GENERAL

Am I Eligible for an Irish Passport?

In the wake of Brexit and the UK’s subsequent loss of free movement within Europe, many people born or living in the UK have begun to examine whether or not they may be eligible for Irish citizenship in order to gain an Irish passport. 

This should come as no surprise given that an Irish passport allows the holder to travel to 188 countries without the need to obtain a visa. 

While eligibility for the passport itself is perhaps unsurprisingly conditional on citizenship, gaining Irish citizenship may not be as simple as having been born in Ireland or having an Irish parent. Depending on the year of your birth, or your parent’s own citizenship status, you may not automatically qualify. 

Citizenship by birth

Under the current rules, if you were born in Ireland on or before the 1st of January 2005, then you will be eligible for Irish citizenship regardless of the status of your parents. If you were born in Ireland after this date however, your eligibility depends on the citizenship status of one or both of your parents at the time of your birth.

If one or both of your parents held Irish citizenship and you were born in Ireland after the 1st of January 2005, then you will be eligible for citizenship by birth. The same is true if you were born in Ireland after this date and one or both of your parents are British, or has permission to reside in Ireland or Northern Ireland then you will also be eligible for citizenship by birth. Similarly, if a parent of a child born in Ireland holds refugee status there, they will be eligible to claim citizenship by birth. 

Citizenship by descent

If you were not born in Ireland, and so none of the above criteria apply to you, you may still be able to claim citizenship by descent. 

If one or both of your parents held Irish citizenship at the time you were born, you should be eligible to claim citizenship via descent. The key element is that your parent held Irish citizenship when you were born, and that the location of their birth, your parents marital status, the nationality of your other parent are not factors in this situation. The same applies to a child who was adopted by an Irish citizen. 

As citizenship by descent is not limited to one previous generation, it is possible that you would be able to claim it depending on the nationality of your grandparents. If one or more of your grandparents were born in Ireland, then you should be eligible for citizenship by descent.

If claiming citizenship by birth, then your birth should be registered with the Irish authorities, so you should be able to access an Irish birth certificate. If claiming citizenship through descent, you will need to register with the Foreign Births Register. If you’re applying by this route, you will need to provide evidence that your descendent, whether parent or grandparent, was born in Ireland or held Irish citizenship. You may need to provide documentation such as their birth certificate, marriage certificate, evidence of their current status or a death certificate if applicable. 

Applying for the passport

Now you’ve established your citizenship, we can examine how to apply for an Irish passport. You’ll need to decide whether to apply online or on paper via a postal service, and which method you choose will determine the steps you need to follow. 

Online

If applying online, you can use the Irish Passport online portal. The portal will ask you some questions such as age, name, what type of Irish citizenship you’re using to apply and which country you’re residing in. You will then be able to upload any supporting documentation, along with a passport quality photograph through the portal. 

Upon payment of the required fee, your application and supporting documents will be submitted and processed. 

Applying via post

To apply via a postal form you’ll need to fill in a different form depending on your current country of residence. If you’re already living in Ireland, you can obtain a APS 1E form from a local post office or a Garda station. Once completed, the form can be submitted at a local post office and the fee paid  in person. 

In Northern Ireland, the form  is called an APS 2E form. If you live elsewhere in the UK, the form maintains this name but the number of places you can obtain the form from is limited. You can pick up a form from a local Irish centre, Irish consulate or embassy or the London passport office, but the form will need to be returned to one of 3 locations.  

The form must be returned to: 

Cardiff Post Office, 83 – 85 Queen Street, Cardiff, CF10 2NX

Glasgow Post Office, 140 West Nile Street, Glasgow, G1 2RD

Liverpool Post Office, 1 – 3 South John Street, Liverpool, L1 8BN

If you reside in any country outside of Ireland, Northern Ireland or the UK, then you will need to complete your application and submit it to your country’s Irish embassy or consulate to be processed. 

At present, a first-time application for an Irish passport can take between 6-8 weeks, although as there may be increased demand it’s worth remembering that you can check up to date processing times on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. 

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