Irish Citizenship by Descent for US Citizens

US citizens who were born in Ireland or those born to Irish parents may be Irish citizens by birth.

US citizens who were not born in the Republic of Ireland but who have either or both of their parents as citizens of the country may be able to become Irish citizens by registering their birth on the Foreign Births Register.

For more information about Irish citizenship by descent for US citizens, including what you need to do to be eligible for it, how to apply, and expert advice for your application, reach out to us today on +1 844 290 6312 or online.

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    Overview of Irish Citizenship by Descent for US Citizens

    If they have parent(s) who were born in Ireland. The parents need to be Irish citizens at the time of the applicant’s birth. The applicants are Irish citizens automatically.

    If the applicant is entitled to Irish citizenship through their parents, who died at the time of the applicant’s birth. The parents would have been Irish citizens had they been alive at the time of the applicant’s birth.

    The US citizens who have Irish citizen parents born outside Ireland, but are born outside of Ireland to Irish parents, you are qualified to claim Irish citizenship by descent.

    US citizens must have their foreign births registered in the Ireland Foreign Birth Register. For those who qualify for such registration, their Irish citizenship becomes effective upon successfully registering, not the date of birth.

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    Eligibility Requirements for Irish Citizenship by Descent for US Citizens

    United States citizens who may be qualified to become citizens of Ireland by descent are required to meet the following conditions:

    • You are required to have been born in Ireland before 1 January 2005. Those born before this date are automatically Irish citizens by birth. Those born after the date will have their Irish citizenship depending on their parent’s residence history in Ireland.
    • You are required to have Irish or parents who are citizens of Great Britain at the time of their birth. They are automatically Irish citizens under this circumstance. They can also acquire Irish citizenship if only one of their parents is Irish or British.
    • You have Irish or British citizen parent(s) who died before you were born
    • You have parents who were neither Irish nor British citizens but lived in Ireland or Northern Ireland for 3 out of 4 years before the applicant was born.
    • You have parents who have the rights to live in Ireland or Northern Ireland without any restrictions on their period of residence. This does not include periods spent in Ireland on a student visa or while waiting for a decision on an international protection application.
    • You were born outside Ireland to an Irish parent. This can be either or both of the parents.
    • You were born in Ireland with no right to citizenship of another country.

    Irish Citizenship by Descent from Irish Grandparents

    If a US citizen has an Irish grandparent, then they can claim Irish citizenship by descent – but only if that grandparent was born in Ireland or Northern Ireland.

    It is theoretically possible to claim Irish citizenship through a great-grandparent. However, these applications will only succeed if:

    • The applicant’s great-grandparent was born in Ireland
    • The applicant’s parent obtained Irish citizenship based on the fact that their grandparent (the applicant’s great-grandparent) was an Irish citizen
    • The applicant’s parent had obtained Irish citizenship by the time he/she was born (if born after 1986) or between 1956 and 1986
    • The applicant’s parent had obtained Irish citizenship by the time he/she was born (if born after 1986) or between 1956 and 1986

    If this can be established, then the applicant can obtain Irish citizenship through a great-grandparent by registering with the Irish Foreign Births Register.

    Unless one parent or a grandparent was an Irish citizen when you were born, you do not have an automatic right to Irish citizenship based on extended previous ancestry (that is, antecedents other than your parents or grandparents). Also, it is not possible to claim Irish citizenship based on other familial relationships (e.g. if you have an aunt, cousin or uncle who is Irish). If none of your parents or grandparents had Irish citizenship at the time of your birth, this can not be actualized.

    Documents Required from US Citizens to Acquire Irish Citizenship by Descent

    Overview

    • Completed, signed and witnessed application form
    • Birth certificate (showing parental details)
    • Marriage certificate or other change of name document (if applicable)
    • Photocopy of state-issued ID document (i.e. passport, driver’s license, national identity card) certified as a true copy of the original by application
    • 2 separate original proofs of address
    • 4 color photographs (2 of which need to be witnessed)

    Documents relating to the Irish citizen Parent:

    • Birth certificate of Irish citizen parent
    • Marriage certificate of Irish citizen parent or other change of name document (if applicable)
    • Photocopy of ID document (i.e. passport, driver’s license, national identity card) certified as a true copy of the original by a witness or original civil death certificate (if applicable)

    Documents relating to the Grandparent born in Ireland

    • Birth certificate of Irish-born grandparent (showing parental details)
    • Civil marriage certificate of Irish-born grandparent OR other change of name document (if applicable)
    • Photocopy of a valid state-issued identity document (i.e. passport, driver’s license, national identity card). This must be certified as a true copy of the original by a witness or an original civil death certificate (if applicable).

