Irish citizenship is a status that allows an individual to enjoy the rights, privileges, and benefits of being an Irish citizen. It’s typically been a status that is automatically applied to all those born on the island (citizenship by birth) or those who have close family and blood ties to Ireland, citizenship through descent. Changes to Irish law in 2005 meant those born in Ireland are no longer ‘automatically’ citizens, but rather are entitled to it, as are those with Irish grandparents.
Applying for Irish citizenship can occur in the two most common (Irish naturalisation and citizenship through descent), as well as descent and marriage to an Irish person. One of the expectations of the majority of applications is a need to have resided in Ireland for a minimum of five years, which is classed as ‘reckonable residence’.
Your eligibility must be proven via a formal process, which an immigration and citizenship lawyer can help you with. Answering the question ‘how to become an Irish citizen’ isn’t an easy one, since the cases are judged carefully and a combination of different supporting factors usually go into a decision.
Irish Citizenship Rules & Criteria
For those living in Ireland, citizenship is a highly sought-after legal status due to the attractive employment opportunities, financial benefits, access to both Europe and the UK, as well as a developed and peaceful pace of life. The benefits of being an Irish citizen aren’t lost on the immigration boards Ireland has to verify qualifying applicants, either! Gaining citizenship can be difficult for those unacquainted with the process. Firstly, the immigration board expects a few basic things from an applicant looking to attain Irish nationality status:
- Must be over 18 years of age.
- Meet the set conditions for residence, or
- Intention to reside in the State or if you are spouse/partner, then an intention to remain on the island with them.
- Possess good character
- Make the declaration of fidelity at a dedicated ceremony for your naturalisation, Ireland-based typically, with a legal witness.
Answering the question of how to apply for citizenship in Ireland is a difficult one to answer in a single article, not just due to the breadth of circumstances under which one can apply. For example, if you’re a dependent adult, or have spent some time in Ireland on a student visa, Stamp 0, and alternative permission, then you’re qualifying time can be different.
To understand the types of citizenship documents you might need, we highly recommend speaking to our dedicated team of friendly and experienced immigration and citizenship lawyers, Dublin and Donegal-based, to understand whether you’re eligible. We’re here to help you every step of the way to gaining the citizenship you’re hoping for. When you’re ready to apply for citizenship, Ireland or otherwise, a lawyer is one of the best assets you can have.
The first step to becoming an Irish citizen is filling out the standard application form. Whether you’re applying for citizenship through descent, special declaration, adoption or you’re trying to become an Irish citizen through marriage, the forms are a foundation for an application to be considered. Knowing how to get Irish citizenship starts with understanding that the following things are expected in pretty much every case:
- Payment for the application is only accepted via bank drafts, as postal orders are now no longer acceptable.
- In-date and expired passports that were used during the 60-month period of residence in Ireland and a certified copy of the biometric page of the current passport the applicant has.
- Copies of P60 forms from each year of residence in Ireland if proof of employment is required.
Typically, Irish citizenship requirements include three major documents that are needed as proof of residency, ireland-based, for each year you’ve lived here, including:
- A mortgage/rent agreement
- Welfare payment receipt
- Household utility bills (e.g. gas, electricity, phone or TV)
- Bank statements
- Letters from employment, to go with a P60
For those applying for Irish naturalisation, a citizenship lawyer can walk you through the process of checking your documentation and proofs to ensure you don’t waste any money on an application that is likely to be turned down.
Why Choose McGinley Solicitors?
McGinley Solicitors are a very experienced and capable team, full of empathetic and experienced citizenship lawyers who have handled countless immigration applications on behalf of clients over the years. We want to speak to you, no matter your situation, where you’re currently living, or how far along the application process you might be. It’s McGinley’s mission to assist and represent people in a range of legal cases to the very highest standards – anything less simply won’t do.
Get in touch with our Dublin or Donegal-based citizenship lawyers today and learn how we can help you.
Irish Citizenship FAQs
Is there an Irish citizenship test?
There is no ‘test’ for Irish citizenship, instead, all you need to do is prove your reckonable residence and verify your good character which is done through individuals willing to verify on your behalf who are also able to prove things like full-time employment as proof of ‘good character.’ Identifying these kinds of people is something Irish citizenship lawyers can help with, too.
It’s also worth looking for an Irish citizenship calculator online, too which is an easier way to tot up the many requirements the process will demand of you, and go into an application with confidence.
Can I apply for Irish citizenship online?
You can kick off the process of Irish citizenship application process online, however, it’s highly likely you’ll have to speak on the phone or in person at some stage. Irish citizenship application tracking can be done online, usually, and the Irish citizenship application form is also easily completed in one sitting before the later, more formal stages. Again, your legal team – should you choose to work with one – can help with a citizenship application, Ireland-centric or dual-nation covering too.
Can I get Irish citizenship through my child?
If you have a child who is an Irish citizen, you can absolutely apply for citizenship, however, you can only do so after three years of residency due to relation via a family tie. You’ll likely be asked to fill out a different Irish naturalisation application and provide certain documents that other citizenship routes won’t require. Again, this is a demonstrable example of how the legal differences that exist can often be a fairly nebulous challenge to overcome – it’s far better to be supported by an experienced lawyer at the time.
Can you obtain dual citizenship with an Irish nationality?
Ireland does indeed cater to dual citizenship applicants. If you want to become a dual citizen, it’s worth doing your due diligence and checking that both countries you want to have nationality in are able to offer this perk. A lawyer is often an excellent support system for something like this, as dual citizenship is typically a lot more of a complex process overall. They can keep you up to date on the citizenship application status, Ireland or otherwise, as well as help you prepare for later stages, too.
Can you apply for Irish citizenship from UK?
The UK is one of the largest routes for both immigration and emigration with Ireland. It’s a well-regulated and clear way to move between countries with permanent residence and, if you reside in the UK, our team are well-equipped to help you out with these highly common applications. You’ll be well on your way to a certificate of naturalization before you know it!
How long does an Irish citizenship application take?
Calculating Irish citizenship application processing time from 2021 onwards is not guaranteed, but can usually be resolved within 12 months. The Irish naturalisation and immigration service, known as the ISD (Immigration Service Delivery), will contact you after several weeks and let you know if the process has been approved in the first few stages.