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Irish Citizenship Requirements

Irish Citizenship Requirements

There are multiple ways to lay a claim your Irish heritage and gain Irish Citizenship, which once achieved comes with many advantages within the State and even manoeuvrability across the European continent.

Contact us on (+353) 061 518 025 to see how we can assist you in achieving citizenship in Ireland and gaining a powerful Irish passport. We can talk to you on the phone, over skype or face-to-face, whichever way suits your circumstances best.

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About Irish Citizenship

Being born in Ireland does not automatically entail Irish citizenship, nor does being European or being married to an Irish national.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways applicants can register their right and gain citizenship. However, each route necessitates a wide range of eligibility criteria to be met in order to be successful. The main pathways into citizenship can be defined into two distinct categories, continuous residency and familial lineage, but there are alternative ways to apply too.

Gaining citizenship in Ireland comes with an array of benefits and signifies the end of visa troubles and work permit worries. Anyone who gains Irish citizenship enjoys the same rights and freedoms as those who have been Irish since birth, including owning an Irish passport, exercising Free Movement between the EU member states and gaining the right to vote and the chance to stand for political office in the State. The Irish passport boasts being one of the most advantageous passports in the world, opening the doors with visa-free travel to over one-hundred other countries.

However, regardless of route or born nationality, there are high requirements to be fulfilled in order to successfully gain citizenship.

How can IAS help me gain citizenship in Ireland?

The Immigration Advice Service specialises in nationality and family immigration law and so is well-equipped to help you achieve your Irish citizenship, no matter the intricacy of your family tree.

Whether you would prefer an advice appointment, a document check or a full application lowdown, IAS can tailor its advice sessions with an accredited immigration lawyer that is suited to your needs. We can also write a Letter of Representation on your behalf to accompany your application which highlights the merits of your character and case to the Irish Embassy.

Ring us today on (+353) 061 518 025 to streamline what would otherwise be a complex process.

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What are the general requirements for Irish citizenship?

As a basic rule of thumb, if you or your parent were born on the island of Ireland prior to 2005, you are automatically an Irish citizen. This means you can apply for an Irish passport without making an application for citizenship.

For those born after 1 January 2005, claiming an Irish passport is not so easy as applicants must satisfy certain criteria in order to be registered as an Irish citizen.

Generally speaking, these requirements include:

  • Passing the ‘good character’ test
  • Outlining a commitment to the State and its laws
  • Meeting ‘reckonable residence’ in the appropriate timeframes

In addition, applicants’ right to citizenship largely depends on their individual birthrights and circumstances. For example, some may be eligible for Irish citizenship through descent and familial history, others through marriage or partnership and some via naturalisation.

What are the requirements for Irish citizenship by marriage or civil partnership?

Under the naturalisation category, some spouses and civil partners are able to seek Irish citizenship.

However, unlike most routes to citizenship, having an existing and certifiable relationship with an Irish national strengthens an applicants’ case and streamlines the entire process. This means the ‘reckonable residence’ requirement is usually relaxed from five years to three years in most instances.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Pass 3 years reckonable residence including 1 year of continuous residence on the island of Ireland
  • Have been married to, or in a civil partnership with, an Irish citizen for at least 3 years
  • Have been cohabiting and are still living together in an ongoing marriage/civil partnership of no less than 3 years
  • Be 18 or over
  • Be a legal resident in the State
  • Have kept your registration and immigration permission up-to-date with no gaps

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for Irish citizenship. Contact us

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What is the ‘good character’ requirement?

Successfully gaining citizenship to the State does not come without its trials and tribulations. One of these key hurdles involve surpassing what is known as the ‘good character’ requirement which, if handled incorrectly or poorly, could turn disastrous for any citizenship or future immigration application made.

The ‘good character’ test is a background check which verifies that you are of sound character and someone who holds no adverse criminal records, including an unfavourable immigration history. However, if you do have any offences under your belt, it is best to disclose your past in full honesty to avoid being penalised. In the arena of immigration law, past offences that usually will have been ‘spent’ actually do not expire when it comes to making a nationality claim. Failure to mention any past wrongdoing – no matter how big or how small – therefore may come back to jeopardise your entire citizenship application, including putting a travel ban in certain areas on you for a period of time.

Ultimately, this test is arguably the hardest barrier to overcome when gaining citizenship to Ireland as the State scrutinises your credibility, merits, community contributions, work contributions and criminal history to support your claim that you are of ‘good character’. So put your trust in IAS to help you pass this test by making an inquiry today and to see if you meet the requirement.

What is citizenship by naturalisation?

By contrast to birth or descent, claiming citizenship by naturalisation usually has little to do with your birth status and everything to do with your ‘reckonable residence’ and formed family ties. In other words, applicants eligible for Irish citizenship by naturalisation have ‘naturally’ built the foundations of their claim over time by virtue of legally living in the State for a significant amount of years or by being married to an Irish citizen, for example.

As a rule of thumb, the main requirement entails applicants proving that they have been legally residing in Ireland for at least five out of the last nine years. They must also have one solid continuous year of residency immediately before the application date. Both of these requirements can be satisfied by documenting immigration permission stamps in the applicants’ passport.

