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How to Apply for Irish Citizenship by Descent & an Irish Passport


The first step in applying for Irish citizenship is to determine if you are eligible - discussed in Part One of this article. Citizenship by descent is not automatic and must be acquired through application.

How to Apply for Irish Citizenship by Descent

To apply for registration in the Foreign Births Register you will need to submit a completed and witnessed Foreign Birth's Registration form (available from your local Consulate) along with supporting original documentation outlined below. There is a cost involved to apply for inclusion on the Foreign Births Register. Further information is available from your nearest Irish embassy or consulate and from the Foreign Births Register Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland

Expect it to take anywhere from 3 months to a year to have the Foreign Birth registered and the citizenship papers sent to you.

Required Supporting Documentation:

For your Irish born grandparent:
  1. Civil marriage certificate (if married)
  2. Final divorce decree (if divorced)
  3. A current passport of official photo identity document (e.g. passport) for the Irish born grandparent. If the grandparent is deceased, a certified copy of the death certificate is required.
  4. Official, long form civil Irish birth certificate if born after 1864. Baptismal registers may be used to establish the grandparent's date of birth if he/she was born prior to 1864, or with a search certificate from the General Register Office of Ireland stating that no Irish civil birth certificate exists.

For the parent from whom you are claiming Irish descent:

  1. Civil marriage certificate (if married)
  2. A current official photo I.D. (e.g. passport).
  3. If the parent is deceased, a certified copy of the death certificate.
  4. Full, long form civil birth certificate of the parent showing your grandparents' names, places of birth and ages at birth.

For you:

  1. Full, long form civil birth certificate which shows your parents' names, places of birth and ages at time of birth.
  2. When there has been a change of name (e.g. marriage), supporting documentation must be provided (e.g. civil marriage certificate).
  3. Notarized copy of current passport (if you have one) or identity document
  4. Proof of address. A copy of a bank statement/utility bill showing your present address.
  5. Two recent passport-type photographs which must be signed and dated on the back by the witness to section E of the application form at the same time as the form is witnessed.
All official documents - birth, marriage and death certificates - must be original or official (certified) copies from the issuing authority. It is important to note that church certified baptismal and marriage certificates may be considered only if submitted with a statement from the relevant civil authority that they were unsuccessful in their search for a civil record. Hospital certified birth certificates are not acceptable. All other necessary supporting documents (e.g. proofs of identity) should be notarized copies of originals.

At some point after you've sent in your completed application for Irish citizenship by descent along with the supporting documents, the embassy will contact you to set up an interview. This is generally just a short formality.

How to Apply for an Irish Passport:

Once you have established your identity as an Irish citizen, you are eligible to apply for an Irish passport. For more information on obtaining an Irish passport, please see the Passport Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not meant to be a legal guide. Please consult with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs or your nearest Irish embassy or consulate for official assistance.

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