Irish citizenship by naturalisation differs from citizenship by birthright in that it doesn’t stem from Irish ancestry necessarily but in light of the time spent legally on the island.
To apply for Irish citizenship by naturalisation, you should prove that you’ve been physically living in Ireland for a determined amount of time (which may vary depending on certain conditions). Your petition to become a naturalised Irish citizen is examined and decided by the Minister of Justice via the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD).
This decision by the Minister is wholly discretional and could be a negative one even if all paperwork is in order. The Minister will ponder upon all the information available in order to determine the outcome of the application. After an affirmative decision was reached, you can obtain your Citizenship Certificate and apply for Irish passport.
How to Apply for Irish Citizenship by Naturalisation
If you wish to apply for naturalisation, you must follow these guidelines:
- Check to see if you’re eligible.
- Retrieve the pertinent application form and fill it out with the required information.
- Compile all the supporting evidence.
- Make a statutory declaration.
- Send the form to ISD and pay the corresponding fee.
The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 (as amended) contains a list of criteria that must be met to obtain a naturalised citizen status. These criteria are:
You must be 18 years of age or older to apply on your own. Parents can also apply on behalf of their children, provided that:
- They were born on the Island after 1 January 2005 and weren’t eligible for citizenship by birth (Form 11).
- They are of Irish descent or associations (Form 10).
- Their parent is a naturalised Irish citizen (Form 9).
Although the term “good character” is loosely defined by law, the Minister analyses your “character” through information provided by the Garda Síochána on:
- Criminal records and driving offences
- Ongoing investigations and pending criminal cases
- Warnings or cautions you may have received
- Any barring orders or civil cases you were involved in
You must declare any of the above situations on your form (if applicable), with the chance to give your accounts of the occurrences that prompted the Garda or court to act against you. In addition, the Citizenship division may ask you at some point for more information about your background and history in the country.
You must demonstrate that you have lived in Ireland for a certain period. Generally, there are two thresholds to reach:
- Continuous residence: You must have spent a minimum of one year (365 days) legally and continuously residing in Ireland before the date of application.
- Total residence: In addition, you must have also had a total calculable residence of four years (1,460 days) within the span of eight years prior to the continuous residence period mentioned above.
To be considered a resident in a year, you must not have left the country for more than six weeks in said year. If you had, you must either explain the reasons for your prolonged absence in your application (if it was due to an emergency) or not count this period at all in your calculation. If you were abroad for more than six weeks in the year before the application date, you ought to wait until next year to file it.
In total, you’d need to have a total of five years (1,825 days) of reckonable residence within the last nine years, adding one day for “leap years” (those that include February 29).
Reckonable residence consists of the time spent in Ireland that can be counted towards your eligibility to obtain Irish citizenship by naturalisation. Time spent under certain employment permits is reckonable, whereas any period spent while on a student visa, irregular status, or under international protection is not.
If you are a spouse or partner of an Irish citizen, you must have been married for three or more years and have lived in the country for three out of the five years mentioned above. You must also cohabitate with your spouse at the moment of lodging your application.
2. Application Form
As of this writing, there are a total of four forms to choose from:
- Form 8 is for adults over 18 years of age.
- Form 9 is for minors under 18 whose parent is a naturalised Irish citizen.
- Form 10 is to be completed online and only by parents of a child under 18 of Irish associations or Irish descent.
- Form 11 is another online form to be filled out by a parent or guardian of a child under 18 who was born in Ireland but had no right to Irish citizenship by birth.
Before filling out a form, you must read the attached notes very carefully and make sure that you are not missing anything. You must likewise attempt to not leave any field blank. For questions that don’t pertain to your situation, simply write “N/A” (not applicable).
You’d also have to include the signature and details of three references. These are people who can attest to your character and act as a referee for you during the course of the application.
The copies of the documents that must be gathered to this effect have to be certified as “true copies” by a notary, solicitor, peace commissioner or commissioner for oaths. These include:
- A full-colour photocopy of your country’s passport with all pages and covers
- Your birth certificate
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate and your spouse’s or partner’s birth certificate (if you’re married to an Irish citizen)
Aside from the above, you must send two passport photographs and an E-tax clearance, which is a certificate that can be downloaded on the Revenue’s website and can vouch for your good standing before tax authorities.
A complete list of the required documents relative to your situation can be found on the form you complete.
The statutory declaration is a statement made before a witness (solicitor, notary public, commissioner for oaths, etc.) swearing that the information contained in the application form is true. You’d also have to include your Irish spouse’s or partner’s declaration whenever applicable.
Additionally, the witness must sign and write down the signature date on the back of the photographs that you must submit alongside the application form.
5. Submission and Fee
After you have checked that everything is in order (following the checklist provided in the form) you can proceed to send your application documents to the address shown on the form, attaching the banker’s draft that reflects the €175 fee payment (which is not refundable).
The banker’s draft must be issued to the Secretary General, Department of Justice. No other payment method is accepted for these purposes.
Your naturalisation application would be processed over the course of 12 months. If successful, you’ll be asked to pay a Certification Fee and attend a citizenship ceremony, wherein you’ll receive your naturalisation certificate.
Obtain and Renew Irish Passport
Once you acquire your naturalisation certificate, you may proceed to apply for your Irish passport. This passport can be renewed every 10 years (if you’re 18 years of age or older),The Irish passport renewal procedure is a bit simpler than that for first-time issuance, but both applications can be submitted online through the Passport Online service.