A person is automatically an Irish citizen if:
- They were born on the island of Ireland (which includes Northern Ireland) before the 1st of January 2005, or
- If one of their parents was an Irish citizen at the date of their birth and, that parent was born on the island of Ireland.
For persons born on the island of Ireland after the 1st of January 2005, their entitlement to Irish citizenship will depend on their parents citizenship at the date of their birth and/or the residence history of their parent in Ireland before their birth.
A person may be eligible to Irish citizenship if:
- One of their grandparents was born on the island of Ireland, or
- One of their parents was an Irish citizen at the time of their birth but not born on the island of Ireland.
In order to claim Irish citizenship, the persons birth must be registered in the Foreign Birth Register operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA).
In the wake of the UK decision to leave the EU, DFA have established a designated Foreign Birth Register.
Once the person has been entered on the Register they are eligible to apply for an Irish Passport which confirms Irish citizenship.
The spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen may be eligible for Irish citizenship.
Citizenship may also be acquired by:
- Irish descent or association – by being related by blood, afinity or adoption to an Irish citizen.
- Residence abroad in the Irish public service.
- Being a declared refugee or stateless.
A person may also acquire Irish citizenship by way of an application for naturalisation. To be eligible to apply, the person must be legally resident in the State for at least 5 years (60 months) at the date of application with a period of 1 year’s continuous residence immediately prior to the application being made.
It should be noted that a judgment of the High Court of 11th July 2019, held that the 1 year’s continuous residence meant that there should be no period whatsoever spent outside Ireland during that year. This judgment is under appeal and is due to be heard in October 2019. Additionally, the Government hopes to introduce legislation in mid September 2019 to address this issue.
A person who is an Irish citizen is entitled to apply for an Irish passport.