Once the applicant is successful, they are then invited to a Citizenship Ceremony where he or she is granted a Certificate of Naturalisation. In this formal procedure, the newly proclaimed Irish citizen must then make a declaration of fidelity to the State and loyalty to abide by Ireland’s laws.

The Immigration Advice Service is well-versed in navigating through the requirements you need to overcome to gain citizenship and security. Our immigration lawyers provide expert advice and guidance through every step of your citizenship application. Call us today on (+353) 061 518 025 to find out more.

How do I pass ‘reckonable residence’ in my citizenship application?

As is common with most ways into permanent immigration status in most countries, applicants in the Republic of Ireland must have lived in the State for a specific amount of time in order to constitute as a permanent resident – including citizenship.

Typically speaking, to be considered for Irish citizenship you must have lived in the State for at least 5 years (1825 or 1826 days) out of 9 years and on long-term immigration status. Residing in the State on a Work Permit or Family Visa will usually contribute significant time periods when accumulating the 5 years necessary, however, any time spent visiting on a Short Term ‘C’ Visa or studying in the State usually will not count. Applicants are able to prove their reckonable residence to the Minister for Justice and Equality by showing their immigration stamp history into Ireland.

In addition, you must not have left Ireland for significant periods of time prior to applying. This includes visits and holidays which must not extend beyond six weeks outside of Ireland in total in the final year of your application. Any absences require a thorough explanation in your application.

Only in some certain circumstances can the continuous residency requirement be relaxed.

What are the requirements for Irish citizenship through birth or descent?

Claiming Irish citizenship through birth and/or descent differs slightly from applying via naturalisation. Although on paper it appears you may be entitled to citizenship, you may first need to register this right and have your familial history assessed. In other words, citizenship is a right that is not automatically granted or given.

The requirements and conditions of this category, however, vary within itself as it largely depends on the applicants’ nationality, their parents’ nationality and/or where their grandparents were born, and then providing substantial proof to back up this ancestral or birth claim.

To pass the requirements for citizenship by descent, at least one of your grandparents or one of your parents must have been an Irish citizen at the time of your birth. In this case, you can register your birth to the Foreign Births Register. However, it is important to note that you cannot go further back than your grandparents in your family tree but you can still register this right even if your Irish family member has since deceased.

Registering via the Foreign Births Register can be an overwhelmingly complex process as it can involve delving into your family tree over three generations and providing documentary proof that you have or had kin belonging to the country. This may involve providing Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates of many family members to prove your descent.

If you wish to find out how you can become an Irish citizen, please don't hesitate to contact us. Learn more

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Frequently Asked Questions

For EEA/EU/Switzerland nationals who usually do not need immigration permission and stamps to enter, work and live in the country, proving reckonable residence can be a little challenging. However, rather than documenting stamp history, European and Switzerland applicants can satisfy reckonable residence by providing proof of addresses for each of the required five years.

Applicants may also draw upon mortgage or rent bills as well as utility payments as supporting evidence that they have been living in Ireland for the time required.

By definition, a dependent is someone who solely relies on someone else such as parents for accommodation and general living expenses.

It is possible to apply for citizenship as a dependent young adult if you are:

  • Aged between 18 to 23
  • Entered the State legally on some other form of immigration status and as part of a family unit
  • Studying in Ireland in secondary school or if you moved into third level education in the State
  • Continuously dependent on your parents

To achieve citizenship for a child who is under 18, their legal guardian or parent must submit their application on their behalf. This is possible if:

  • The child’s parents have already been naturalised
  • The child is of Irish descent or has ‘Irish associations’
  • The child has established 5 years reckonable residence

To apply for Irish citizenship can be costly – especially since you do not receive a refund in the event that your application is declined.

At a base cost, the application itself comes with a fee of €175.

In addition, successful applicants must also pay to receive their Certificate of Naturalisation which costs:

  • €950 for an adult
  • €200 for a minor
  • €200 for a widow, widower or surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen
  • €0 for a refugee or stateless person

There are no exceptions to the costs and fees cannot be waived or reduced.

Waiting times can differ as each application is combed through by the Irish Embassy on a case-by-case basis. Unless you have opted to fast-track your application, the State handles each application chronologically.

In most cases, it takes up to 6 months for an application to be processed if it is relatively straightforward. However, any errors made in the application will greatly delay the process while complex cases may take further time to thoroughly assess by the Irish government.

To reduce the possibility of your citizenship application taking excessively long to process, it is best to seek an immigration advisor to guide you through your application from start to finish. This eliminates the risk of submitting false or incorrect documentation which only adds extra time to your waiting period.

One of the many benefits of gaining citizenship in Ireland is that you do not need to renounce citizenship from your birth country. Instead, you can have Dual Citizenship.

This means it is possible for you to secure both an Irish passport and your passport from home country providing your birth country reciprocates this right, too.

Once you have successfully applied for citizenship, the Irish Embassy will grant you with Stamp 6 permission which means you will have full permission rights to remain in Ireland indefinitely.