- What is Citizenship by Birth?
- Do I qualify for Irish Citizenship by birth?
- How do I become an Irish citizen by birth?
- How to get into the Foreign Births Register?
- Foreign Births Register Application Witness
- Cost and Processing Time for Registration in the Foreign Births Register
- How can Total Law help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Citizenship by Birth?
Citizenship by birth is a common route many people take toward Irish citizenship; it simply means becoming an Irish citizen by virtue of your birth or parents.
Irish citizenship by birth is a bit complex as it doesn’t mean everyone born in Ireland is an Irish citizen.
For instance, if you were born in Ireland or any of your parents or grandparent were Irish citizens, you could be eligible for Ireland citizenship. However, you are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship if you were born in Ireland; you are only entitled to be an Irish citizen by birth if you meet the Irish citizenship law requirements.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has strict guidelines in determining if you are not entitled to be an Irish citizen based on birth or descent, most of which we will discuss below.
For assistance with registering as an Irish citizen from Canada, reach out to us today on +1 844 290 6312.
Born in Ireland before 1 January 2005
You will automatically become an Irish citizen by birth if you were born in Ireland before 1 January 2005.
You are also entitled to claim Irish citizenship if you were born in Northern Ireland before 1 January 2005, which implies that you can decide to be an Irish citizen and apply for an Irish passport if you choose to.
Born in Ireland on or after 31 December 2004
If you are on or after 1 January 2005 in Ireland, there is a different requirement to meet. This is because the automatic entitlement to citizenship by birth for everyone born in Ireland stopped in 2004. Anyone born after this time will be granted citizenship based on their parents’ nationality or residence history.
Born to Irish or UK Parent
You are automatically an Irish citizen if either of your parents was Irish or UK citizen at the time of your birth. However, you have the decision to take whether to become a citizen or not if you were born in Northern Ireland to an Irish or British parent. You are also entitled to citizenship by birth if your Irish or UK citizen parent died before you were born.
Born to Parents from outside Ireland and the UK
If you were born in Ireland on or after 1 January 2005, and neither of your parents was an Irish or British citizen, your citizenship by birth entitlement depends on your parents’ history and residence status.
At least one of your parents must have lived in Northern Ireland or Ireland for 3 out of the 4 years before your birth or must have qualified to become a naturalised Irish citizen before you were born.
Born Outside Ireland to an Irish Parent
- You are automatically an Irish citizen by birth if you were born outside Ireland by an Irish citizen or if one of your parents was born in Ireland and was entitled to Irish citizenship.
- Born in Ireland with no right to citizenship in another country.
- You are also entitled to Irish citizenship by birth if you were born in Ireland but not entitled to citizenship of any other country.
Irish Citizenship when you are born Abroad
You are automatically entitled to Irish citizenship by birth if any of your parents was born in Ireland and was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth. You can also claim Irish citizenship by birth if the parent through whom you are entitled to Irish citizenship was deceased before your birth but would have been an Irish citizen if alive at that time.
Born Abroad to Irish Citizen Parent Who was born Outside Ireland
You are entitled to Irish citizenship if you were born outside of Ireland and your parent also born outside Ireland was an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen at the time of your birth. However, you must register in the foreign births register to claim Irish citizenship by birth. In this category, you become an Irish citizen from the day you register your birth. You are only exempted if your parent was abroad in the public service at the time of your birth.
Citizenship through Descent from Irish Grandparents
You can also claim Irish citizenship by ancestry if one of your grandparents (Irish descent) was born in Ireland, but none of your parents was born in Ireland. However, you will need to register your birth to become a full Irish citizen.
Irish Citizenship through Adoption
A child who is not an Irish citizen but adopted by an Irish citizen or a couple where one of the spouses is an Irish citizen is eligible for Irish citizenship by birth. The Irish citizen should apply for their adopted child to be entered into the registry of intercountry adoption if they were living abroad at the time of the adoption. The adoption abroad has the same legal status as the adoption made in Ireland after registration.
Citizenship through Special Declaration
You can also claim Irish citizenship by making a declaration. These instances are:
- You are eligible for Irish citizenship if you were born in Ireland between 2 December 1999 and 31 December 2004 to a foreign national who at the time of your birth was entitled to diplomatic immunity within the State (for example, a foreign ambassador)
- You are eligible for Irish citizenship if you were born between 2 December 1999 and 31 December 2004 in the Irish sea or air space to a foreign national on a foreign ship or in a foreign aircraft.
