What is Irish Citizenship by Birth?
Citizenship by birth is a law whereby the country or territory where a person’s birth occurs automatically qualifies them as citizens of that state. In many countries around the world, this right is given regardless of their parents’ heritage or nationality.
In Ireland, the constitutional right to citizenship in the 27th Amendment to the Irish Constitution was amended in 2004, which ended the automatic birthright to Irish citizenship for any person born in on Irish territory.
In Ireland, citizenship by birth is granted based on several different eligibility categories.
Born in Ireland Before 1st January 2005
For people born in the state of Ireland before the 1st of January 2005, you will be eligible for automatic Irish citizenship. The nationality of your parents does not matter if you were born prior to this date.
Irish or British Parent
- If one or both of your parents had Irish or UK citizenship when you were born, you will be considered an Irish citizen.
- If you were born in Northern Ireland to Irish or British parents, you are entitled to choose to be an Irish citizen.
- If your Irish or British citizen parent died before you were born, you will be considered an Irish citizen by birthright.
Foreign National Parents
Some people who were born on Irish territory are entitled to citizenship by birth if one or both of their parents’ residence history at the time of your birth was:
- They had unrestricted permission to reside in Ireland and or Northern Ireland at the time of your birth
- They had been living in Ireland or Northern Ireland for 3 of the previous 4 years prior to you being born, under an immigration permission that counted towards reckonable residence (i.e. they accrued eligibility towards eventually becoming Irish citizens themselves). This will be considered as a genuine link to Ireland and therefore will make you eligible to apply for citizenship through birthright.
Generally, if you were born after 31st December 2005, you will not be considered for citizenship by birth if you were born in Ireland to non-Irish parents (i.e., your parents are foreign nationals who lived or currently live in Ireland).
Born Abroad to an Irish Parent
If you were born abroad but one or both of your parents are Irish-born, you will be entitled to citizenship in Ireland by birthright.
Born in Ireland with No Rights to Citizenship in Any other Country
If you do not qualify for any of the above criteria, but you were born in Ireland with no citizenship option in any other country, then you are considered an Irish citizen by birth. These cases most often arise for children of refugees or protected persons, or for parents dealing with a complicated situation with their country of origin.
Born in Ireland to Refugee Parents
For applicants born in Ireland to parents who came to Ireland as recognised refugees, they will be entitled to automatic Irish citizenship so long as their parents received approved refugee status.
If you do not qualify for citizenship by birth, you may still be able to acquire citizenship via a different route, as there are several routes you can take to gain Irish citizenship. An example of this would be citizenship by descent, where you can claim citizenship if at least one of your parents can prove an Irish heritage, or citizenship by naturalisation after living in Ireland for 5 years (or 3 years for children).
Citizenship by Descent
Many people with Irish heritage may not qualify as a citizen of Ireland by birthright, but fit the criteria to be granted citizenship by descent in Ireland. This is true if:
- You were born abroad to an Irish citizen parent
- Your Irish parent was born outside Ireland (but they qualify as Irish according to the law at the time of their birth)
- One or more of your grandparents was born in Ireland and is/was an Irish citizen.
If you were born abroad, your birth needs to be registered on the Irish Foreign Births Register.
Citizenship by Association
In most cases, unless you have a clear Irish heritage through a parent or grandparent, having ‘Irish blood’ or members in your extended family that are Irish does not make you entitled to Irish citizenship on these grounds alone. However, each individual’s circumstances are unique, and may be considered by the Immigration Minister processing your application.
Generally speaking, you may be able to acquire Irish citizenship by association (i.e. you are related to an Irish citizen by blood or adoption) if you also fit the following criteria:
- You have lawfully lived in Ireland for at least 3 years
- You are not applying on the grounds of having a relation more distant than an Irish great-grandparent
- You are not applying on the grounds of citizenship by ‘ascent’ – i.e. your child or grandchild is an Irish citizen but you are not
- You are not applying on the grounds that your brother or sister is an Irish citizen.
Please note that the application processing time for citizenship by descent or Irish associations can take up to 3 years.
Citizenship through Special Declaration
Citizenship through Special Declaration is a citizenship route option for specific circumstances. Such circumstances include:
- people born in Ireland who at the time of their birth was entitled to diplomatic immunity (e.g. they are the child of a foreign ambassador) between 2 December 1999 and 31 December 2004
- people born in Irish nautical or air space to a foreign national on a foreign ship or aircraft between 2 December 1999 and 31 December 2004
- People born in Ireland who have made a declaration of alienage (i.e. renounced their citizenship) but would like to detract this declaration and resume their Irish citizenship.
