There are 2 ways in which Irish citizenship can be obtained. Either (a) by way of place of birth, combined with descendant of an Irish citizen or Irish association or (b) through the naturalisation process. The relevant legislation is the Irish Immigration and Citizenship Act 1956, and under Irish law you do not have to relinquish your current citizenship; however please note that some countries place travel restrictions on individuals with dual citizenship.
(a) Place of birth/ Descendant
There was a change in the law for people born on the island of Ireland (“IOI”) (this includes Northern Ireland) after 1st January 2005.
- Prior 31st December 2004
For people born on the IOI before or on the 31st December 2004, they are automatically Irish citizens. For people who were not born on the IOI, they may still qualify for citizenship if they have an Irish association or if one of their parents/grandparents/great grandparents was born on the IOI (in some circumstances British born can also be applicable).
- After 1st January 2005
For people born on the IOI after 1st January 2005, they may qualify for citizenship, if similar to the above, they are a descendant of a person born on IOI or if one of their parents was legally resident on the IOI for 3 out of the 4 years, with at least 1 continuous year, prior to their date of birth. The parent does not need to be an Irish or EU citizen but they must be legally resident.
The rules for naturalisation are different, depending on whether you are applying as an EU/EEA/Swiss national or as a non-member of these states. However, all applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be aged 18 years and older,
- Intend to continue living on the IOI,
- Be in possession of a Public Service Card (“PSC”),
- Be of good character,
- Attend a citizenship ceremony, and
- Meet the relevant criteria.
- UK/EU/EEA/Swiss Confederation
In order to qualify under this heading, you must be residing on the IOI for at least 5 out of the last 9 years, with at least 1 continuous year prior to the date of application. The process is relatively straight forward however, the supporting documentation is the key to a successful application. You are required to produce documentation proving your residency for the years claimed.
- Non-member of the above states
The criteria for non member applicants is similar to the above however, the importance distinction is the concept of reckonable residence. Not all visas can be counted towards the 5 years period and a calculation will need to be carried to assess whether the applicant has the necessary reckonable residence in order to qualify. For example time spent on a stamp 2 visa will not be counted as reckonable residence, however the Minister for Justice has the discretion to waive 2 of the 5 years, so although you may have held a stamp 2 for some of these years, you may still qualify.
- Marriage to Irish Citizen
If you are married to or in a civil partnership with an Irish citizen, after 3 years of marriage you are entitled to Irish citizenship. You must have resided on the IOI for 3 out of the last 5 years, with 1 year continuous residence prior to the date of application. In cases where you are married to an EU or non member citizen, you will need to apply as a non member and the 5 year rule will apply in this case.
DE FACTO RELATIONSHIP VISA (STAMP 4)
A De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission (“DFPIP“) is an immigration status that allows you to stay with your long term partner in Ireland. A de facto relationship means you and your partner are both committed to a shared life together to the exclusion of all others, ie as though you were married. There is no discrimination based on the type of relationship and same sex couples can also apply. Currently the minimum length of cohabitation is 2 years prior to the date of application. You will need to provide dated documentary evidence of your relationship. The cohabitation requirement can be waived in some limited cases, where by reason of work commitments, humanitarian or other compelling reasons, the couple cannot cohabit. Such examples could be that the partner is caring for a sick relative abroad.
Applications for DFPIP can only be made in Ireland, therefore both people need to be legally resident on the IOI. If the partner is currently here on a tourist visa or is in the process of seeking asylum, they are ineligible to apply. Both people must be able to support themselves and not be in receipt of any benefits from the Department of Social Protection. Finally both people should be of good character and may be subjected to an interview by an immigration officer.
The law and procedure in relation to immigration law in Ireland can be confusing and there are many factors to be considered when making an application. If you wish to make an application or have an adverse decision appealed, please feel free to contact us through our website here. We offer a free no obligation quote and provide a nationwide immigration service at no additional cost.