British Citizenship by Descent for Irish Citizens
People born outside of the United Kingdom may qualify to obtain UK citizenship based on their parent’s or grandparents’ immigration status and nationality. Depending on your circumstances, you may have the automatic right to British citizenship by descent, and in others, you may obtain it through the process of registering your citizenship in the UK.
If you were born in Ireland but believe you may be eligible for British citizenship by descent, contact Total Law for personalised advice from qualified immigration experts. Call (+353) 061 518 025 or use the online contact form to get immediate assistance with the citizenship registration process.
- What is British Citizenship by Descent?
- Who Can Automatically Acquire British Citizenship by Descent?
- Who is Eligible to Register for British Citizenship by Descent?
- Who is Eligible for Citizenship by Double Descent?
- How You Can Register for British Citizenship by Descent
- Required Documents
- Who Must Attend the British Citizenship Ceremony?
- Costs and Fees
- Processing Times
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is British Citizenship by Descent?
British citizenship by descent is citizenship that is available to those who are born outside of the UK but meet certain eligibility requirements based on their parent’s or grandparent’s nationality or immigration status. Citizenship by descent can be automatically acquired when British parents pass their citizenship on to their children. In some cases, citizenship is not automatically acquired but can be achieved through registration. The requirements for British citizenship by descent are determined based on the date and location of a person’s birth along with the immigration status or nationality of their parents and grandparents.
When you obtain British citizenship by descent, you have most of the same rights as other British citizens under UK law. Irish citizens who obtain British citizenship by descent are permitted to:
- Remain in the country permanently
- Work paid or unpaid jobs in the UK
- Travel throughout the EEA and in and out of the UK without restriction
- Apply for a UK passport if they are otherwise eligible
- Vote in UK elections
- Access UK public funds and services
However, individuals who acquire citizenship by descent are unable to pass their citizenship status on to any children born outside of the UK.
Irish citizens have many rights in the UK as part of the European Union common area, however, many Irish nationals born to a qualifying British citizen parent or grandparent wishing to register for UK citizenship. A qualified immigration lawyer who can guide you through the citizenship registration process.
Who Can Automatically Acquire British Citizenship by Descent?
Some individuals born outside of the UK may automatically acquire British citizenship by descent without applying or registering. This includes applicants who are described by the following:
- Have one or both parents who were UK citizens at the time of their birth.
- Their birth date was on or after July 1st, 2006.
- Their birth year was prior to 1983.
- Their father was a UK citizen at the time of their birth.
- They were adopted on or after January 1st, 1983.
- At least one parent was a UK citizen at the time of their birth.
Who is Eligible to Register for British Citizenship by Descent?
Under the British Nationality Act, Irish individuals who meet the following criteria may be eligible to register for British citizenship by descent:
- Irish citizens born prior to the year 1983
- Your parents were unmarried at the time of your birth, or your mother was a UK national and your father was a foreign national.
- At least one of your parents was a UK national at the time of your birth.
- At least one of your parents has British citizenship otherwise than by descent, or one of your parents was employed by the British Crown service at the time of your birth.
- Your birth date was between the years 1983 and June 2006
- Your parents were unmarried at the time of your birth, but your father held British citizenship otherwise than by descent or was employed as a Crown servant.
- You were born outside the UK
- Your birth date was on or after July 1st, 2006
- One of your parents was a British citizen who lived in the UK before you were born
- You have lived in the UK with your parents or you were adopted outside of the UK
All applicants should meet the requirement for good character. Determining eligibility for British citizenship can be difficult. A qualified immigration lawyer at Total Law can assess your situation and recommend the best route to British citizenship for your circumstances.
Who is Eligible for Citizenship by Double Descent?
Individuals who are applying for UK citizenship on the basis of their grandparent’s immigration status may be eligible for citizenship of double descent. Qualifying factors for this category are:
- Birth date
- Location of birth
- Your family member’s marriage and immigration status
Eligibility for citizenship by double descent can be difficult to confirm. Working with a qualified immigration lawyer is the best way to ensure that you meet the strict requirements for eligibility in this category.
How You Can Register for British Citizenship by Descent
If you meet the eligibility requirements to register for British citizenship by descent, you will need to follow several steps in the application process to apply online. It is possible to apply by post but the processing time can be significantly longer.
A qualified immigration lawyer can guide you through the application process to ensure you are proceeding in the best way and have the highest chances of a successful application according to current immigration guidelines and your personal circumstances.
- Gather your supporting documentation.
