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Citizenship & Naturalisation – The Route to Irish Citizenship

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 is the principle legislation governing nationality in Ireland. It has been amended a number of times, and the combined pieces of legislation make up the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts 1956 – 2004 (collectively, the “Citizenship Acts”).

Citizenship is broadly acquired by either i) Birth, or ii) naturalisation

Citizenship by Birth in the State.

A person may be entitled to Irish Citizenship from birth in the State in the following situations:

•Birth without entitlement to citizenship of another country;

•Birth to an Irish citizen;

•Birth to a British citizen;

•Birth to a person with unrestricted Irish residence

•Birth to a person with unrestricted residence in Northern Ireland; and

•Birth to certain parents with lawful residence.

Naturalisation Generally under Section 15.

The Minister may grant a certificate of naturalisation, in her absolute discretion, if satisfied the applicant:

•Is a person of full age or a minor born in the State;

•Is person of good character;

•“has had a period of one year’s continuous residence in the State immediately before the date of the application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, has had a total residence in the State amount to four years”;

•Intends in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation, and

•Has made a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and undertakes to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.

The reckonable residence period is therefore “1825 or 1826 days of reckonable residence based on … accumulated permission stamps” (INIS website)


The normal processing time for Naturalisation is currently 19 months, however, there are exceptions where extenuating circumstances are present, such as the need to travel for medical reasons or academic examinations

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