out how we can help you.

Generally, you will not need to register on the Foreign Births Register if you are applying for Irish citizenship by birth.

However, if you wish to travel as an Irish citizen, you will need to apply for an Irish passport.

You can only apply for Irish citizenship by descent as far back as your grandparents. Therefore, if your great grandmother was Irish but neither of your grandparents (or parents) are/were Irish, you will not be eligible for Irish citizenship by descent.