If you are a foreign national who is the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen, you may be able to become an Irish citizen if you meet certain conditions. Foreign nationals married to, or in a civil partnership with, Irish citizens can apply for citizenship through naturalisation. The application process is the same as for foreign nationals who are not the spouses or civil partners of Irish citizens but there are more favourable residence requirements. The Minister for Justice and Equality has discretion to grant or refuse your application.
You must use the current versions of the application forms on the INIS website - see 'How to apply' below. Since November 2011 there is an application fee of €175 - see 'Rates' below.
The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 allows for civil partners to receive treatment equal to married couples in citizenship matters. It allows certificates of naturalisation to be presented in formal citizenship ceremonies.
Since 29 November 2005, it is no longer possible to become an Irish citizen by making a post-nuptial declaration of citizenship (pdf) but this scheme has now ended.
If you are the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen who is applying for Irish citizenship, you must meet the following conditions:
*Foreign relationships registered outside Ireland were only recognised by the State on 13 January 2011 when the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 came into force. This means that, even if your civil partnership was registered outside Ireland before 2011, only your residence as the civil partner of an Irish citizen since 13 January 2011 will be counted as part of the 3-year period required for naturalisation based on your civil partnership with an Irish citizen.
Certain periods of residence do not count for the purpose of reckonable residence, for example, periods when you did not have permission to remain in Ireland, or you were here on a student visa, or you were seeking asylum. You can use the online residency calculator on the INIS website to check if you meet the naturalisation residency conditions.
You are not free to enter a second marriage or a civil partnership unless, at the time of your second marriage or civil partnership, your previous marriage had been terminated by:
A divorce granted by an Irish court will be recognised as having terminated your previous marriage. If your freedom to enter your current marriage or civil partnership was based on an earlier marriage terminated by a divorce, and that divorce was not obtained in Ireland, you will need to find out whether that divorce is one that would be recognised under Irish law.
You will be required to present documentation showing the validity of your current marriage, which would include documentation showing the validity of any previous divorce.
In the same way, as described above, you are not free to enter a second civil partnership or marriage unless your previous civil partnership had been terminated by:
You will be informed by registered post when the decision is made on your application. If your application is approved, the letter notifying you of the decision will contain instructions about final procedures that must be completed before the certificate of naturalisation can be issued.
A certificate of naturalisation confirming your Irish citizenship will normally be issued within 30 days of the letter informing you of the decision.
You can apply for an Irish passport following the confirmation of your Irish citizenship and the receipt of your citizenship certificate.
Since 10 November 2011 the fee for an application for naturalisation is €175
When the certificate of naturalisation is issued you pay a fee of €950.
The supporting documents required include evidence of your identity and nationality (birth certificate and passport). You will also need to produce documents relating to your status and the duration of your stay in the State, such as your Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) card, declaration of refugee status.
As your application for naturalisation is based on your marriage to or civil partnership with an Irish citizen, you will need to produce the documents needed to show your spouse’s or civil partner's status and evidence of your marital or civil partner status (for example, birth or naturalisation certificate of Irish spouse, marriage or civil registration certificate). In the application form your spouse or civil partner must complete a sworn affidavit that you are living together as husband and wife or civil partners.
As well as these documents, you must produce documents relevant to your financial and employment status (payslips for the previous 3 months, bank statements for the previous 3 months) and confirmation of your income tax situation.
You should only send copies of the above documents with your application form. The copies of birth, marriage, civil partnership and divorce certificates must be certified copies. Certified copies are photocopies of original documents which are made and certified by a solicitor, notary public, Commissioner for Oaths or Peace Commissioner. You will be expected to produce the original documents for inspection at a later stage during the examination of your application.
The information in your application form will be checked against the supporting documentation and any inaccuracy will lead to delays in ruling on your application.
You should not sign the form until you are in the presence of the person who must witness you signing it. The application form contains instructions about who is eligible to be a witness.
If you need assistance with your application, the Citizenship Application Support Service (CASS) is a free information and support service established by the New Communities Partnership. You can call contact the national helpline at (01) 677 3887 or visit one of their clinics
New applications should be sent to Citizenship Applications, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, PO Box 73, Tipperary Town. Note: this address is only for lodging new applications. All other citizenship correspondence should be sent to:
Department of Justice and Equality Office
Opening Hours:Helpline: 10:00 am -12:30 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays only
Tel:+353 (0)62 32500
Locall:1890 25 28 54
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.