Irish Citizenship I

Citizenship grants the most extensive rights to be in the State and enjoy the benefits of its laws and protection. Nationals and naturalised residents are citizens. A wide range of persons potentially qualify for Irish citizenship. In some cases, qualification is automatic, while in others, the Minister for Justice has an element of discretion in the matter

Article 2 of the Constitution declares that it is the entitlement and birth right of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas to be part of the Irish nation. It is the entitlement of all persons, qualified in accordance with law, to be citizens of Ireland. The Constitution declares that the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad, who share its cultural identity and heritage.

A person born in the island of Ireland including islands and seas, who does not have at the time of that birth, at least one parent who is an Irish citizen or who is entitled to be an Irish citizen, is not entitled to Irish citizenship or nationality, unless provided for by law. This provision which was introduced into the Constitution by referendum in 2004, does not apply to persons born before its introduction

Irish Citizenship II

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts 1956-2004 determines the right to Irish citizenship. In the case of person born before 2005, every person born in Ireland became an Irish citizen from birth. Every person became an Irish citizen if his father or mother was an Irish citizen at the time of that person’s birth. The entitlement did not apply to the child of an alien who, at the time of the child’s birth, is entitled to diplomatic immunity in the State.

The automatic conferral of citizenship did not apply to a person, not otherwise an Irish citizen, born in Northern Ireland on or after the establishment of the Irish Free State, unless he (or if a minor, his parents or guardian) declared himself to be an Irish citizen in the prescribed form declared himself to be an Irish citizen.

After 1st January 2005, a person born in the island of Ireland after 1 January 2005 to parents, at least one of whom was an Irish or British citizen or entitled to reside in the State or Northern Ireland without any restrictions on his or her residence, has an entitlement of Irish citizenship.

A person born in the island of Ireland after 1 January 2005 is entitled to Irish citizenship only if, during the four year period immediately preceding the person’s birth, one of the parents has been resident in the island of Ireland for a period of not less than three years and neither parent was entitled to diplomatic immunity in the State.

A person shall be a citizen from the date of his birth, if he or she does any act that only an Irish citizen is entitled to do, or in the case of a person who was not of full age or is suffering from a mental incapacity, any the act is done on of his behalf, which only an Irish citizen is entitled to do so.  This  in particular, covers the taking it out of an Irish passport, by or on behalf of a person born in Northern Ireland.

A person born in the island of Ireland is an Irish citizen, if he or she is not entitled to citizenship of any other country.

Children of Certain Non-Nationals

There are restrictions on the entitlement to Irish citizenship for persons born to certain non-nationals since 1st January 2005 Act. There is no automatic entitlement to Irish citizenship, unless the parent of that person, has during the four years immediately preceding that person’s birth, been resident in the island of Ireland during three of the preceding four years.

This restriction  does not apply a person born before 2005.

The restriction does not apply to

  • a person born in the island of Ireland to parents at least one of whom was at the time of the person’s birth, an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen,
  • if the person was born to parents, one of whom was deceased at the time of the person’s birth and the other parent was at that time, or the deceased parent was, immediately before he or she died, an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen, or if the person was born to parents both of whom were deceased at the time of the person’s birth, and at least one of whom was, immediately before his or her death, an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen;

The restriction does not apply to a person born in the island of Ireland

  • to parents at least one of whom was at the time of the person’s birth a British citizen or a person entitled to reside in Northern Ireland (not being a person with a time limited right to reside only),
  • if the person was born to parents one of whom was deceased at the time of the person’s birth and the other parent was at that time, or  the deceased parent was, immediately before he or she died, British citizen or a person entitled to reside in Northern Ireland (not being a person with a time limited right to reside only),
  • if the person was born to parents both of whom were deceased at the time of the person’s birth and at least one of whom was, immediately before his or her death, a British citizen or a person entitled to reside in Northern Ireland (not being a person with a time limited right to reside only),

The restriction does not apply to a person born in the island of Ireland

  • to parents at least one of whom was at the time of the person’s birth a person entitled to reside in the State (not being a person with a time limited right to reside only)
  • if the person was born to parents one of whom was deceased at the time of the person’s birth and the other parent was at that time, or  the deceased parent was, immediately before he or she died, a person entitled to reside in the State (not being a person with a time limited right to reside only) or if the person was born to parents both of whom were deceased at the time of the person’s birth and one of whom was, immediately before his or her death, a person entitled to reside in the State (not being a person with a time limited right to reside only).

