Naturalisation allows individuals who initially had no connection to Ireland to be regarded as if they were native to the island, provided that they fulfil certain requirements. Once you obtain Irish citizenship by naturalisation, you have the possibility of filing an Irish passport application and have access to all the benefits that this document offers.
How to Qualify for Naturalisation
To be eligible for naturalisation, you must meet certain prerequisites pertaining to residency length, age, behaviour, and documentation.
You’d have to reach a reckonable residence threshold before applying to become a naturalised Irish citizen.
Reckonable residence is the time spent on the island on a legal status that enables you to apply for naturalisation in the future.
Some residence periods, while legal, are not counted towards your naturalisation. These include:
- Residence on a student visa (save for “young adults”).
- Residence period while you were applying for international protection.
Needless to say, the time spent as an undocumented resident (illegal) is not considered in the period calculation for the purposes of naturalisation.
With respect to length, these are the periods set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act:
- At least one year (365 days) of continuous reckonable residence in Ireland immediately before the application.
- Before that, four years (1,460 days) of total reckonable residence during the past eight years.
That would give us a total reckonable residence period of five years within a 9-year timeframe.
Some categories of individuals may apply after a 3-year residence. These include:
- Spouses of Irish citizens (in this scenario, you must have lived at least three out of five years in the State and ought to have been married for three or more years to be eligible)
- Children of naturalised adults
- People who were granted refugee status (unless they received subsidiary protection status)
You’d need to be 18 years of age or older to apply for Irish citizenship by naturalisation.
However, children under 18 can be immersed in a naturalisation procedure if a caring adult applies on their behalf and:
- The child was born on Irish soil after 1 January 2005 but could not qualify for citizenship by birth.
- The child has Irish descent or Irish associations.
- The parent is a naturalised Irish citizen.
Ireland’s national police (Garda Síochána) will provide a background report outlining:
- Your criminal record
- Your driving offences
- Any ongoing investigations against your and/or pending criminal cases that haven’t reached court yet
- Cautions that were issued from the Gardaí
The application form also has a field wherein you can declare any of the above and explain the circumstances that motivated the actions on the part of the Garda or court.
First, you must fill out your application form from the ones made available on the Immigration Service Delivery website. You must download at least one of the following forms:
- Form 8 for individuals aged 18 or older
- Form 9 for children of naturalised Irish citizens
- Form 10 for parents of minor children who are of Irish descent or Irish associations
- Form 11 for parents or guardians of minors born in Ireland but who don’t have the right to Irish citizenship by birth
The form has to be accompanied by supporting documentation, such as:
- Your birth certificate
- Your most recent passport
- Your tax clearance certificate (E-tax clearance)
- Two colour passport photos signed at the back by an eligible witness
- Banker’s draft showing the €175 application fee payment
Also, depending on your circumstances, you may have to attach other pieces of evidence that attest to your specific situation. For example, if you are applying as the spouse of an Irish citizen, you ought to provide your marriage or civil partnership certificate and your spouse’s birth certificate.
A great portion of the documents’ copies you submit must be certified as “true copies” by a notary, solicitor, peace commissioner or commissioner for oaths. Furthermore, if the documents are in a language different from English, they must be translated by a professional translator.
You’ll be able to use a wide array of supporting documents to make your case, all of which are assessed using a “scorecard system”. The Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) has a spreadsheet with information on how many points you can get for the different types of documents you present. You would need to reach 150 points in both residency and identification for your application to succeed.
Lastly, you must sign a statutory declaration swearing that the information laid out on the form is true. This declaration must additionally be witnessed by an authorised witness among those mentioned for certifying copies. These witnesses would also be eligible for signing the back of the colour photographs noted earlier.
All the documents described above must be sent by post to the address shown on the form, along with the form itself.
What Happens After the Application is Sent?
You’d have to wait for the application to get processed. It usually takes around 12 months to get a decision. In some cases, there may be delays, especially if the ISD asks for additional documentation or for clarification.
If your application is successful, you’d have to pay the Certification Fee to proceed with the citizenship ceremony. If the application gets refused, you can’t appeal the decision but you may try applying again (the application fee will not get refunded.)
The naturalisation application fee is €175 for every applicant.
The naturalisation certificate (issued once the application gets approved) costs €;200 for minors and widows/widowers/surviving civil partners of Irish citizens. All other candidates must pay €950.
Irish Passport Application
After you get your citizenship certificate, you can apply for an Irish passport, which has a validity of 10 years for people 18 years of age or older. First passport applications, as well as Irish passport renewal requests, can be done using the Passport Online or the Post Passport service.
In-person applications (by visiting the Passport Office) are reserved mainly for emergency renewals, such as when you must travel for medical reasons or in the event of the death of a family member abroad.