Having Irish citizenship comes with a lot of advantages. For one, since Ireland is part of the EU, you would have access to the EU right of free movement and be able to travel, live, and work in any member state of the EU.
Some are lucky enough to be able to obtain Irish citizenship through birth or descent. However, for someone who has no family ties to Ireland, the process of becoming an Irish citizen is a bit more complicated.
There are two main ways someone can become a citizen of Ireland:
- Through naturalization; or
- Through birth or descent
This article will give an overview of how to become an Irish citizen.
Getting Irish Citizenship Through Naturalization
If you do not have any family ties to Ireland, but wish to become an Irish citizen, you can do through naturalisation.
Becoming an Irish citizen through naturalization entails spending a significant amount of time in Ireland (legally!). You must have entered the country on an Irish long stay visa (if you are subject to Irish visas) and obtained an Irish Residence Permit (IRP).
Who is eligible for Irish citizenship through naturalization?
You are eligible to become an Irish citizen through naturalization if:
- At the time of application, you are over 18 years of age.
- You intend to keep living in Ireland even after obtaining citizenship.
- You have gathered sufficient “reckonable residence” in Ireland (see below).
- You have lived in Ireland continuously for the 1 year immediately preceding your application.
- You are the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen and:
- You have been married/in a civil partnership for three years.
- You are living together and have been living together for at least three years.
- You are a legal resident of Ireland (See Ireland Join Family Visa).
- You have lived in Ireland for at least 3 years out of the last 5 years.
How to calculate “reckonable residence”?
Reckonable residence is the number of days you have lived in Ireland before you submit your application for Irish citizenship through naturalization.
In order to qualify for Irish citizenship, you must have lived in Ireland for:
- At least 1825 days (five years) overall in the last nine years; or
- If you are the spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen: At least 1095 days (three years) overall over the last five years; and
- At least 365 days immediately before submitting the Irish citizenship application.
If you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national, you can prove you meet the reckonable residence requirements by adding up the duration of your permission stamps. However, you can only use the following stamps when calculating your reckonable residence:
- Stamp 1
- Stamp 3
- Stamp 4
- Stamp 5
This means that if you spent time in Ireland as a visitor or international student, it will not count towards your reckonable residence.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, you did not have permission stamps on your passport, and as such, you have to prove reckonable residence otherwise: you must submit documents which prove you lived in Ireland during this time, such as:
- Household bills
- Tax returns (P60s or P21s from the Revenue Commissioners)
- Bank statements which prove daily transactions
- Employment letters, payslips
- House renting or tenancy agreement
- Mortgage documents
- A letter from the Private Residential Tenancies Board
All the documents must show your name and address. Any letters from organizations/companies have to be on headed paper (such as bank statements).
You cannot submit letters from friends, or a handwritten letter from your landlord.
How to Apply for Irish Citizenship Through Naturalisation?
You have to submit the Irish citizenship application to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).
There are different application forms which you can download from their website that are specific to your situation, such as:
- Form 8: Application for a person of full age
- Form 9: Application for a minor
- Form 10: Application for a minor of Irish descent or with Irish associations
- Form 11: Application for a minor born in the State who was not entitled to citizenship at birth
After you download and complete the application, you have to sign it. However, you can only sign your application when you are in the presence of someone who can act as a witness (a Commissioner for Oaths, Peace Commissioner, Notary Public or a Practising Solicitor). More information on who can serve as your witness is available on your specific form.
After you sign the application form, you must return it to INIS along with all the required documents that are listed on the application form.
The INIS may ask for more documents when processing your application, and so you should provide them as soon as possible in order for your application to be processed as soon as possible.
You have to pay a processing fee of €175 via bank draft to the Secretary General, Department of Justice and Equality.
Within one week of submitting the application, you will be notified if it passed the initial processing stage. After that, the processing time for Irish citizenship applications is about six months. If more documents are required or you submitted the wrong documentation, the processing time till be delayed.
If your Irish citizenship application is approved, you will be notified via an approval letter. You also have to attend the Citizenship Ceremony and pay the certificate fee:
- For regular applications: € 950
- For an application on behalf of a minor: €200
- For a widow/widower or surviving civil partner of Irish citizen: €200
Applications by refugees or stateless persons are free of charge.
Documents Required for an Irish Citizenship Application
When you submit your application for Irish citizenship through naturalisation, you must attach several documents, such as:
- Application form, signed and dated.
