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Irish Citizenship by Descent: The Ultimate Guide

The Emerald Island offers countless perks to its residents and citizens. These perks include a great quality of life, a relatively low cost of living compared to other Western European countries, an excellent education system, stunning scenery, rich culture, and friendly fellow residents. 

All these charms attract many people from all around the world to obtain Irish citizenship. The same attraction applies to digital nomads as well. Many nomads are curious about life in Ireland, intrigued by the country’s numerous appeals. For those who’re of Irish descent, there’s no point waiting for another minute. 

Those who aspire to get Irish citizenship by ancestry, read on! 

Benefits of Being an Irish Citizen 

Holding an Irish passport as an Irish citizen provides you with a wide set of advantages. Find below some of the great privileges you’ll be entitled to when you obtain Irish citizenship:

Having the Freedom To Live Wherever You Want

Those who hold an Irish passport are not required to reside in Ireland by any means. As an Irish citizen, you can live wherever you want in the world, provided you meet the visa or permit requirements of the relevant country, of course. Since you’ll also be a citizen of the European Union, you’ll have an abundance of options as to your country of residence and will have the right to benefit from the zero-tax residency programs of Europe. A huge advantage for digital nomads!

The Opportunity of Visa-Free Travel to Over 185 Countries

The Irish passport allows its holders to travel visa-free all around Europe. You’ll also have the right to enter more than 185 countries without being required to obtain any visas, by the privilege that the Irish passport grants you. 

Access to Getting Around in the EU

Ireland is a member of the EU, which allows Irish citizens to freely move around within the lands of the member states and go in and out of the EU countries quite effortlessly. Moreover, you have the right to reside and work in any country that’s part of the EU as an Irish citizen.

Holding a High-Ranking Passport

Being an Irish citizen provides you with a passport that has ranked seventh among the most impactful passports in the world. On top of having such a ranking, the Irish passport is also incredibly low-risk, meaning that most countries have a sympathetic approach toward Irish passport holders. Add to the mix Ireland being a member state of the European Union, not much can stand in the way of an Irish passport.

Who Qualifies for Irish Citizenship by Descent? 

Having established some of the most significant advantages of Irish citizenship and the passport, let’s move on to an elaboration as to how Irish citizenship by descent can be obtained.

First and foremost, it’s useful to clarify the requirements one needs to meet to become an eligible applicant for Irish citizenship by descent. 

A valid applicant to hold an Irish passport and benefit from dual citizenship need to meet the following criteria:

  • Having born in Ireland or Northern Ireland before January 1st, 2005 from at least one Irish/British citizen parent at the time
  • Having one or more parents and/or grandparents that are Irish citizens
  • One or both of your parents having residency permits in Ireland or Northern Ireland

Steps for Obtaining Irish Citizenship by Descent

1. Registering your birth in the Foreign Births Register and delivering all the certificates and records relevant to your birth

2. Filling out the relevant application form for Irish citizenship by descent and submitting it together with the other required documentation

3. Obtaining your certificate that confirms you’re registered in the Foreign Births Register of Ireland, which indicates the approval of your citizenship application

Once you’re officially registered in the Irish Register of Foreign Births, you’re an Irish citizen by all means. The next step is to get your Irish passport, finally. 

How To Get Your Irish Passport 

Claiming Irish citizenship grants you the right to obtain an Irish passport but does not hand it to you on a silver plate. You’re still required to follow a few steps to get your passport. These steps include the submission of the required documents and payment of the relevant fees.

Required Documents To Become a Valid Applicant

To become an eligible applicant for Irish citizenship by descent and obtain a passport, you’re required to deliver a number of documents.

These documents include:

  • A valid passport/travel document
  • Original birth certificate
  • Documents proving your identity and address
  • Digital passport photos
  • Documentation proving at least one of your parents or grandparents was an Irish citizen

Irish Passport Fees and Waiting Time

If you’re applying for an Irish passport online for the first time as an Irish citizen, the waiting time is typically around 20 business days. However, since this is a service in immense demand, the said period can be prolonged. The process is trackable online following the successful submission of your application. 

The fees that vary depending on the validity length and size of the Irish passport are as follows:

  • Standard 10-year passport: €75
  • 66-page 10-year passport: €105
  • Passport Card: €35
  • Standard passport + Passport Card: €100
  • 66-page passport + Passport Card: €130
  • Standard 5-year passport for those under 18: €20
  • 66-page 5-year passport for those under 18: €50
  • Standard 5-year passport + Passport Card for the under-18: €45
  • 66-page 5-year passport + Passport Card for the under-18: €75

The figures mentioned above do not include the additional postal fees which amount to €5 if you’re inside Ireland whereas they cost an additional €15 if you’re outside Ireland.

