Many people across the world are proud of their Irish heritage, but can they actually become an Irish citizen as a result of their ancestry?
Hollywood star John C Reilly recently revealed that he was to become an Irish citizen, despite being ‘one grandparent away’ from being eligible.
So how does a person not from Ireland qualify for Irish citizenship?
There are three main ways for a person to qualify for Irish citizenship – through birth, through marriage or civil partnership or through naturalisation.
According to the Citizen Information website, anybody who has at least one Irish parent or grandparent automatically qualifies for citizenship by descent, but will have to register their birth in the Foreign Births Register.
Citizens of other States such as the UK or USA often worry that they will have to give up their citizenship of the country of their birth if they become an Irish citizen.
However, this isn’t the case. British citizens are allowed to hold dual citizenship and the Irish government does not require a person to renounce their US citizenship when exercising their right to apply for an Irish passport.
If a person doesn’t have recent Irish ancestry – or even any at all – it could still be possible for them to become citizens.
For example, 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.
The parents would not be able to apply for citizenship on the basis of their child’s citizenship
However, they would be able to apply for citizenship through naturalisation when they have lived in Ireland for a total of five of the last nine years – including the full year before they make their application.
If a foreign national is married to an Irish citizen, they only need to live in Ireland for three years before they can apply for Irish citizenship through naturalisation.