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This article will discuss how you can apply for Irish citizenship if you have a great-grandparent born in Ireland. There is a different process if you are pursuing Irish citizenship through a great-grandparent; here we will address what that is, and outline what is needed if you would like to apply for Irish citizenship through a great-grandparent.

Citizenship by descent
Irish citizenship by descent is essentially a birthright that is passed down through family lineage (bloodline). Irish citizenship can be granted to those who have an ancestor (a parent, grandparent or, in rarer cases, a great-grandparent) who was an Irish citizen.
If you have an ancestor who is a great-grandparent, there are specific requirements regarding eligibility. In order to be able to make a for claim Irish citizenship through a great-grandparent, the following conditions must be met:

  • Your great-grandparent was born in Ireland;
  • Your parent acquired Irish citizenship because their grandparent (your great-grandparent) was an Irish citizen; and
  • Your parent had Irish citizenship at the time of your birth;
  • A parent must have registered on the Foreign Births Register (FBR) between 17 July 1956 and 1 July 1986; or
  • If you were born after 1986 a parent was registered before you were born in the Foreign Births Register.

If you have a great-grandparent who was born in Ireland, and therefore have a claim to Irish citizenship, but you are unable to apply via the foreign births register because your parent was not registered on the FBR at the time of your birth, or between the dates specified; then the alternative route for you is Irish citizenship is through association, which is becoming a citizen through naturalization.

Applications based on Irish associations
You may also qualify to apply for Irish citizenship if you have Irish associations.
Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 recognizes a person is of Irish associations if:
(a) he or she is related by blood, affinity or adoption to, or is the civil partner of, a person who is an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen, or
(b) he or she was related by blood, affinity or adoption to, or was the civil partner of, a person who is deceased and who, at the time of his or her death, was an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen.

Eligibility for applications by association
Criteria for applying as an adult:

  • If you are aged 18 or over, or if you are under 18 you are married;
  • You meet the relevant residency requirements;
  • You intend to live in Ireland or if you are spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen plan to reside on the island of Ireland;
  • You are of good character.

It is important to know that those seeking citizenship via association are expected to have a period of lawful residence in Ireland of around 3 years (known as reckonable residency). Furthermore, the Minister for Justice has absolute discretion in granting citizenship. As a general rule, Irish association through a great-grandparent, where there is no reckonable residency, would tend to be deemed insufficient. However, many people have neither lived, nor intend to live in Ireland, and therefore do not have reckonable residence.
If you fall under this category; then applying for Irish citizenship by association would require making a strong case to prove you have a meaningful and strong connection to Ireland.
It is important to once again say that all applications made by association are considered a privilege, and there is no automatic right to be granted citizenship by naturalisation. The Minister has absolute authority and discretion to waive, or not, the eligibility requirements outlined above.

This means each case is individually assessed, and decisions are made based on the information presented that sets forth a case evidencing strong connections to Ireland.

Building a strong case for association in the absence of reckonable residence
As highlighted, living in Ireland is listed as an eligibility requirement. However, you are still able to submit an application based on association if you can demonstrate that you have strong and tangible links with Ireland. The more you show this, the more you strengthen your case and give your application for Irish citizenship by association the best chance of success.

Some of the following points are for you to consider that can build a strong case:

  1. Outlining your motivation for applying.
  2. Listing connection to Ireland, any relationships (relatives, friends, business) you have there.
  3. Travel to Ireland, for work, holiday, study.
  4. Any future plans to live in Ireland.
  5. Any membership in Irish clubs or societies.
  6. Irish interests, hobbies and pastimes.

As well as the above, you would need to include 3 references from Irish citizens in support of your application.

Documents needed
You will need to send birth, marriage and death certificates for each person in your direct line of descent (lineage), so: you, the applicant, your parent, grandparent and Irish-born great-grandparent.

Where to apply
Applications through naturalization are made through the Citizenship Division of the Department of Justice. Applications can be accessed on their home webpage, as well as instructions on how to apply.

Application timescale
Applications via association can take up to 30 months to process and assess. However, it may take longer if further information is required, or if your application is a complex one.

In respect of naturalization applications, there is an application fee (non-refundable) of €175, which must be made payable to the Secretary General, Department of Justice. If your application is successful, you will need to pay for your certificate of naturalization. The cost for an adult is €950, and€200 for minors (for naturalization cases).

Once citizenship is granted
Once you have been granted citizenship, there will be a citizenship ceremony whereby you take an oath of fidelity. And after you have made your declaration, you will be issued your certificate of naturalization, which serves as proof of citizenship. You can then apply for your Irish passport.

This segment has been written to inform you of how you can apply for Irish citizenship through a great-grandparent. If you have any further queries, or would like more information about applying for Irish citizenship, you can contact us directly and one of our friendly experts will be in touch.

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