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Irish Citizenship

Naturalisation is the process through which a foreign national living in Ireland may apply to become an Irish citizen. To apply for naturalisation in Ireland, you must have been physically resident in Ireland for a certain length of time.

You can also read about:

  • Citizenship by birth or descent
  • Citizenship through the Foreign Births Register
 

All applications to become a naturalised Irish citizen are decided by Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) on behalf of the Minister for Justice. The Minister has absolute discretion as to whether or not to grant naturalisation. The Minister considers a range of information available to her in order to make an informed decision on an application for naturalisation.

You must use the most up-to-date versions of the application forms on the Immigration Service Delivery website. There is an application fee of €175. If your application is successful, you may have to pay a further fee up to €950 (see ‘Certification fees’ below for exceptions to this fee).

Citizenship for Spouses of Irish Citizens

If you are married to, or in a civil partnership with, an Irish citizen, you can apply to become an Irish citizen by naturalisation. You can apply if you live in Ireland or Northern Ireland and meet the following conditions:

  • You are 18 or
  • You have been married for 3 years or
  • You have lived on the island of Ireland for 3 out of the 5 years before you make your application (see ‘Calculating reckonable residence’ below). You must have lived in Ireland or Northern Ireland continuously for 12 months before the date of your application.
  • You intend to live in Ireland after you have become an Irish
  • You live with your
  • You are of ‘good character’ (see ‘Check that you qualify’ below).
 

Both you and your spouse must complete the declarations at the back of Form 8 (the naturalisation form).

How to Apply for Irish Citizenship by Naturalisation?

To apply for naturalisation, you should follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Check that you qualify
  • Step 2: Fill in an application form
  • Step 3: Gather your supporting documentation
  • Step 4: Make a declaration
  • Step 5: Send your form to Immigration Service Delivery along with the application fee

Step 1 – Check that you qualify.

To become an Irish citizen through naturalisation, you must meet the conditions that are set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended (pdf). These are:

Age

You must be 18 years or older.

You can apply on behalf of a child if:

  • The child was born in Ireland after 1 January 2005 and did not qualify for citizenship by birth – use Form 11 (pdf)
  • The child is of Irish descent or Irish associations – use Form 10 (pdf)
  • The parent of the child is a citizen by naturalisation – use Form 9 (pdf)

Character

You must be ‘of good character’. There is no exhaustive legal definition of what ‘good character’ means.

The Garda Síochána (Ireland’s national police) provide a report about your background. As part of this, the Minister receives information about:

  • Your criminal record
  • Driving offences you may have committed
  • Ongoing investigations against you
  • Pending criminal cases (that haven’t been heard in court yet)
  • Cautions or other warnings you have received from the Gardaí
  • Certain civil cases (for example, if you were subject to a barring order)

You are asked on the application form to declare any of the above and you are given the opportunity to explain the circumstances that led to the Garda or court action. You may also be contacted by the Citizenship division at a later stage for further information about your history in the State.

Residence in the State

You must have lived in the State for a certain length of time. The specific requirements are that you:

  • Have a period of 365 days* (1 year) continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately before the date of your application for naturalisation and
  • During the 8 years before that, have had a total reckonable residence in the State of 1,460 days* (4 years)

You can leave Ireland for up to 6 weeks (in total) per year and still be considered resident in that year. If you leave for more than 6 weeks in one year, you should not count this period when you are calculating your reckonable residence. If you had to leave Ireland for longer than 6 weeks because of an emergency, you should explain this in your application.

If you spend more than 6 weeks outside of Ireland in the year immediately before your application, you may have to wait until the following year to make an application.

Altogether you must have 5 years (5 x 365 days*) reckonable residence out of the last 9 years. *You must add 1 day for any period which includes 29 February (a leap year).

Some categories of applicant can apply after 3 years residence (see ‘The Minister’s power to waive conditions’ below).

Calculating Reckonable Residence

Reckonable residence means residence in Ireland that counts towards becoming eligible to apply for naturalisation.

If you are from outside the EEA, the UK, and Switzerland, certain periods of residence are counted towards the reckonable residence you need to qualify for naturalisation. Some examples of periods that are counted for reckonable residence include:

  • Time spent in Ireland on an employment permit (usually with a Stamp 1 Irish Residence Permit)
  • Time spent on a Stamp 4
  • Time spent as the dependent of an employment permit or other legal resident (usually with Stamp3)
  • Time spent as the spouse or partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder or researcher (with Stamp 1G)
  • Time spent on a Stamp 5 (Without Condition as to Time)

Abbey Blue Legal LTD has over twenty years of experience helping people immigrate to countries all over the world. Whether you wish to visit, work, study, or do business in Ireland, our specialist team of immigration experts can help you with one-to-one advice, information, and representation when applying for your Irish visa or permit.

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