About citizenship through marriage or civil partnership
If you are in a marriage or civil partnership with someone who already has Irish citizenship, regardless of how they gained this status, you too could be eligible for citizenship.
This branch of citizenship doesn’t fall far from the tree of the ‘citizenship by naturalisation’ route, meaning the application process is similar to the one all foreign nationals go through. The only distinct difference is that applicants can benefit from relaxed residence requirements which in Irish immigration law is called ‘reckonable residence’.
However, it is important to remember that marriage to an Irish national does not grant an automatic right of residence to the State. In fact, the Minister for Justice and Equality reserves the right to grant or refuse any application. Citizenship is only granted in the event the applicant meets a combination of good behaviour, has solid links to the Irish State and can meet a plethora of criteria.
What are the citizenship via marriage/civil partnership key requirements?
To apply for citizenship through marriage or civil partnership, applicants must ensure that they meet all the prerequisites to be deemed eligible:
- You must be aged 18 or over
- You must be married or in a recognised civil partnership with an Irish citizen
- Your marriage/civil partnership must be recognised as valid under Irish law
- You must be able to pass 3 years reckonable residence within the last 5 years of your application which includes 1 year of continuous residence on the island of Ireland immediately before the date of application
- You and your other half must already be cohabiting together as a married couple or as civil partners
- You must be able to prove you are of ‘good character’
- You must have plans to continue living on the island of Ireland which includes making a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State
- You must have kept your registration and immigration permission up-to-date with no gaps in-between
What is the application like?
The application for citizenship through a marriage or civil partnership is relatively similar to that of those seeking citizenship via naturalisation. However, Form 8 is the appropriate immigration form applicants must seek and fill out. This form is then assessed by the Minister for Justice and Equality in Ireland.
To apply, hopeful applicants must first verify if they are a non-visa required national to Ireland. Some people, depending on their origin of birth, do not need a visa to reside in Ireland. In this event, non-visa nationals can simply take their marriage/civil partnership certification alongside their passport and their Irish partner’s passport to a local Garda National Immigration Bureau Registration office.
However, for those who do require a visa, the application is a little more complex as there are reams of supporting evidence and documents that need to be submitted and properly assessed to support their claim.
By entrusting the Immigration Advice Service with your case, your assigned immigration lawyer will be able to walk you through the entire application process if you opt for our unique Application Package. Enquire with us today to see how this package can help you.
What documents are required in the citizenship application?
As part of any immigration application, there are documents that need to be submitted to support your claim.
For those seeking citizenship after marrying or entering a civil partnership with an Irish national, the documents necessary to submit are as follows:
- Birth certificate and original passport – to prove your identity and nationality
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate – to prove your partnership is legally binding to an Irish national and that it is recognised in Irish law
- The birth certificate or naturalisation certification of the Irish citizen – to verify the identity of the Irish partner
In the most part, these documents are to prove that the couple are who they say they are and can back this up. However, the couple must also provide evidence that they are cohabiting together which may entail a sworn affidavit and a portfolio of payslips and bank statements that demonstrate regular payments of utility bills. This is to satisfy the immigration officer that the marriage or partnership is genuine.
The applicant must also prove that he or she is of ‘good character’ and has been living on the island of Ireland for at least 3 years to pass the ‘reckonable residence’ requirement.
What is reckonable residence?
In most aspects of Irish immigration law, hopeful applicants must accumulate ‘reckonable residence’ in order to gain any form of permanent settlement in Ireland.
Citizenship by marriage or civil partnership is no different. Yet such a commitment to an Irish national does come with a minor benefit of having the ‘reckonable residence’ relaxed. In normal circumstances, applicants must have lived on the island of Ireland for at least 5 years to be eligible for citizenship. For those married or formally partnered with an Irish citizen, applicants need to have only resided in the State for a period of 3 years in the past 5 years to qualify for citizenship themselves.
It is important to note that, while applicants must surpass 3 years to be eligible, the last 1 year prior to making the claim for citizenship the applicant must have continually remained within the State. In the 4 years preceding that, the applicant must have amassed reckonable residence amounting to 2 years.
There are some circumstances where living in the State does not automatically count towards the residence period. For example, those who did not have permission to remain in Ireland at the time or those who were in the State for short-term purposes only, such as those on a Study Visa.
Ring the IAS today on (+353) 061 518 025 to see how we can help you sort all your documentation to support your citizenship claim.
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Those seeking citizenship through marriage or a civil partnership should expect to wait no longer than 6 months for a verdict on their application.
Applicants are dealt with in chronological order of receipt and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Failure to submit the right documents or not enough evidence may result in the application being delayed. For this reason, it is always best to seek legal guidance when making any immigration application. If you are concerned with how long the application may take, you can always seek a Fast-Track Application Package with the IAS which will endeavour to send off your application in a speedy turnaround without sacrificing on quality.
The good character requirement is essentially there to ensure that applicants have no ‘undesirable’ immigration or criminal history before making Ireland their home.
The Irish State takes deception particularly seriously and does not recognise a marriage that has been made out of convenience – that is, a marriage or civil partnership that has been deliberately conducted for the sole purpose of immigration advantages into the State.
Those who are seeking such permission to gain entry into the State or to continue their length of stay in Ireland will have their application refused and may even be removed from the State entirely. Any misinformation provided in your application – even innocently – may be scrutinised and used against you on these grounds and may see your citizenship application outright refused.
For this reason, it is integral to seek immigration advice with every immigration application you may make. By entrusting the Immigration Advice Service with your case, you eliminate such risks as your assigned immigration lawyer will verify that you meet all the requirements and that there are no holes in your application that the Minister for Justice and Equality could penalise you for.
Once you have been notified of your newly founded Irish citizenship, you will need to fill out some final documentation and pay a certification fee. You will then be invited to a citizenship ceremony and granted your certificate of naturalisation.
You can then apply for an Irish passport with your certificate of citizenship, granting you Freedom of Movement across all the EU member states and an array of benefits.
If you separate from your Irish spouse or civil partner, this will affect your immigration status and you should notify your Garda National Immigration Bureau Registration Officer within 7 days of any changes being made.
The cost to apply is currently €175 however you should note that your subsequent certificate, if you are successful, costs €950.
It is also important to note that these are base fees for the citizenship application. In most circumstances, there are additional hidden fees that you may face along the way.