- Irish citizenship application fee.
- Your current passport, and any other passport you help while in Ireland (originals).
- Colored photographs of the biometric pages of all your passports.
- Certified copy of your original birth certificate.
- Two colored pictures, which:
- Are taken in the last 30 days.
- Signed on the back by your witness, confirming they are your pictures.
- A copy of your current Immigrant Registration Card.
- Three different documents proving that you were a resident in Ireland for each of the years you lived there. The documents must show your name, address, and date of issue.
- Mortgage documents, home rental agreements, proof of tenancy, household bills, letter of employment etc.
- Letter from your employer, which states your starting date of employment.
- Copies of 3 recent pay slips.
- Copies of your P60 or tax statement from the Revenue Commissioners for every year you lived in Ireland.
- Copies of bank statements for three months in all your banks in Ireland, dated within the last six months.
- Evidence of marriage/civil partnership to an Irish citizen, if applicable.
- Copy of your online residency checker.
- Proof of registration with the Department of Social Protection for a Public Services Card (PSC).
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and that the documents can change depending on your specific case. Additionally, the INIS can ask for additional documentation afterward, if they see fit.
All the copies of documents required have to be in English or Irish. If they are not, they must be translated. Both the original and the translation have to be provided.
If you have to submit a certified copy of a document, it must be certified by a solicitor, a notary public, commissioner for oaths or peace commissioner.
Irish Citizenship Ceremony
After your application for Irish citizenship is accepted and you have paid the relevant fees, you also have to attend the Irish Citizenship Ceremony.
The Citizenship Ceremony is held twice a year and you will receive an invitation 4 to 5 weeks before. Thousands of foreign nationals become naturalised at these ceremonies.
At the Ceremony, you have to make a declaration of fidelity and loyalty to Ireland, after which you will receive your Certificate of Naturalisation, officially making you an Irish citizen.
Irish citizenship through birth or descent
Even if you aren’t currently living in Ireland, or haven’t lived there previously, you may be entitled to Irish citizenship if you were born in Ireland or if one of your parents or grandparents was an Irish citizen.
Irish citizenship by birth
You can get Irish citizenship by birth if you were born in the island of Ireland. However, the rules regarding Irish citizenship by birth differ based on the year you were born..
If you were born before 1 January 2005, then you are entitled to become an Irish citizen.
If you were born after 1 January 2005, and:
- Your parents were Irish citizens, you are an Irish citizen as well.
- Your parents were foreign nationals, you are entitled to Irish citizenship if your parents were one of the following:
- British citizens.
- Allowed to reside in Ireland legally, and had lived there for at least three of the four years immediately before your birth.
- Given refugee status in Ireland.
Irish citizenship by descent
According to Irish law, if one of your parents or grandparents was an Irish citizen, then you are also entitled to your own Irish citizenship even if you were born outside Ireland.
Irish citizenship from your parents
If one of your parents is an Irish citizen and they were born in Ireland, that makes you an Irish citizen automatically, regardless of where you were born.
However, you are also entitled to Irish citizenship from one of your parents in the following cases:
- If your parent was an Irish citizen born outside Ireland.
- If your parent was an Irish citizen who obtained their own citizenship through naturalization.
Irish citizenship from your grandparents
You can also obtain Irish citizenship from your grandparents, even if neither of your parents was born in Ireland.
How to become an Irish citizen through birth or descent?
In order to have your Irish citizenship recognized, you have to register your birth in the Foreign Births Register of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
You can apply online, via the website of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA). Afterward, you have to print the application form and submit it, along with the required documents, at an Irish embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
If you are in Ireland at the time of application, you can submit the documents to the Consular Section of the DFA in Dublin.
The documents you have to submit include birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce papers, passports, as well as death certificates or naturalization documents of yourself, your parents, and your grandparents, as is applicable. Anything that proves your entitlement to Irish citizenship.
Once your birth has been registered in the Irish Register of Foreign Births, you will get a certificate confirming it. You can use the certificate to apply for an Irish passport.
Ireland dual citizenship
Ireland does not require new Irish citizens to renounce their previous citizenship. As such, you can have Irish dual citizenship, provided that your country of nationality also accepts dual citizenships.
Let’s say you are from the US and have become naturalized in Ireland – in this case, you would have dual citizenship for the USA and Ireland.
However, if you are from Singapore, who does not accept dual citizenship, you could have to renounce your Singapore citizenship before becoming an Irish citizen.
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