Applying With Family Members and Irish Citizenship for the Next Generation
May 27, 2024
The Pathways to Becoming an Irish Citizen
July 18, 2024

Naturalization is when you become a citizen of another country, and generally requires that you have lived in that country for a certain number of years. Becoming an Irish citizen through naturalization means having certain pathways through which to acquire Irish citizenship. This segment will address each in order to highlight the potential routes available to becoming an Irish citizen.

Irish citizenship by association
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.
An example being you have an Irish-born great-grandparent, but you are not eligible to apply through the Foreign Births Register
 because your parent was not registered on the FBR at the time of your birth, you could then pursue Irish citizenship through association.

Eligibility criteria
To qualify for citizenship by association you must: be 18 or over, meet the relevant residency requirements; plan to live in Ireland or if you are spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen plan to live in Ireland, and are of ‘good character’, which means the absence of criminal convictions.
An application can be made on behalf of a child if the child was born in Ireland after 1 January 2005 and did not qualify for citizenship by birth, has Irish descent or Irish associations, or the parent of the child is a citizen by naturalization.
For more information on citizenship by association see our related article here.

Naturalization and residence
The years of lawful residency you have in Ireland count towards naturalization applications. These years are known as ‘reckonable residence’. You must prove that you have lived legally in Ireland for at least 5 years out of the last 9 years, which includes 1 year of continuous residence immediately prior to the date the application is made.
The total years that count do not need to be continuous, but they do need to be within a set time period. For naturalization applications not made via to marriage or civil union, the number is 5 years within a 9-year period. For the spouse of an Irish citizen, 3 years in a 5-year period.
As discussed, individuals claiming citizenship through association are expected to have lived in Ireland for at least 3 years. However, many individuals wishing to apply through this route neither live, nor intend to live in Ireland, and therefore do not meet the residency requirement.
If this applies to you, then the alternative pathway is to make a claim based on association, demonstrating you have tangible and concrete connections to Ireland. In the absence of residency, you must present a strong case to show you have a meaningful links to Ireland.

Presenting a strong case
If you apply for citizenship based on association, presenting a case that shows strong links to Ireland will increase your chances, and give your application a higher likelihood of success.
In order to present a strong case you will need to list in your application: your reasons for wanting to become an Irish citizen. Your links to Ireland, whether that be any relationships you have there, such as friends, relatives, or business. Any travel (for work, holiday, study) that you make to Ireland. Any future intention to reside in Ireland. Being part of any Irish clubs or societies. And any Irish pastimes, hobbies that you might have. In addition to this, 3 references from Irish citizens would need to be included in support of your application.

What documents do I need?
You will need to provide original copies of birth, marriage and death certificates (where applicable) for each individual that supports a direct line of descent between you, your parent, your grandparent and great-grandparent who was born in Ireland.

How do I apply and what is the cost?
Applications by naturalization are submitted to the Citizenship Division of the Department of Justice. Applications and instructions on process can be found on their home webpage.
It can take up to 30 months to process and review applications made through association/naturalization.
Naturalization applications cost €175 (non-refundable), which are made payable to the ‘Secretary General, Department of Justice’.
If you are granted citizenship, there is an additional cost for your certificate of naturalization. For an adult this is €950, and for minors (under 18) the cost is €200.

Citizenship through marriage
The spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen is able to apply for Irish citizenship through naturalization after three years of marriage/civil partnership, plus three years residence on the island of Ireland withyour spouse fromthe date of your marriage. Included in these three years is one continual year of residency before you submit your application.
During this year you can leave the country for up to 70 days. Another 30 days might be permitted if there are “exceptional circumstances” related to health, family, or otherwise.
The non-Irish spouse must also be of “good character.”  Generally meaning the absence of criminal records, driving offences, civil lawsuits etc. The non-Irish spouse must also intend to live in Ireland once naturalization is granted.
For more information on citizenship by marriage see our related here.

What documents do I need?
You will need to submit a certified color copy of the ID page of your passport, although you may be asked for a copy of your full passport. You will also need certified copies of your and your spouse’s birth and marriage certificates, as well as proofs of residence covering the three months prior to the application. You and your spouse will also need to complete the witnessed statutory declarations. Documents that are not issued in English will need to be professionally translated and certified.
In order to prove you meet the residency requirements, copies of proofs of address for each year of residency that counts towards years needs to qualify will need to be provided. Examples include housing agreements, and utility bills.
The documents required can differ because Ireland uses a “scorecard” system, and you must reach at least 150 points per year for residency in order to apply for citizenship.

How do I apply and what is the cost?
The application can all be done online via the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) portal.
Applications for Irish citizenship by naturalization are processed within 19 months. There is also a fee of €175. If the application is approved, you will then owe a certification fee, for marriage or civil partnership the fee is €950.

Who is the authority that grants or denies citizenship?
All applications to become a naturalized Irish citizen are reviewed and assessed by the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) on behalf of the Minister for Justice. The Irish Minister for Justice has total discretion in deciding whether to grant or deny a citizenship claim, and absolute authority to waive, or not, the eligibility requirements that include the residency expectation.

What happens once I am granted citizenship?
If you are granted citizenship you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony where you will take the path of fidelity and then be issued your naturalization certificate, and you are then able to apply for your Irish passport.

This segment has addressed the different ways to qualify for Irish citizenship by naturalization and the application process for each.
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 advisors will be in touch to answer your queries.

Contact us!