Irish Citizenship by Descent

Irish Citizenship by Descent

You may be eligible for Irish citizenship by birth if you were born in Ireland or one of your parents was Irish at the time of your birth. If one of your grandparents was Irish, you may also be eligible for Irish citizenship by descent.

Awards and Accreditations

Irish Citizenship by Descent

Irish Citizenship law allows the descendants of Irish people who have moved abroad to claim Irish citizenship. If each generation registers their birth before the next generation is born, then Irish citizenship can be passed from parent to child.

Claiming Irish Citizenship by Descent

If you were born in Ireland and you qualify to be an Irish citizen by birth, your child is automatically an Irish citizen by birth, even if the child was born in another country. You do not have to submit an application for Irish Citizenship by Descent. You can simply apply for an Irish passport for your child.

If you were born outside Ireland, you can become an Irish citizen if: 

  1. One of your grandparents was born in Ireland, OR
  2. One of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth but was not born in Ireland.

Supporting Documents

To apply for Irish citizenship by descent, a number of supporting documents will be required. These documents may include:

  • Your original long form birth certificate
  • Your parents’ and/or grandparents’ birth certificates
  • Your parents’ and/or grandparents’ marriage certificates
  • Your parents’ and/or grandparents’ death certificates (if applicable)
  • Marriage certificate or change of name document (if applicable)
  • Proof of your parent’s or grandparent’s Irish citizenship
  • Your passport and/or other state-issued identification documents
  • Evidence of your current citizenship status
  • Two proofs of your address
  • If you are applying on behalf of a child, you must also include a letter from the child’s school or doctor

It is important to note that these documents must be original or certified copies, and they must be in English or accompanied by a certified translation.

Irish Citizenship by Descent Application Process

Applications must be submitted online. When the form is complete, you must submit it electronically and print a paper copy to sign and send it to the Irish Citizenship Department in Dublin.

Irish Citizenship Processing Fees

The Irish government processing fee must be paid online once the application form is complete. The fees are:

Adults €278
Children €153

The fee includes a postage and handling charge.

Have your form, photographs and documents witnessed

You must sign the printed copy of your application form in front of a witness who is personally known to you. The witness must be a member of one of the professions designed by the Irish Citizenship Department.

This witness should also sign and verify your passport photos and stamp the form with their official stamp. You should send a business card if the witness does not have an official stamp.
Finally, the witness must certify that the copy of your state identification is a true copy.

Application processing times

Processing of applications was suspended for a period because of COVID-19. This means there is now a backlog of applications.

Applications are now being processed. You should expect delays. The current processing time is 2 years.

What can I do if my application is refused?

If your application is refused and you supplied all the correct documentation, you can appeal the decision. You will get a letter telling you that your application has been refused, and you should write a letter of appeal within 6 weeks of the date of the refusal.

Irish Passport Applications

If a person secures Irish Citizenship by descent, they can apply for an Irish Passport. You can apply online or submit a paper-based application.

The processing fee is €75 for a standard 34-page Irish passport valid for 10 years or €130 for a large 66-page Irish passport valid for 10 years and a five-year passport card valid for EU Travel.

Benefits of Securing Irish Citizenship by Descent

Irish citizenship offers a range of benefits, including:

  1. Right to live and work in Ireland: As an Irish citizen, you have the right to live and work in Ireland without any restrictions.
  2. Access to education: Irish citizens have access to free primary and secondary education, as well as subsidized third-level education.
  3. Access to healthcare: Irish citizens have access to the public healthcare system in Ireland, which provides free or subsidized healthcare to those who need it.
  4. Ability to travel visa-free: Irish citizens can travel visa-free to many countries around the world, including the United States and countries in the European Union.
  5. Right to vote: As an Irish citizen, you have the right to vote in Irish elections and referendums.
  6. Access to social welfare benefits: Irish citizens are entitled to a range of social welfare benefits, including unemployment benefits, disability benefits, and old-age pensions.
  7. Consular support: Irish citizens who are traveling or living abroad can receive consular support from Irish embassies and consulates.
  8. Right to participate in the political process: Irish citizens can run for political office in Ireland and can participate in the democratic process by joining political parties or engaging in political activism.

Overall, Irish citizenship offers a range of benefits that can enhance your quality of life, provide greater freedom of movement and access to services, and allow you to participate more fully in Irish society and politics.

Obtaining Irish citizenship by descent can be a complex process, but it is an important step for those who wish to connect with their Irish ancestry and heritage. If you believe that you may be eligible for Irish citizenship by descent, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney or advisor who can help guide you through the process and ensure that your application is complete and accurate.


In addition to the requirements, eligibility, timescales, fees, and supporting documents discussed above, there are a few other important considerations for those applying for Irish citizenship by descent. These include:

  • Dual citizenship: Ireland permits dual citizenship, so those who obtain Irish citizenship by descent can generally maintain their citizenship in their home country as well.
  • Automatic citizenship for children: If you obtain Irish citizenship by descent, your children will generally be eligible for Irish citizenship automatically, regardless of where they are born.
  • Registration in the Foreign Births Register: If you are eligible for Irish citizenship by descent, you may wish to consider registering in the Foreign Births Register. This can help to establish your connection to Ireland and make future applications for Irish citizenship or passports easier.

In conclusion, Irish citizenship by descent is a valuable option for those who wish to connect with their Irish heritage and obtain the benefits of Irish citizenship. While the application process can be complex, with the right preparation and guidance, it is possible to navigate the process successfully and obtain Irish citizenship. If you are interested in pursuing Irish citizenship by descent, it is important to research the requirements and eligibility criteria carefully, gather the necessary supporting documents, and consult with an experienced immigration attorney or advisor to guide you through the process.

Irish Citizenship Services

Our team of Irish citizenship experts have a wealth of experience with representing applicants from the United States and Canada with applications for Irish Citizenship by Descent. We will guide you expertly through the Irish citizenship process and ensure that your documentation is in the format required by the authorities.  

For further information, please schedule a consultation.

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