Discover how to claim Irish citizenship by birth or descent with our comprehensive guide. Learn the requirements, process, and benefits.

Irish Citizenship by Birth or Descent

Ireland is a country that is known for its beauty and if you want to know the possibility of getting Irish citizenship either through birth or descent we have explained everything about it in this article including eligibility, the different ways, and some important steps and tips so if you are born in Ireland, have Irish ancestors or you are adopting an Irish child you will see a clear roadmap to start your process smoothly.


If you were born in Ireland on or before January 1, 2005, you are automatically eligible for Irish citizenship and this includes the aim to honor the country’s historical ties and welcomes those who share its birthplace.

Born in Ireland on or After January 1, 2005

For individuals born in Ireland on or after January 1, 2005, the criteria for Irish citizenship by birth is a bit different so to qualify, at least one of your parents must have been an Irish citizen at the time of your birth and this provision extends the opportunity to a broader demographic, that ensures the Irish heritage remain accessible.

Born in Ireland to a British or Legal Resident Parent

Another way to Irish citizenship by birth is available to children born in Ireland on or after January 1, 2005, with one parent who is British or has legal permission to live in either Ireland or Northern Ireland and this shows the close geographical and historical ties between these regions.

Irish Citizenship for Children of Refugees

If you are a child born in Ireland, and one of your parents holds approved refugee status, you are eligible for Irish citizenship. This shows  Ireland’s commitment to providing a haven for refugees and their families.

Ineligibility for Irish Citizenship by Birth

Many people can access it, but individuals born in Ireland to foreign national parents on or before January 1, 2005, may not qualify for citizenship by birth. In such cases, one of your parents must establish a genuine tie to the country, which typically involves living in Ireland for a specific period before your birth.

Irish Citizenship by Descent

Even if you were not born in Ireland and have never lived there, you can still claim Irish citizenship by descent if you have qualifying links to the country through your parents or grandparents. This method of becoming a citizen is more straightforward compared to citizenship by birth or naturalization.

Routes to Irish Citizenship by Descent

Parent Born in Ireland:

 If one of your parents was born in Ireland and was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you are eligible for Irish citizenship by descent, irrespective of your place of birth.

Deceased Parent’s Irish Citizenship:

 In situations where your parent was deceased when you were born but would have been an Irish citizen if they were alive, you are still eligible for Irish citizenship by descent.

Marital Status:

 Importantly, your eligibility for citizenship remains unaffected by whether your parents were married or not, highlighting Ireland’s commitment to inclusivity.

Irish Citizenship Through Ancestry or Grandparents

If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, congratulations! You are eligible for Irish citizenship by descent. This provision acknowledges the profound influence of Irish heritage and the importance of family ties.

Irish Citizenship Through Adoption

For non-Irish children adopted by an Irish citizen or a couple where at least one spouse is Irish, the path to Irish citizenship is open. This welcoming policy reflects Ireland’s dedication to providing a sense of belonging to adopted children.

Registering on the Foreign Births Register

To initiate your journey toward Irish citizenship by descent, you will need to register your birth on the Foreign Births Register. This essential step paves the way for your Irish citizenship application.

Required Documents For Irish Citizenship By Birth Or Descent

To register your birth, you will need the following documents:

  • Original birth certificate showing parent’s details
  • Two proofs of address (originals, not photocopies)
  • Certified photocopy of official and current state-issued identification
  • Four passport-sized photographs
  • If you are applying as a guardian on behalf of a child to whom you are not a parent, you must provide proof of guardianship. Additionally, you will need to provide documents indicating the exact family tie on which the person’s claim for citizenship is based, whether as a parent or grandparent.

Foreign Births Register Application Form

After assembling the necessary documents, you will need to complete the application form. The Immigration Advice Service offers expert assistance in navigating the Foreign Births registration process.

Application Fee for the Foreign Births Register

Upon completing your application form, you will be required to pay the application fee, which is €278 for adults and €153 for those under 18. These fees contribute to the administrative process of reviewing your application.

Witnessing Your Application Form

An essential requirement of the Foreign Births Register application is that your form is witnessed by an appropriate individual who is personally known to you but not a relation. This step adds a layer of authentication to your application.

Your witness must perform the following tasks:

  • Stamp the form with an official stamp. If a stamp is unavailable, they can provide a business card.
  • Certify that the copy of the state identification is a true copy.
  • Sign and verify two of the four passport-sized photographs.

Qualifying Witnesses

The witness must hold an active practitioner status in one of the following professions:

  • Medical Doctor
  • Physiotherapist
  • Nurse
  • Pharmacist
  • Speech Therapist
  • Dentist
  • Lawyer
  • Peace Commissioner
  • Notary Public/Commissioner for Oaths
  • Bank Manager or Assistant Bank Manager or Credit Union Manager or Assistant Manager
  • Accountant
  • Elected Public Representative
  • Vet
  • Garda Síochána/Police Officer
  • Manager/Montessori Teacher/Lecturer
  • Member of Clergy
  • Teacher/School Principal/Vice Principal/School Secretary/Pre-school
  • Chartered Engineer

Processing Time for the Foreign Births Register Application

Typically, Foreign Births Register applications are processed within six months. However, in some cases, processing may extend to 12 months. It’s essential to be patient throughout this period, as the authorities diligently review each application.

Addressing Application Refusals

In the unfortunate event that your Foreign Births Register application is refused, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons for the denial. If you have provided all the necessary supporting documents, you have the right to appeal the decision. You must submit an appeal letter within six weeks of the refusal date.

Applying for an Irish Passport

Once your birth is officially registered in the Foreign Births Register, you become eligible to apply for an Irish passport. Meeting the requirements allows you to obtain this valuable travel document.

If you are eligible for Irish citizenship by birth, you can skip the Foreign Births Register registration and directly apply for an Irish passport.

Becoming an Irish citizen by birth or descent is an exciting and fulfilling journey that connects you with Ireland’s rich heritage and vibrant culture. Whether you were born in Ireland, have Irish ancestors, or are adopting an Irish child, the eligibility pathways are designed to be inclusive and accommodating.

Remember, each step in the process, from birth registration to passport application, has its requirements and nuances. Seeking guidance from immigration experts can make your path smoother and more efficient.

With this comprehensive guide, you now have a clear roadmap to obtaining Irish citizenship. Begin your journey today and embrace the numerous opportunities and privileges that come with being an Irish citizen.

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