How to Apply for Citizenship by Birth in Ireland
If you were born on Irish territory and meet the criteria listed above, you likely are already registered as a citizen of Ireland, as you will likely have had your birth registered in Ireland when you were born.
If you wish to confirm your Irish citizenship but do not have access to your birth certificate or, for whatever reason, your birth was not registered and confirmed, then we recommend that you seek legal advice. IAS can help. We have a team of expert immigration lawyers who can support you with your unique needs regarding Irish citizenship. Contact us online or call today at +353 061 518 025.
If you are a resident in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the EU, the EEA, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or USA, you can apply for your first Irish passport online using the Passport Online service.
In order to apply for your first passport online, you will need:
- All relevant documents outlined in the application process
- Access to a printer in order to sign and post hard copies of certain documents
- A passport photograph
- Proof of your identity
- To complete an Identity Verification Form:
- If applying in Ireland, a member of the Garda Síochána is required to sign this form
- If applying abroad, you will need to be witnessed signing the form by someone in an occupation listed on the Passport Online website
- To complete in full the application process outlined online
- Your debit or credit card for online payment
- To send off hard copies of the relevant documentation to the address listed in the application process – we advise going to your local Post Office and paying for tracked post services.
By Post and In-Person
If you are applying in Ireland, you can use the Post Passport service by An Post. You must fill out the APS 1 form, available at your local post office or Garda station. This form is not currently available online.
You will also be required to submit four identical passport photos.
There are Post Passport branches also available in the UK in Northern Ireland, Glasgow, and Liverpool. If you wish to apply in-person from outside Ireland and the UK, it is best to apply at your local Irish consulate or embassy with an APS 2 form.
Below are the fees for applying for Irish passports. If you travel very frequently, you may want to opt for the large passport so that you don’t run out of pages for immigration stamps.
|Standard 34 page 10 year passport||Passport Online||€75 plus €15 postage if you’re applying from abroad|
|Post Passport with An Post||€80 plus €9.50 for 1 application or €16 for a Family Application (up to 4 application)|
|Large 66 page 10 year passport||Passport Online||€105 plus a €15 postage if you’re applying from abroad|
|Post Passport with An Post||€110 plus €9.50 for 1 application or €16 for a Family Application (up to 4 application)|
Please note that these prices are subject to change and don’t include the price of passport photos and any other additional fees that incur during the application process.
You should receive your passport within approximately 8 weeks of submitting your application.
Becoming a citizen of Ireland is a very positive decision for many people who recognise that they can apply for Irish citizenship. Ireland has a strong economy, a rich culture and is the 4th most powerful passport in the world.
Applying for citizenship can however be challenging, particularly if your birth circumstances or Irish family history are complex. There are lots of documents that you must submit that may be hard for you to obtain, or perhaps you are moving to Ireland and have an overwhelming amount of legal and logistical planning to do. Applying for citizenship is an important moment, and it would be a shame to be unnecessarily refused due to errors made during the application process.
That’s why IAS is here. We have a team of expert immigration lawyers that can guide you through every step of the process, so you can be sure that your application has the best chance of receiving approval and becoming an Irish citizen.
Contact Immigration Advice Services today by calling +353 061 518 025 or contact us online. We are here to help.
Last modified on October 26th, 2023 at 10:07 am
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No. Ireland is one of the countries that allows its citizens to have dual citizenship, meaning you can remain a citizen of your country of origin as well as become a citizen of Ireland.
However, this may not be the case for your country of origin, as some countries do not allow you to obtain dual citizenship in another country. If your country of origin only allows you to be the citizen of one country, then you will need to choose between retaining your citizenship in your country or becoming an Irish citizen. If you choose to become an Irish citizen, then you will have to renounce your citizenship in your country of origin.
Some countries that don’t allow dual citizenship include India, Spain, Lithuania, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Kuwait.
Citizenship by birth is the immigration route to Irish citizenship where the applicant must have been born in the state of Ireland in order to qualify, though different rules apply according to when you were born.
Citizenship by descent is where an applicant can apply for citizenship through parental ancestry. You do not need to have been born in Ireland in order to be eligible for this citizenship route.
In general, Irish immigration offers an approximate turnaround time of 8 weeks for new or renewed passports. However, this is subject to busy periods and whether or not you need to submit further documentation, or are called in to interview. It is therefore wise to avoid booking any trips that require your passport until you have received it.