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Becoming Irish through Citizenship

The Irish passport has been ranked as one of the strongest in the world sharing sixth place with Malaysia, Canada and the US offering visa-free travel to 185 countries! There has also been a significant rise in Irish passport applications following the 2016 UK referendum on leaving the European Union. Brexit resulted in a massive surge in Irish passport applications from British citizens, many of whom are entitled to apply based on their parents having been born in Ireland. Other people quickly sought to naturalize as Irish citizens based on their marriage or Irish relations.

Obtaining Irish citizenship can be an attractive prospect, opening doors to a life in Ireland as well as the rest of the European Union. We have been able to help hundreds of clients secure an Irish passport through applying for citizenship. The process of applying for Irish citizenship can be complex at times and we have seen a particular demand for our services from people resident in Northern Ireland, other parts of the UK and the US.

A large part of our work focuses on the rights and entitlements attaching to Irish citizenship for Northern Irish based residents stemming from rights laid down in the Good Friday Agreement.

We are delighted to see this part of our business offering grow and look forward to continuing to work closely with our clients to help them secure Irish citizenship.

How to obtain Irish Citizenship?

There are a number of ways to gain Irish citizenship, including:

Born in Ireland

Marriage to an Irish Citizen

Irish Parents

Irish Grandparents

Residency in Ireland

Born on the Island of Ireland

If you were born on the island of Ireland before 1st January 2005, you have the automatic right to claim dual citizenship in Ireland. This means if you were born in Ireland but then immigrated to another country regardless of their citizenship, you’re still eligible to apply for dual citizenship.

So, if you were born on the island Ireland, but none of your family are of Irish decent, you’re still eligible to apply for dual nationality based simply on the fact you were born here.

However, anyone born after the 1st January 2005 does not have this automatic right to Irish citizenship. After this date, the residency and citizenship history of your family is taken into account when an application based on birthplace is received.

Living in Ireland for an extended period of time

If you have lived in Ireland for an extended period of time, you can become an Irish national by naturalisation.

In order to qualify, you much have spent 1 year continuously living in Ireland before the date of your application and have spent 4 of the previous 8 years before that living recognisably in Ireland. Altogether, you need to have spent 5 out of the last 9 years living in Ireland.

You must also be over 18 years old, intend to remain in Ireland after the naturalisation process and be of ‘good character’. The Garda Síochána will complete a background check at the point of your application and any criminal history will be taken into account when your application is received.

So, if you were born on the island Ireland, but none of your family are of Irish decent, you’re still eligible to apply for dual nationality based simply on the fact you were born here.

Irish Parents

If one or both of your parents were Irish citizens at the time of your birth, regardless of where you were born, you can apply for Irish citizenship.

You can also apply for Irish citizenship if your parents are Irish citizens now but were not born in Ireland.

Irish Grandparents

If you have or have had an Irish-born grandparent, you may apply for Irish citizenship although the process can be slightly more complicated than the aforementioned process.

To apply for Irish citizenship this way, you need to have your birth registered in the foreign births register. After the 1st July 1986, anyone registered in the Foreign Births Entry Book is deemed to be an Irish citizen from the date their name is entered in the Register and not from the date of birth. This means that anyone born to that person before his/her date of entry in the Register is not entitled to citizenship.

Dual Citizenship

If you are able to apply for Irish Citizenship you should check whether another country with which you hold citizenship allows you to retain that citizenship. In most cases, you can become a dual citizen. For example, if you are a US citizen and apply successfully for Irish citizenship, you can retain your American citizenship too. Ireland, the UK and the United States all recognise dual citizenships, meaning you don’t have to give up your rights in one of the countries to have the same rights in both. This means you can become and Irish citizen but remain living in the USA or UK, allowing you to travel throughout Ireland and the European Union.

Renouncing your Irish Citizenship

There are situations where you might need to renounce your Irish citizenship, whether it’s dual or full, due to taking citizenship in another country that doesn’t support dual citizenship agreements. If you leave Ireland to live in another country where only one type of citizenship is recognised, we can help you with the renouncing of your Irish citizenship, and also the re-establishing of it if you choose to return.

Marriage to an Irish National

To claim Irish citizenship by marriage or civil partnership, you must have been married to, or in a civil partnership with your Irish partner for over 3 years.

You must have had one year of continuous, recognisable residence in Ireland before the date of your application, and you must have been living in Ireland for 2 years before the year of continuous residence.

This means that all together, over the last 5 years, you need to have spent 3 years reckonable residency in Ireland with your spouse before you can apply for Irish citizenship this way.

Contact our Expert Lawyers for more information on how you could apply for Citizenship.

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