Other Routes to Irish Citizenship

Although it’s the most effortless route to an Irish passport, proving that you’re of Irish descent is not the only way to obtain Irish citizenship, fortunately. There are a few other routes one can follow to become an Irish citizen. These options are as follows: 


Citizenship by Naturalization

Obtaining Irish citizenship by naturalization is more time-consuming. To become eligible to apply to become an Irish citizen by naturalization, applicants are required to have resided in Ireland for at least five years within the last nine years prior to the application. 


Citizenship Through Marriage

Getting Irish citizenship through marriage is another relatively fast route to becoming an Irish citizen. Upon completing a three-year civil relationship or marriage with an Irish spouse/partner, residing in Ireland, you become eligible to apply for Irish citizenship. Moreover, same-sex marriage is recognized by the Irish state, meaning that everyone can apply to become an Irish citizen through marriage, regardless of their sexual orientation. 


Citizenship by Investment

Another option to obtain Irish citizenship is by making an investment. The Irish Golden Visa Program allows investors from all around the world to acquire residency permits in return for a qualifying investment. The minimum amount you’re required to invest in order to become an eligible applicant is €1 million. If you meet all the requirements and are issued a residency permit in Ireland, upon completing five years of residency in the country, you become eligible to apply for Irish citizenship.

How To Claim Irish Citizenship: The Wrap-up

There you have it…A guide to Irish citizenship by descent…Having Irish heritage and Irish ancestors can lead the way to becoming an Irish citizen, hence an EU one. What is better is that if you decide to live in the country, you’ll soon realize that it’s one of the best places to live in Europe.

Good luck on your journey!


Frequently Asked Questions

My grandparent was born on the island of Ireland. Am I an Irish citizen?

If one of your grandparents was born on the island of Ireland, without requiring your parents to be Irish citizens, you can apply for Irish citizenship. However, you need to prove that you’re of Irish descent and get registered in the Irish Register of Foreign Births to be able to claim Irish citizenship.

How many generations back can you claim citizenship in Ireland?

You can claim Irish citizenship if one or both of your grandparents was born in Ireland or if one or both of your parents were Irish citizens at the time of your birth. If one of your parents was born in Ireland, on the other hand, you’re directly recognized as an Irish citizen and can immediately apply for an Irish passport. 

In some cases, Ireland citizenship by descent is applicable for individuals with Irish ancestry going back as far as great-grandparents. 

Can you get Irish citizenship based on DNA?

No, you cannot obtain Irish citizenship based on DNA testing results. You need to prove that you’re of Irish descent through certain documentation and get registered in the Register of Foreign Births of Ireland.

How much does Irish citizenship by descent cost?

The fee for the application for Irish citizenship by descent is €175 and upon your approval, you may be required to pay an additional sum of up to €950 for certain certifications. Then you need to pay for your passport. The standard passport that’s valid for 10 years costs €75 whereas a 66-page 10-year passport costs €105.

What does Irish citizenship entitle you to?

As an Irish citizen, you’re free to live and work in Ireland or the member states of the European Union whenever and however long you like. Irish citizenship also entitles you to hold an Irish passport, which ranks the seventh most powerful in the world. By holding an Irish passport, you have access to visa-free travel to over 185 countries.

What is the fastest way to get Irish citizenship?

The fastest route to get Irish citizenship is by descent. If you have Irish parents or an Irish grandparent, you can obtain citizenship in a considerably short period. If such a case is not applicable to you, marriage is the second fastest route to getting Irish citizenship. If you reside in Ireland for three years, married to an Irish citizen, you become eligible to apply to become an Irish citizen.

How do I prove my Irish descent in order to get citizenship?

You must get your birth certificate registered in the Irish Foreign Births Register in order to claim Irish citizenship. If you’re qualified to get registered, you become an Irish citizen right on the day of your registration. However, your Irish citizenship is counted as effective from that day on, not from your date of birth. 

How long does it take to get Irish citizenship by descent?

Although it’s the fastest way to become an Irish citizen, the process of getting Irish citizenship by descent can take up to 30 months.

Does Ireland allow dual citizenship?

Yes, it does. This means that you don’t have to give up on your original citizenship once you become a citizen of Ireland. However, you’d better check your country’s regulations too. Speaking to professionals can save you effort and time.

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