The restriction does not apply to a person born in the island of Ireland

  • neither of whose parents was at the time of the person’s birth an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen,  a British citizen,a person entitled to reside in the State (not being a person with a time limited right to reside only) or a person entitled to reside in Northern Ireland (not being a person with a time limited right to reside only), and
  • at least one of whose parents was at that time entitled to diplomatic immunity in the State.

In the above context, a “British citizen” means a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Residence in Island of Ireland

Where a parent of a person to whom the above provisions apply dies before the person’s birth, the period commencing on the date of the parent’s death and expiring on the date of the person’s birth shall be reckonable for the purposes of calculating a period of residence in the island of Ireland under that provision  if the parent was, immediately before his or her death, residing in the island of Ireland, and  the period in respect of which he or she was, immediately before his or her death, resident in the island of Ireland is reckonable in that context.

Where an EU / EEA national or Swiss national makes a declaration that he has resided in Ireland for the period set out in the declaration, it is presumed that he lived in Ireland for that period, until the contrary is shown

If a parent, guardian (or equivalent) of a  person under 18 years, declares that the child is a child of national of an EU / EEA state or Switzerland makes a declaration that the parent resided in Ireland for such a period as specified, the parent is  deemed resident, until the contrary is shown.  Similar provisions apply in respect of a person suffering from a mental incapacity, by which a person authorised to act on their behalf may make a declaration that the parent resided in Ireland for the period stated, which  is presumed to be the case, until the contrary is shown.

A period of residence in the State shall not be reckonable for the purposes of calculating a period of residence above, if

  • it contravenes immigration legislation,
  • it is in accordance with a permission given for the purpose of enabling him or her to engage in a course of education or study in the State, or
  • it consists of a period during which a person (other than an EU/ EEA or Swiss national is entitled to remain in the State in accordance only with the  refugee legislation.

A period of residence in Northern Ireland shall not be reckonable for the purposes of calculating a period of residence above, if the residence of the person concerned in Northern Ireland during that period is not lawful under the law of Northern Ireland (the person not being an EU/ EEA or Swiss national) or if the entitlement of the person concerned to reside in Northern Ireland is subject to analogous restrictions to the those mentioned above in respect of the State.

Citizenship by descent

A person is an Irish citizen from birth if at the time of his birth, either parent was an Irish citizen or would, if alive have been an Irish citizen.  This provision applies even if the  parent concerned had not activated Irish citizenship, at the time of birth.

Irish citizenship is not conferred on a person born outside the island of Ireland, if the parent from whom he or she derives citizenship, was also born outside Ireland unless has birth is registered under Irish legislation or the parent from whom he derives citizenship, was at the time of that person’s birth, abroad in the public service.  The citizenship of a person registered after 1st July 1986 is deemed effective  from that date.

Citizenship by Marriage

Acquisition of Irish citizenship by a person shall not by itself confer citizenship on his or her spouse.

A person who is an non-national at the date of marriage to a person who is, or later becomes an Irish citizen, does not become a citizen by marriage alone.  However, he or she may do so by lodging  not earlier than three years from the date of the marriage (or the date on which his or her spouse became an Irish citizen, whichever is later), a declaration in the prescribed manner with the Department of Foreign Affairs or with an Irish diplomatic mission accepting Irish citizenship as post-nuptial citizenship.

The marriage must be subsisting at the date of the declaration and the couple must be living together as husband and wife.  The Irish citizen must submit an affidavit to this effect, when the declaration is lodged.  Citizenship commences from the date of lodgement.

A person who was married to an Irish citizen prior to 30th November 2002 is deemed to lodge the declaration on that date, being the date on which the legislation came into force. Post-nuptial citizenship does not apply to marriage to an person who becomes a citizen  by naturalisation, as a grant or token of honour or under this spousal provision itself.),

Various

Every deserted new-born child found in the State is presumed to have been born in the island of Ireland to at least one Irish citizen.

When an adoption order is made under Irish adoption law, where the adopter or either of a married couple are Irish citizens,the adopted child is deemed an Irish citizen if not already so.

The President may grant Irish citizenship as a token of honour to a person, or to the child or grandchild of a person, who in the opinion of the Government, has done signal honour or rendered distinguished service to the nation.  A certificate of Irish citizenship shall be issued to the person to whom citizenship is so granted. He shall be an Irish citizen from such date.

A person born on an Irish ship or aircraft, wherever it may be, is deemed born in the island of Ireland.