- If you were born on the island of Ireland and have made a declaration of alienage under Section 21 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 that you are no longer an Irish citizen, you can resume your citizenship by making a declaration using form 1.
How do I become an Irish citizen by birth?
If you were born in Ireland and are eligible for Irish citizenship based on the criteria above, you don’t need to apply for citizenship; what you can do is apply for an Irish passport.
You are to reach out to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to obtain your Irish passport. During the application process, the DFAT will determine if you qualify to approve your application.
On the other hand, if you were born abroad and are eligible for Irish citizenship based on the criteria above, you can become a citizen through registration in the Foreign Birth Register. A foreign birth registration allows you to register your birth and claim Irish citizenship by descent.
You will need to register your birth on the Foreign Births Register if one of your great-grandparents or grandparents was born in Ireland but none of your parents was born in Ireland, or if one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth.
Note that the great-grand-parent or grandparent in question must already be a citizen in that they were born in Ireland before 1 January 2005.
How to get in the Foreign Births Register
To register your birth, you will need to fill out the online application form on dfa.ie, submit all the necessary documents and pay the fees for registration in the foreign birth register.
The supporting documents include the following:
- Original birth certificate with parent’s details
- Certified photocopy of official and current state-issued identification
- Two proofs of address which are not photocopies
- Four passport-sized photographs
However, if you are applying as a guardian on behalf of a child, you must include proof of guardianship to complete the application.
As a guardian, you will need to provide documents of the person you are tracing the person’s citizenship to, whether that person is a parent or grandparent. You will need to provide these documents for submission:
- Original birth certificate
- Original marriage certificate
- Change of name document, if applicable.
- Certified photocopy of current state-based identification or a certified copy of death certificate if the person is deceased
Foreign Births Register Application Witness
When applying for the Foreign Births Register application, an important aspect is to have a witness who will observe your application form and processes. The witness must be a professional, personally known to you, but not a relation. You must sign a copy of the application form before the witness. However, the responsibility of the witness is to:
- Stamp the form with an official stamp.
- Certify that the copy of the state identification is a true copy
- Sign and verify two of the four passport-sized photographs
Not just anyone can be your witness; your witness must be actively working in one of the following professions:
- Garda Síochána/ Police Officer
- School Principal/ Vice-Principal/ Teacher/ School Secretary/ Pre-school Manager/ Montessori Teacher/ Lecturer
- Member of Clergy
- Medical Doctor
- Speech Therapist
- Notary Public/ Commissioner for Oaths
- Peace Commissioner
- Bank Manager/ Assistant Bank Manager or Credit Union Manager or Assistant Manager
- Elected Public Representative
- Chartered Engineer
Cost and Processing Time for Registration in the Foreign Births Register
After you have gathered all the necessary documents, you will need to fill out the application form. After which, you will pay the foreign births register application fee, which is €278 for adults and €158 for those who are under 18.
Foreign Births Register processes applications within six months. However, it can take a longer time, up to 12 months, due to the verification of documents and other processes.
However, if you or your child were born in Ireland after 31 December 2004 and did not meet the requirements for an Irish citizen by birth, you can apply for citizenship by naturalization.
How can Total Law help?
Total Law’s excellent immigration lawyers are vastly experienced in dealing with Irish citizenship by birth applications and can provide advice and support to make your application process smooth.
Our immigration lawyers will help you determine if the Irish citizenship by birth route is right for you and that you meet the eligibility criteria, help you gather the supporting documents to ensure there are no delays or denials, and assist with completing the application for the foreign births register or Irish passport as needed.
Our service also covers advice and support so that if you are not qualified for Irish citizenship by birth as a Canadian, we can check to confirm if you qualify for Irish citizenship by naturalisation and provide bespoke advice in this regard.
For immediate support or advice, call us today at +1 844 290 6312.
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After your application has been processed, you will receive a letter confirming whether it was accepted or rejected. If your application is refused, you will receive a letter of refusal stating the reasons for the refusal.
You may be able to appeal the refusal decision. You would need to submit an appeal letter, which must be submitted within six weeks of the date of the refusal.
You can apply for an Irish passport once you have been registered with the Foreign Births Register while meeting other stated requirements.
Note that if you are entitled to Irish citizenship by birth, you do not need to register your birth on the Foreign Births Register, which means that you can apply for an Irish passport automatically.