    Application Procedure for Irish Citizenship by Descent

    US citizens who meet the Irish citizenship requirements can claim Irish citizenship by going through the following process:

    Step 1: Register Your Birth on the Foreign Births Register

    Before claiming Irish citizenship, you must register your birth in the Foreign Births Register.

    Step 2: Fill Out The Application for Irish Citizenship by Descent

    After registering your foreign birth, fill out the application form online, print out the form, and send it via mail along with your documents, photos, and fee.

    Step 3: Receive Your Certificate

    You will receive a certificate confirming your birth registration on the Irish Register of Foreign Births.
    Your citizenship will be effective from when you registered and you can then pass down Irish citizenship to the next generation.

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    As a US citizen, if you believe you're eligible for Irish citizenship by descent, our advisors are here for you. Contact Us

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      How to Get your Irish Passport

      Your citizenship does not automatically come with an Irish passport, but you are now eligible for obtaining one.

      US residents have to apply via Passport Online portal.

      US citizens claiming Irish citizenship need to include the following documents:

      • birth certificate
      • civil marriage or partnership certificate
      • Irish-born parent’s birth certificate and
      • parents’ civil marriage certificate

      If you obtained Irish citizenship through the foreign birth registration, include these documents:

      • birth registration certificate
      • birth certificate
      • civil marriage or partnership certificate and passport

      A standard 10-year, 32-page passport will cost €75. For the larger 66-page passport, you will have to pay €105.

      You can, however, apply for citizenship based on Irish associations, which is at the discretion of the Minister. Irish association means that you are related by blood or through adoption to an Irish citizen.

      If you are considering making an application based on Irish descent or association, you should note the following:

      • You should have a reasonable period of legal residence in Ireland (at least 3 years) to show that you have a connection to Ireland.
      • Applications based on descent from an Irish citizen going further back than a great-grandparent are generally refused.
      • Applications based on being the parent or grandparent of an Irish citizen (by ‘ascent’), or the brother or sister of an Irish citizen are generally refused.
      • Applications based on Irish descent or associations can take up to 30 months to process.
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      Irish citizenship through adoption

      According to the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, if a non-Irish child is adopted by an Irish citizen (or a couple where either spouse is an Irish citizen), then the adopted child can be an Irish citizen.

      If an Irish citizen who is living abroad adopts a child abroad, they should enter the adoption in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions. Once it is registered, the adoption has the same legal status as if the adoption was made in the US.

      If an Irish citizen living in the US is in the process of having a foreign adoption recognised here, certain immigration procedures must be observed. In order for the adopted child to enter the State, you must get immigration clearance in advance from the Department of Justice.

      This clearance will only be granted once the adoptive parent(s) proposing to adopt abroad have successfully completed the assessment procedure and have had a declaration made in their favor by the Adoption Authority of Ireland. This is called an intercountry adoption.

      Our expert lawyers can answer any of your questions about immigrating from the US to Ireland. Contact Us

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        How Can Total Law Help?

        Applying for Irish citizenship by descent for Americans can be a complicated process. You may require assistance to ascertain the documentation submission and certain application procedure. Total Law can help you understand the procedure clearly and assess the ways in which you are eligible.

        We are a formidable team of professional and knowledgeable immigration lawyers who have years’ worth of experience working in Irish immigration law. We have helped countless people overcome hurdles of acquiring Irish citizenships, and we can help you to do the same, too.

        Whether you need expert advice on how to prove your ancestral relationships or you meet the requirements after having been born outside Ireland, or you need help determining how to prove suitability to apply after being away from Ireland for some time, we can be of help.

        For more information about Irish citizenship by descent for US citizens, including what you need to do to be eligible for it, how to apply, and expert advice for your application, reach out to us today on +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online.

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