Naturalisation

Irish citizenship can be conferred on a non-national by a certificate of naturalisation, granted by the Minister for Justice.  A person to whom a certificate of naturalisation issues, is an Irish citizen from the date of issue. The Minister may grant citizenship in his absolute discretion, if he is satisfied that

  • the applicant is of full age, or is a minor born outside the State;
  • is of good character;
  • has for a period of one continuous year resided in the State immediately prior to the application
  • during the eight preceding years, has resided at least four years in the State;
  • intends in good faith to continue to reside in State after naturalisation; and
  • has made before the District Court or in such other manner as may be allowed, a declaration a fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the state. Citizenship ceremonies are used in place of a Court declaration.

The Minister may, in his discretion, grant a certificate of naturalisation to a non-national spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen on the above conditions, provided that

  • the spouse is married to the Irish citizen for at least for three years
  • the marriage is subsisting
  • the persons are proved to be living together as husband and wife; and
  • the applicant has at least one year’s residence in the island of Ireland and at least two year’s residence in the four preceding years.
  • intends in good faith to continue to reside in State after naturalisation; and
  • has made before the District Court or in such other manner as may be allowed, a declaration a fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the state. Citizenship ceremonies are used in place of a Court declaration.

A declaration of fealty to the nation and loyalty to the state is required.

The Minister may, in his absolute discretion, waive some or all of the above conditions, if satisfied that the applicant would suffer serious consequences in terms of his bodily integrity or liberty, if not granted Irish citizenship. A period of residence outside Ireland during which the applicant was married to an Irish citizen in the public service, is deemed residence in Ireland for the above purpose.

Discretion

The Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation, notwithstanding that some or all of the conditions for naturalisation are not complied with;

  • where the applicant is of Irish descent or association;
  • where the applicant is a parent or guardian on behalf of a minor of Irish descent or association;
  • where the applicant is a naturalised Irish citizen, acting on behalf of a minor child of the applicant;
  • where the applicant has been resident abroad in the public service;
  • where the applicant is a refugee within the meaning of the UN Convention on the status of refugees

A person is of Irish association, if he is related by blood, affinity or adoption to a person who is an Irish citizen or who is entitled to be an Irish citizen, or if he or she was related by blood, affinity or adoption to a person who is deceased, and who at his death was an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen.

Periods of residence in the State are not counted for the purpose of a certificate of naturalisation if

  • the person concerned is in breach of immigration legislation;
  • has permission only for the purpose of allowing a person to engage in a course of education or study,
  • certain periods of asylum seeking.

Revocation

A certificate of naturalisation may be revoked if the Minister is satisfied that the issue of the certificate was procured by fraud, misrepresentation (whether innocent, fraudulent or by concealment of facts or circumstances) or if the person to whom it was granted, has by any overt act, shown himself to have failed in his duty of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

A certificate of naturalisation may be revoked if the Minister is satisfied, the person to whom it is has been granted, has been ordinarily resident outside the State (other than for public service), for a continuous period of seven years without reasonable excuse and has not during that period, registered annually in the prescribed manner,  a declaration of his intention to remain an Irish citizen with an Irish diplomatic mission or consulate office or with the Minister. This does not apply to a certificate of  naturalization issued to a person by descent and association.

Citizenship may be withdrawn, if the person is a citizen of a country with which the State is at war or if the person by a voluntary act other than marriage, acquires another citizenship.

Before revoking a certificate of naturalization, the Minister shall  give notice in prescribed form to the person to whom the certificate was granted, of the intention to revoke citizenship, stating the grounds.  The person concerned has a right to apply to the Minister for an inquiry in relation to the reasons for the proposed revocation.

Upon application being made in the prescribed form for an enquiry, the Minister must refer the matter to a committee of inquiry appointed by him, consisting of a chairman having judicial or other experience, as the Minister thinks fit. The committee shall report its findings to the Minister.

If an Irish citizen of full age and is is about to become a citizen of another country and for that reason desires to announce his citizenship he may do so if ordinarily resident outside the state, by lodging a a declaration of alienage in the prescribed form.  He ceases to be an Irish citizen upon lodgement of the declaration.  A person may not renounce citizenship during a time of war.

The death of an Irish citizen shall not affect the citizenship of his surviving spouse or children.  Loss of Irish citizenship shall not affect the citizenship of a spouse or children.  Marriage to a non-national shall not, by virtue of the marriage cause a person to cease to be an Irish citizen regardless of whether he or she acquires nationality of the non-national.

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