Ireland has a long history and is a cosmopolitan country. It has a diverse population, and its economy is growing. It is not surprising that many people from all over the world want to become citizens of Ireland. Irish citizenship has several benefits, including the freedom to live and work in Ireland, access to healthcare and education, and unrestricted travel throughout the European Union.
This article reviews everything you need to know about gaining Irish citizenship, from eligibility requirements to application processes and benefits.
To qualify for Irish citizenship, you must meet specific prerequisites. The most common ways to become an Irish citizen are through birth or descent. If you were born there, you automatically have Irish citizenship. If one of your parents or grandparents was an Irish citizen and you were born outside of Ireland, you can be qualified for Irish citizenship.
Naturalization is a different route to Irish citizenship. You must have spent at least five years in Ireland to be awarded naturalization.
You must have maintained continuous legal residence in Ireland during that time and not have spent more than six consecutive months outside of Ireland, or more than 12 consecutive months overall, over those five years.
After three years of residing in Ireland and being married to an Irish citizen, you can be eligible for Irish citizenship. You must have been married to an Irish citizen for at least three years and have lived together for at least three years if you are an Irish citizen's spouse and residing outside of Ireland.
Benefits of Irish Citizenship
The right to live and work in Ireland, access to healthcare and education, and unrestricted travel within the European Union are just a few advantages of Irish citizenship. Additionally, Irish residents are entitled to vote in Irish elections and occupy public office there.
Worldwide, Irish citizenship is highly prized. According to the Henley Passport Index, it is regarded as one of the most desirable passports, coming in sixth place globally. Irish nationals can enter 187 nations without a visa or with one obtained upon arrival, making Ireland a popular choice for travellers.
Application Process for Getting Citizenship in Ireland
Getting citizenship in Ireland involves following several steps. Here is a detailed guide on the steps to be followed for obtaining citizenship in Ireland:
Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
The first step towards obtaining Irish citizenship is to check your eligibility. As mentioned earlier, there are several ways to obtain Irish citizenship, including birth or descent, marriage to an Irish citizen, or naturalization. You need to check which of these options applies to you.
Step 2: Gather Your Documents
Gathering the necessary paperwork is the next step after choosing the citizenship path that is best for you. You might need to present documents, including birth certificates, passports, proofs of residency, marriage certificates, and, if relevant, proofs of your relationship to an Irish citizen, depending on your route. Before beginning the application process, ensure you have all the required documentation.
Step 3: Complete the Application Form
The next step is to complete the application form. You can download the form from the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) website. The application form requires you to provide your details, immigration status, and other relevant information. Make sure you complete the form accurately and honestly.
Step 4: Pay the Application Fee
You must pay the application cost after submitting the application form. The cost is €175 for adults and €80 for minors under 18. You can pay the charge to the INIS online, mail, or mail a bank draft or postal order.
Step 5: Submit Your Application
Once you have completed the application form and paid the fee, you must submit your application to the INIS. You can do this by post or in person. If you are applying by post, send it by registered post or courier to ensure it reaches the INIS safely.
Step 6: Wait for a Decision
After submitting your application, you need to wait for a decision from the INIS. The processing time for Irish citizenship applications can vary, and it can take several months to receive a decision. During this time, the INIS may contact you for further information or to request additional documents.
Step 7: Attend the Citizenship Ceremony
If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony. You will take an oath of allegiance to Ireland at the ceremony and receive your naturalisation certificate. The ceremony is usually held in Dublin, but other locations may vary depending on demand.
Ways of Becoming an Irish Citizen
There are two main ways someone can become a citizen of Ireland
Yes, that's correct. There are two main ways someone can become a citizen of Ireland: by birth or descent or through naturalization. Here's a more detailed explanation of both routes to Irish citizenship:
Citizenship by Birth or Descent
Irish citizenship by birth is determined by the principle of jus soli, which means "right of the soil". This means that anyone born on the island of Ireland is entitled to Irish citizenship. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are born in Ireland to parents who are not Irish citizens or permanent residents, you may not automatically be entitled to Irish citizenship.
Irish citizenship by descent is determined by the principle of jus sanguinis, which means "right of blood". If one or both of your parents are Irish citizens, you may be entitled to Irish citizenship, even if you were not born in Ireland.
Citizenship by Naturalization
Citizenship by naturalization is becoming an Irish citizen through a formal application process. To be eligible for citizenship by naturalization, you must meet specific criteria, including:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have been living in Ireland legally for a certain period (usually five years, but it can be shorter for specific categories of applicants, such as those who are married to an Irish citizen)
- Have a good character
- Intend to continue living in Ireland after becoming a citizen
- Have sufficient knowledge of the Irish language or have made efforts to learn it
- Have sufficient knowledge of Irish society and culture
A naturalization application must be completed, the required paperwork must be submitted, and an application fee must be paid. After reviewing your application, the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) may need more details or supporting paperwork. You will be invited to a citizenship ceremony if your application is accepted when you will take an oath of devotion to Ireland and receive your certificate of naturalization.