Dual Citizenship Ireland

The Republic of Ireland is situated in north-western Europe and occupies roughly five — sixths of the island of Ireland. Ireland’s first recorded settlement was around 8000 BC when hunter — gatherers arrived from Great Britain and continental Europe, probably by means of a land bridge. The Republic of Ireland is bordered by Northern Ireland to the north and became part of the European Union (former European Communities) in 1973. The Irish legal system is based on English common law, and is often referred to as “the first adventure of the common law.” Irish citizenship is administered by the nationality laws of Ireland, which are found in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts of 1956 to 2004. Irish citizenship may be acquired by virtue of birth, descent, adoption, marriage to an Irish citizen and naturalization. Ireland’s citizenship is also conferred by grant of honorary citizenship.

The acquisition of Irish citizenship by birth was based on a rather mild version of the birthright principle of “right of the soil” which was made applicable only to persons born on or before December 31, 2004. Prior to December 2, 1999, whether or not a person was Irish or entitled to Irish citizenship depended on the place of birth, thus automatically making anyone born in the Republic of Ireland an Irish citizen, while persons who were born Northern Ireland became qualified and were entitled to Irish citizenship. Between December 2, 1999 and December 31, 2004, however, anyone born on the island of Ireland was automatically granted Irish citizenship if he was not entitled to the citizenship of any other country or qualified to be an Irish citizen.

Irish citizenship is automatically conferred at birth to children born in Ireland on or after 2005 if they are not entitled to the citizenship of any other country. This also includes children born to an Irish or British citizen or at least to one parent who is an Irish citizen or is entitled to Irish citizenship, has permanent resident status in the Republic or Northern Ireland, and or legally resides on the island of Ireland for three out of four years preceding the child’s birth. The latter, however, does not include students or refugees who would have spent that period of time on the island. It is also possible to be granted Irish citizenship if at the time of his birth, a person’s parent was an Irish citizen.

Irish citizenship by descent can also be inherited by anyone who registers himself in the Foreign Births Register if his grandparent is an Irish citizen born in Ireland. However, becoming Irish on the basis of an Irish great grandparent would be rather difficult if the person’s parent was not registered in the Foreign Births Register. A great grandparent must register his or her children so that they themselves may be able to transmit Irish citizenship to their own children who also would be capable of passing on citizenship to theirs. Citizenship, however, is automatically conferred to a child who was born outside of Ireland while his parent (s) was on public service in another country.

Adoption is also one of the means by which Irish citizenship is conferred providing that one of the adopted parents was Irish at the time that the adoption of the child took place and the adoption process was performed or recognized under Irish law.

From July 17, 1956 to June 30, 1986, and between July 1, 1986 Irish citizenship was acquired through “Post Nuptial Citizenship” (registration of citizenship) by women married to Irish citizens without having to go through the normal naturalization procedure or live in Ireland, as well as by persons married to someone who was not a naturalized Irish, an honorary or post nuptial citizen after 3 years of steady marriage, given that citizenship had been acquired for 3 years or more.

However, this has changed as a result of new rules that were established on November 30, 2005, whereby the foreign spouses of Irish citizen were required to be naturalised after having resided for at least 3 years in Ireland.

Honorary Irish citizenship may also be granted to persons who have done extraordinarily good deeds in the service of the nation; such as Tiede Herrema (and his wife) in 1993, Tipp O’Neill and wife, and Jean Kennedy Smith (1998).

The conferral of Irish citizenship by naturalization is done according to the discretionary power exercised by the Minister for Justice, and is only approved on the basis that the applicant had satisfied the relevant residency stipulations, intends to continue living in Ireland and is not in breach of any of Ireland’s laws. The standard residency requirements may be waived by the Minister such as in the case of stateless children, recognized refugees, persons who live abroad in the service of the State, and the spouses / children of naturalized Irish citizens.


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