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Post-Brexit Irish Citizenship Rush

British applications for Irish Citizenship in 2018 increased by 20 fold compared to pre-Brexit levels.

Written by Isabelle Cooper

Published 26/03/2021

Ring of Kerry, a popular natural attraction in Ireland. Image by Howard Walsh from Pixabay


Before murmurings of Brexit, the numbers of Britons applying for Irish citizenship averaged 60 a year. Since 2016, the numbers have soared, reaching 1,213 in 2018, representing a 20 fold increase. Applications for first time Irish passports have followed a similar trajectory; 650% increase from 2015 to 2019. 10% of Britons are estimated to be eligible for an Irish passport.

To retain the privileges and rights of EU citizenship, many Britons have rushed to secure their Irish citizenship (if eligible). This route offers continued freedom of movement within the EU and the right to work. Whereas, post-Brexit Britons will usually need a visa (e.g. ‘Skilled Worker’ visa) if they wish to stay longer than 3 months in any EU country.

Routes to Citizenship

Irish citizenship is relatively easy to acquire and eligibility guidelines are quite generous. Various channels include place of birth, Irish descent, marriage, adoption or naturalisation.  This article concerns route to citizenship for those who are not automatically entitled to it, and applying through Irish descent.

See here for those who automatically qualify for Irish Citizenship

People who do not automatically qualify for Irish citizenship but are eligible:

  • Anyone born outside of Ireland to an Irish citizen who was also born outside Ireland
  • Anyone born anywhere in the world with at least one grandparent who was born on the island of Ireland and was an Irish citizen at the time of the grandchild’s birth

In these cases, you can become an Irish citizen through Foreign Birth Registration. However, processing of registration has been paused for the duration of the Irish Covid-19 lockdown.

Once a person is entered onto the Foreign Births Register they are an Irish citizen and entitled to apply for an Irish passport.

There is a different process for adults and minors.

What documents do I need?

From the applicant:

  • Completed, signed and witnessed application form (see list of witnesses at 1 above)
  • 2 separate original proofs of address
  • 4 colour photographs (2 of which to be witnessed) – do not attach these to the application form

From the applicant/Irish Citizen Parent/ Irish born Grandparent

  • Original civil birth certificate (showing parental details)
  • Original civil marriage certificate (if applicable) OR other change of name document (if applicable)
  • Photocopy of current state-issued ID document (i.e. passport, drivers licence, national identity card) certified as a true copy of the original by application form witness OR original civil death certificate (if applicable)

These are the bare minimum required, see here for the requirements for specific routes.

How long does it usually take?

Foreign Birth Registration takes approximately 12-18 months.

How much does it cost?

Foreign Birth Registration Application:

Adult (18 and over)

  • Registration plus Certificate: €270 (~£231)
  • Administrative Fee: €8 (~£6.80)
  • Total: €278 (~£237.5)

Minor (under 18)

  • Registration plus Certificate: €145 (~£124)
  • Administrative Fee: €8 (~£6.80)
  • Total: €153 (~£131)

Passport Application:

Standard 10-year passport application: €80 (~£68)

Unfortunately, we do not know when the office will re-open to accept new applications for Irish Citizenship. Check here for updates.

March 29,2021 at 5:18 pm


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