- Go to the UK government website and carefully complete the online application form UKF.
- Upload your supporting documents using the online system.
- Pay the citizenship application fee.
- Schedule and attend a biometric information appointment. At your appointment, you will have your fingerprints and photograph taken for your biometric residence permit.
- Wait for your application for citizenship to be processed.
- If your application is approved, you are required to schedule a UK citizenship ceremony unless you are otherwise exempt. You can also contact the UK home office to arrange a private citizenship ceremony for an additional fee.
- Once you have obtained your UK citizenship certificate, you will have dual citizenship unless you wish to renounce your Irish nationality. You can apply for your UK passport using your identifying documents and proof of citizenship.
Applicants for UK citizenship must provide a number of supporting documents to prove their identity and claim for citizenship. The UK Home Office will look over your documents carefully to ensure that the information matches the statements on your citizenship application. Inaccurate or incomplete documents are a common reason for applications being rejected. An immigration advisor can help you to gather the appropriate documents for your case and ensure the best chances of approval. Documents required when applying for British citizenship by descent may include:
- Birth certificates, marriage certificates, civil partnership certificates, divorce certificates, death certificates, and adoption certificates
- Current and previous passports
- Proof of your current Irish citizenship
- Extra passport-sized photographs
- Proof of the British nationality of your family members
- Proof that you meet the requirement for good moral character
- Proof of a passing score on the Life in the UK test
- Bank statements or financial statements
- Biometric Information
- Proof of residency
Applicants will be required to provide certified translations of copies for all documents that are not originally in English or Welsh languages.
Who Must Attend the British Citizenship Ceremony?
Generally, new British subjects are required by law to attend a citizenship ceremony. At the ceremony, you will receive your certificate of citizenship and pledge an oath of allegiance to the UK. Some individuals are exempt from this requirement, including:
- Children under the age of 18
- The elderly
- Disabled persons with an official letter from a doctor detailing their condition
Individuals exempt from attending a citizenship ceremony will receive their citizenship certificate by mail. Private citizenship ceremonies may be arranged for an additional fee by contacting the UK home office.
Costs and Fees
There are a number of costs and fees associated with applying for citizenship by descent. Citizenship application fees vary depending on the applicant’s circumstances. Generally, the fees associated with registering for UK citizenship are:
- £1,206 application fee – adults over the age of 18
- £1,012 application fee – children under the age of 18
- £80 UK citizenship ceremony fee, mandatory for adult applicants
- Approximately £19.00 for biometric information
- £49 UK passport fee when applying online, £58.50 when applying by post
Some applicants may be able to have their citizenship application waived based on financial need, including children who are under the age of 18 provided they meet the other requirements for eligibility. Keep in mind that you may incur additional fees during the process of applying for citizenship, such as for the translation of documents.
Generally, processing times for citizenship by descent for Irish nationals can take between 3 to 6 months when applying online using the application form at the UK government website. Applying by post can cause the processing time to be significantly delayed. Application processing may be delayed due to natural circumstances, missing documents, inaccurate information, or additional information required due to a more complex case, such as when the applicant has a criminal history or special situation.
Once your citizenship application is approved you must schedule a citizenship ceremony to receive your certificate of citizenship. If you choose to apply for a British passport, the process can take up to five weeks. Note that you may be able to pay a fee for expedited passport processing depending on your circumstances.
How Can Total Law Help?
At Total Law, our team of qualified immigration experts will help guide you through the application process for British citizenship by descent.
Get top-quality advice on the process of applying to become a citizen in the UK based on your parent’s or grandparent’s nationality.
Your Total Law advisor will ensure that you submit the best application possible.
For further information, contact us at (+353) 061 518 025 or use our online contact form to get in touch with a qualified immigration lawyer today.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, currently Irish citizens who apply for British citizenship have to attend a citizenship ceremony and pay all fees required of other foreign nationals, although this may change in the future.
Yes. British subjects who acquired UK citizenship by descent have most of the same rights as other British citizens, including the right to live, work, and study freely in the UK. Irish citizens can generally work in the UK with or without British citizenship as the UK is part of the EEA common travel area agreement.
If you are a dual citizen of the UK and Ireland, you must apply for your British passport the same way you applied for your Irish passport. British passports are available for all eligible British citizens, including dual citizens of two countries including the UK. You can submit your certificate of citizenship and other identifying documents to the UK home office with your passport application. You may be able to pay a fee to receive expedited passport processing service depending on your circumstances.