USA and the UK
- Who is eligible for Irish citizenship by birth?
- Irish citizenship by birth to children born abroad
- What is Irish citizenship by descent?
- Can adopted children become Irish citizens?
- What is Irish citizenship through a special declaration?
- What is the Foreign Births Register?
- How can IAS help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for Irish citizenship by birth?
According to Irish law, if you were born in Ireland before 1 January 2005, you are eligible for Irish citizenship by birth. Similarly, if you were born in Northern Ireland before 1 January 2005, you can choose to claim citizenship as well. However, in 2004, the people of Ireland voted to change the law granting Irish citizenship by birth to everyone born in Ireland.
This is why if you were born on the island of Ireland after 31 December 2004, whether or not you are entitled to Irish citizenship depends on the nationality or residence history of your parents and grandparents.
If you were born to an Irish citizen parent or a British citizen parent, you can become an Irish citizen by birth in the following circumstances:
- Either of your parents was an Irish or UK citizen at the time of your birth and you were born in Ireland
- Either of your parents was an Irish or UK citizen at the time of your birth and you were born in Northern Ireland (then you can choose to claim your Irish citizenship)
- Either of your parents was an Irish or UK citizen but died before you were born.
If you were born on the island of Ireland on or after 1 January 2005 to a parent who was not an Irish or UK citizen, you can become an Irish citizen by birth in the following circumstances:
- One of your parents has lived in Ireland or Northern Ireland for 3 out of the 4 years before you were born
- One of your parents had the right to live in Ireland or Northern Ireland without any restrictions at the time of your birth
Irish citizenship by birth to children born abroad
If you were born outside of Ireland but either of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you are automatically an Irish citizen by birth. If the parent who was supposed to pass their Irish citizenship to you was deceased at the time of your birth but would have been an Irish citizen if they had been alive then, you are also an Irish citizen by birth.
These rules apply even if your parent was not born in Ireland themselves but obtained Irish citizenship later on.
To claim your Irish citizenship by birth, you need to have your birth registered in the Foreign Birth Registration. If you are eligible for Irish citizenship by birth, your Irish citizenship is effective from the registration date rather than from the date when you were born.
What is Irish citizenship by descent?
If you were born outside of Ireland and your parents were not Irish citizens but one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, you might be eligible to get Irish citizenship by descent.
To become an Irish citizen by descent, you need to have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register. Once your details are entered into it, you will officially become an Irish citizen and you will be able to get your Irish passport.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to claim Irish citizenship through other ancestors of Irish descent such as cousins, uncles, or aunts. For you to be able to become an Irish citizen by descent, one of your parents or grandparents has to have been an Irish citizen at the time of your birth. Moreover, typically to get your Irish citizenship by descent, you should have a reasonable period of legal residence there, confirming that you have a connection to the country.
Can adopted children become Irish citizens?
If a child who is not an Irish citizen is adopted by an Irish citizen or a couple where at least one person is an Irish citizen, the adopted child becomes an Irish citizen too through Irish associations.
When an Irish citizen living abroad decides to adopt a child there, they need to apply for the adoption to be entered in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions. After they do that, the adoption will have the same status as adoptions made in Ireland. That means that the adopted child will become an Irish citizen.
In a situation where an Irish citizen living in Ireland is waiting for adoption made abroad to be recognized in Ireland, they need to get immigration clearance from the Department of Justice to be able to bring the adopted child into the state. The clearance will be given to adoptive parents only after they complete the assessment procedure and receive a declaration from the Adoption Authority of Ireland.
What is Irish citizenship through a special declaration?
Some people might be able to claim Irish citizenship by making a declaration. To be eligible for this route towards Irish citizenship, one of the following has to apply to your situation:
- You were born in Ireland between 2 December 1999 and 31 December 2004 to a foreign national who, at the time of your birth, had the right to diplomatic immunity in Ireland (for example ambassadors of foreign countries)
- You were born between 2 December 1999 and 31 December 2004 in the Irish sea or Irish air space to a foreign national on a foreign ship or aircraft
- You were born in Ireland and you made a declaration of alienage under Section 21 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956. That means that you made a declaration stating that you are no longer an Irish citizen. In such circumstances, you have the right to resume your Irish citizenship by making a special declaration.
Get in touch with our lawyers and they can help you determine whether you can get Irish citizenship through a special declaration.
What is the Foreign Births Register?
Anyone who is applying for Irish citizenship by birth or descent needs to register their birth in the Foreign Births Register managed by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. Once you complete the registration, you will be considered an Irish citizen from that point onwards.
To register your birth, you need to provide the following documents:
- Your birth certificate
- Photocopy of your passport or national ID
- Two proofs of your address
- Four passport-size photographs
- Birth certificate of the person you want to get citizenship through
- Photocopy of the state-based identification document of the person you want to get citizenship through
- Death certificate if the person you are basing the application on is deceased
If you hire one of our lawyers, they can tell you in detail what documents you need to gather. Thanks to their help, you can be sure that you provide sufficient evidence to confirm your eligibility for your Irish citizenship.
How can IAS help?
At IAS, we have a team of experienced immigration lawyers who have helped many clients successfully claim their Irish citizenship by birth. We can help you determine whether you are eligible and if so, we can guide you through the process of registering your birth in the Foreign Births Register.
If you hire one of our lawyers, they will help you gather all the documents that might be necessary. This way, you can make sure that you provide enough evidence to prove your eligibility for Irish citizenship by birth or descent.
Your lawyer will be around to answer all your questions and clear any doubts you might have. Thanks to their help the whole process will be straightforward and stress-free.
Call us today +1 844 290 6312 and find out more about how IAS can help.
Last modified on October 26th, 2023 at 5:03 am
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If your application for Irish citizenship is unsuccessful, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons for the decision. You will have the right to appeal it. If you wish to do so, you will have to submit an appeal letter within six weeks of the date of the refusal.
Before you begin the appeal process, you should consult an immigration lawyer. They can help you make sure that your case is as strong as possible. Thanks to that you can maximize the chances of your application being eventually approved.
Yes, if your grandfather was an Irish citizen, you can apply for Irish citizenship by descent. To claim your Irish citizenship by descent, you need to have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register.
After your details are entered onto the Foreign Births Register, you will officially become an Irish citizen and you will be able to apply for an Irish passport. The fee for the registration is €278.00 for adults and €153 for those who are younger than 18 years old.
If you are granted citizenship in Ireland through birth to an Irish parent, by decent, or by becoming a naturalised Irish citizen, you will be afforded a variety of rights and privileges which may include:
- Enjoying the rights and freedoms afforded to you by the Irish State
- The ability to work, study, travel, and live freely in both Ireland and the European Union
- Access to free education
- The privilege to vote in upcoming Irish and EU elections
- Irish passport
- Dual citizenship
- The ability to pass your citizenship to your children