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With a variety of routes to Irish Citizenship, Granite Immigration Legal Assistant Jack McClelland explains what route options are available to become an Irish citizen.

Our immigration solicitors assist clients all around the world who wish to gain Irish citizenship through routes such as birth and descent, naturalisation, marriage and civil partnership, and investment routes into Ireland.

Today we look at the most common routes to Irish citizenship.

Why Ireland?

Becoming an Irish citizen means you’re also a member of the EU; you can live, travel and work freely in any EU member state.

You’ll also benefit from all the fundamental rights that our citizens are afforded, including being able to vote and being able to run for public office in Ireland or the European Union.

In 2019, nearly one million Irish passports were issued over 12 months.

That represents a 7% increase in first-time applications from the previous year.

Having been ranked first for attracting high-value FDI projects; Ireland has an excellent reputation as a stable, competitive, pro-business country.

That has helped it become one of the fasted growing economies in the European Union.

Key facts about Ireland

US firms are the largest source of new investment into Ireland; accounting for 67% of all foreign direct investment into Ireland.

Ireland is home to 14 of the 15 top medical tech companies and is ranked 11th in the global scientific ranking for overall quality of scientific research.

The different routes to Irish citizenship are:


  • If you were born on the island of Ireland on or before 31 December 2004 then you are entitled to Irish citizenship, or you are an Irish Citizen.
  • If you are the child of someone born in the island of Ireland on or before 31 December 2004, then you are an Irish Citizen.
  • If you are the grandchild of someone born in the Island of Ireland on or before 31 December 2004, then you are entitled to Irish citizenship through the Foreign Births Register.
  • If you are the great-grandchild of someone born in the island of Ireland on or before 31 December 2004, then you are entitled to Irish citizenship, if your parent has previously registered by the time of your birth on the Foreign Birth Register.
  • If you are born in the Island of Ireland on or after 1 January 2005 then you are entitled to Irish citizenship if one or both of your parents:
  • Is Irish/British or both; or entitled to live in Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland without restriction at the time of your birth.
  • Has been granted refugee status in Ireland.

Naturalisation based on residency

Naturalisation is the process through which a foreign national living in Ireland may apply to become an Irish Citizen.

To apply for naturalisation in Ireland, you usually must have been physically resident in Ireland for a certain length of time.

Eligibility criteria for naturalisation:

  • Age – You must be 18 years or older, or you can apply on behalf of a minor.
  • Character – You must be of good character; you will be asked details of your immigration history and criminal record.
  • Residence in the State: Altogether, you must have five years residence in the last nine years, with one-year continuous residency in the State immediately before your application.

Marriage/Civil Partnership

If you are the spouse or partner of an Irish Citizen who is applying for Irish citizenship, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Marriage or Civil Partnership for at least three years.
  • Altogether you must have a total of three years reckonable residence in the last five years on the island of Ireland.
  • You and your spouse or civil partner must be living together.
  • You must be of full age, good character, and intend to continue living on the island of Ireland.

Foreign Birth Register

You are an Irish citizen if one of your parents was Irish at the date of your birth, and was born on the island of Ireland.

Once a person is entered onto the Foreign Births Register, they are an Irish citizen and entitled to apply for an Irish passport.

If you were born outside Ireland, you could become an Irish citizen in two ways:

  1. If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland.


  1. One of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, even if they were not born in Ireland. Your parent may have claimed citizenship through the Foreign Births Register themselves, or become a citizen through naturalisation.

Investment Route into Ireland

A variety of government-led schemes have been introduced to facilitate residency in Ireland for Non-EEA nationals who commit to an approved investment in the State.

If you want to find out more about Irish citizenship, Brexit and immigration matters, contact our immigration team:

Granite Immigration Law

Granite Immigration Law is part of Granite Legal Services which is a newly established business law practice in Newry City. Our solicitors are UK / Irish dual qualified. We have a dedicated immigration team working on individual and business immigration matters covering a wide range of matters from citizenship to employment permits and EU Treaty Rights.

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