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While the Irish citizenship laws are not complex it can can be difficult to navigate. Generally, Irish citizenship can be claimed if you have a parent or grandparent who was born in Ireland, however, under certain conditions, you may be eligible through your great-grandparent as well. The eligibility criteria for Irish citizenship through descent can depend on various factors, such as the date of birth of the parent or grandparent, the nature of their relationship to Ireland, and whether they were born in Ireland or abroad. In all cases, it will  be necessary to provide documentary evidence to support the claim.

Ireland has recently made some changes to its citizenship laws, which can further complicate the process and are not always readily available to the public. For example, in 2021, the Irish government introduced a new online system for processing citizenship applications, which has been designed to streamline the process and reduce waiting times. However, there have also been changes to the eligibility criteria for citizenship through descent, particularly for individuals with a grandparent who was born in Ireland.

If you are considering applying for Irish citizenship through descent, it may be helpful to consult with an immigration lawyer or specialist who can provide guidance on the requirements and procedures. Additionally, you can find more information on the Irish government’s website, as well as through the Irish embassy or consulate in your country.

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The 4 most common paths to qualify for Irish citizenship by ancestry:

  • Path 1) You or Parent Born on the Island of Ireland


If you or your parent were born on the island of Ireland before 2005, you are an Irish citizen. You can apply for an Irish passport without applying for citizenship. You are legally an Irish citizen and can simply visit the nearest Irish consulate to apply for an Irish passport.


  • Path 2) You have an Irish parent who was born outside of Ireland.



You are eligible for citizenship by descent but first must register in the Foreign Birth Registry.

  • Path 3) One of your grandparents was born in Ireland, but neither of your parents were born in Ireland. 



You may become an Irish citizen. You’ll need to have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register.


  • Path 4) If one of your great-grandparents was born in Ireland, but none of their descendants were, you can apply for Citizenship by Association.


Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended gives the Minister the absolute discretion to waive the statutory conditions in certain circumstances, including where the applicant is of Irish descent or Irish associations (defined as related through blood, affinity or adoption to a person who is or is entitled to be an Irish citizen). Generally, a period of reckonable residence of 2-3 years is required. 

What is the Foreign Birth Registration?

Foreign Birth Registration

‍The Foreign Birth Register is a facility to allow individuals that were born outside of Ireland, but have Irish parents or Grandparents, to apply for Irish Citizenship. To register your birth your parent must have been Irish citizen at the time of your birth. This is usually the case if:

  • Your grandparent was born in the Republic of Ireland before 1987,
  • Your parent had his or her birth registered in the Foreign Births Register before your birth or before 1987, or,
  • Your parent held an Irish passport validly issued before your birth.

You are automatically an Irish citizen if one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, and was born on the island of Ireland. You don’t need to apply to become an Irish citizen in this case.

Free Irish Citizenship
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Do you qualify for Irish citizenship?

Take a free eligibility test today! Your eligibility for ancestry-based citizenship will be determined within 48 hours by the internal genealogy team at Global RCG.

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Application Processing Time: 18 to 24 months


Step 1: Collect required documents


Step 2:
Fill out Application online

Once you have collected all your lineage documents, it’s time to begin filing out the citizenship/foreign birth registry application.


Step 3:
Find a professional Witness

To complete the entire application process, you will require the assistance of a legal witness. They must complete the applicable section of the application according to the guidelines. Few categories of persons can serve as your legal witnesses.


Step 4:
Submit Application

Along with the online application, hard copies must also be submited to the appropiate authorities.


Step 5:
Apply for Irish Passport ​

Once your initial application is approved, you’ll receive your official irish Foreign Birth Registration (FBR) in the mail, now its timeto apply for your Passport. The actual application for an Irish passport must be mailed.


Step 6:
Drink Guinness in Ireland! ​

Self explanatory.





During the early 1900’s, many children in Ireland never received official birth certificates, especially in more rural areas. Because doing so required traveling to the nearest big city (something not every family could do easily).Instead, local churches recorded births with Baptismal Certificates. In this instance, you can still apply for citizenship, but you must first search for your grandparent’s birth certificate through the General Registrar’s Office anyway.

Section of Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that process's applications for Foreign Births Registration otherwise known as Citizenship by Descent. This can be a complex process that may require you to submit official documentation relating to three generations which may have been issued by several jurisdictions.

Embassies and Consulates in these countries do not process Foreign Birth Registrations. All applications are now processed in Dublin.


Yes, you can use the same set of papers and supporting documents for both applications. Just enclose the two separate application forms in one envelope and send it to us with a letter saying that some of the documents apply to both applications. This only applies if you are resident in the same country when applying.

- If your children were born after your entry onto the Foreign Births Register then they too are eligible to apply for entry on the register.
- If your children were born before you were registered, they are not eligible to apply as you were not an Irish citizen at the time of their birth.

Yes. At the end of the process we will return all your original certificates to the address on your application form.

No, you cannot apply for an Irish passport until you are an Irish citizen.

Do you qualify for Irish citizenship?

Take a free eligibility test today! Your eligibility for ancestry-based citizenship will be determined within 48 hours by the internal genealogy team at Global RCG.

Free Irish Citizenship
Eligibly Assessment

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