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Becoming an Irish citizen through marriage or civil partnership

Information

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.

Rules

If you are the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen who is applying for Irish citizenship, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must be married to or in a recognised civil partnership* with the Irish citizen for at least 3 years
  • You must have had a period of 1 year's continuous reckonable residence - see below - in the island of Ireland immediately before the date of your application
  • You must have been living on the island of Ireland for at least 2 of the 4 years before that year of continuous residence
  • Your marriage or civil partnership must be recognised as valid under Irish law
  • You and your spouse or civil partner must be living together as husband and wife or civil partners
  • You must be of full age, good character and intend to continue to live on the island of Ireland
  • You must have made a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

*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.

Reckonable residence

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.

If you have previously been married and divorced

You can only claim citizenship by marriage or civil partnership if your current marriage or civil partnership is valid under Irish law.

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:

  • The death of your first husband or wife
  • A divorce that would be recognised under Irish law

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.

If you have previously been in a civil partnership which is now dissolved

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:

  • The death of your first civil partner
  • A dissolution that would be recognised under Irish law

Processing your application for citizenship

You will be informed by registered post when the decision is made on your application. Generally most applications will be processed within 6 months.

If your application is approved, the letter notifying you of this decision will contain instructions regarding the final procedures that must be completed before the certificate of naturalisation can be issued. When you submit the required documentation and certification fee, you will be invited to a citizenship ceremony at which you will be granted your certificate of naturalisation.

You can apply for an Irish passport following the confirmation of your Irish citizenship and the receipt of your citizenship certificate.

Rates

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.

How to apply

You must use the current versions of the application forms on the INIS website. You apply using Form 8 (pdf) which is available from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

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, for example, your Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) card, declaration of refugee status.

Spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen

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.

Supports available

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

Where to apply

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 adult applications. All other citizenship correspondence should be sent to:

Citizenship Division

Department of Justice and Equality Office
Rosanna Road
Tipperary Town
Tipperary
Ireland

Opening Hours:Helpline: 10:00 am -12:30 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays only
Tel:+353 (0)62 32500
Locall:1890 25 28 54
Homepage: http://www.inis.gov.ie/

Page updated: 31 March 2014

Language

Gaeilge

Related Documents

Contact Us

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.