Tens of millions of people across the world have Irish heritage and many of them actually qualify for Irish citizenship – even if they have never set foot in Ireland.
Many people like to exercise this right in order to feel more closely linked to their heritage.
It could also have practical advantages such as if a person wanted to live and work in Ireland – or any European country in the EU – having Irish citizenship would entitle them to do so without needing to apply for a visa.
Many of our readers have asked us about how a foreign national would qualify, the process of acquiring citizenship and whether there would be any negative impact on their situations.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
How does a person qualify for Irish citizenship?
There are three main ways to qualify for citizenship: birth, marriage or naturalisation.
How do I qualify through birth?
Anybody who has at least one Irish parent or grandparent automatically qualifies for citizenship by descent.
People who fit this criteria would need to register their birth in the Foreign Births Register. Click here for more information Click here for more information
Will I lose my UK citizenship if I become an Irish citizen?
British citizens are allowed to hold dual citizenship, so a British person with an Irish parent or grandparent could hold dual British and Irish citizenship.
Will I lose my US citizenship if I become an Irish citizen?
The Irish government does not require a person to renounce their US citizenship when exercising their right to apply for an Irish passport.
Can my child qualify to be an Irish citizen even though neither parent holds Irish citizenship?
If a baby is born in Ireland to two foreign parents, the child will be entitled to Irish citizenship as long as the parents have lived and worked in Ireland for three of the four years up to the child’s birth.
Could I qualify for Irish citizenship if my child is an Irish citizen?
Foreign nationals would not be able to apply for Irish citizenship solely on the basis of their child’s citizenship.
Can I qualify through marriage or civil partnership?
People from overseas who are married to an Irish citizen would need to apply for citizenship through naturalisation.
If you are married or in a civil partnership with an Irish citizen the residence requirements for naturalisation become less stringent. Click here for more information
What documents do I need to provide to apply through marriage or civil partnership?
You will need to provide documents that prove your partner’s status as well as evidence of the marriage.
Your spouse must complete a sworn affidavit that you are living together as a married couple or civil partners.
You will also need to provide your last three months of payslips and bank statements as evidence of your financial and employment status and confirmation of your income tax situation.
How do I qualify for Irish citizenship through naturalisation?
If you have lived in Ireland for at least one year before the date of your application as well as a total of four of the previous eight years (total five years of the previous nine) you can be considered for Irish citizenship through naturalisation. Click here for more information
What if I am married or in a civil partnership with an Irish citizen?
In this case you may be able to gain citizenship in a smaller time frame. As before, you need to have lived in Ireland for at least one year before the date of your application.
However, you will only need to have lived in Ireland for two of the previous four years – so three of the five years leading up to your application.