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Becoming an Irish citizen through naturalisation

Information

What is naturalisation?

Naturalisation in Ireland means the process whereby a foreign national living in Ireland may apply to become an Irish citizen. In order to apply for naturalisation in Ireland, you must have been physically resident in Ireland for a certain length of time.

All applications to become a naturalised Irish citizen are decided by the Minister for Justice and Equality. This Minister has absolute discretion as to whether or not to grant naturalisation. There are strict rules about applying for naturalisation as an Irish citizen and these rules are set out below.

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

Who is eligible for naturalisation?

If you wish to become an Irish citizen through naturalisation, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older (you must be married if you are under the age of 18) or,
  • Be a minor born in the State (from 1 January 2005) and
  • Be of good character - the Garda Síochána (Ireland's national police) will be asked to provide a report about your background. Any criminal record or ongoing proceedings will be taken into consideration by the Minister for Justice and Equality in deciding whether or not to grant naturalisation. Details of any proceedings, criminal or civil, in the State or elsewhere, should be disclosed in the application form, and
  • Have had a period of 365 days* (1 year) continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately before the date of your application for naturalisation and, during the 8 years preceding that, have had a total reckonable residence in the State amounting to 1,460 days* (4 years). Altogether you must have 5 years (5 x 365 days*) reckonable residence out of the last 9 years - see ‘calculating reckonable residence’ below, and
  • Intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation and
  • Make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and undertake to observe the laws of the State and respect its democratic values (see below for the point in the process at which this is required).

*You must add 1 day for any period which includes 29 February.

Normally, when you apply for naturalisation you must be supporting yourself and your dependants while living in Ireland - see 'Self supporting' below.

The Minister for Justice and Equality has power to waive one or more of the conditions for naturalisation in the following circumstances:

In the case of a refugee, stateless person or a person of Irish associations, the Minister will normally waive 2 of the 5 years' reckonable residence requirement.

Calculating reckonable residence

Reckonable residence means periods of residence taken into account when examining an application for naturalisation. Certain periods of residence may be excluded from the reckoning when calculating periods of residence in the State. These are periods when your presence in the State was not properly documented or (in certain cases) periods covered by a permission to remain that was for study purposes (that is, you were on a student visa) or while having a claim for asylum examined. You can use the online residency calculator on the INIS website to check if you meet the naturalisation residency conditions.

EEA nationals: The time that a EEA or Swiss citizen has spent in the State is reckonable for naturalisation purposes as EEA and Swiss citizens are not required to have residence permits or documents under the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) (No. 2) Regulations 2006 (pdf). The European Economic Area (EEA) comprises the EU member states, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Non-EEA nationals: If you are not an EEA or Swiss citizen, any time when you did not have permission to remain in the State will not be counted as reckonable residence. Registration with the Garda National Immigration Bureau is the evidence of legal residence which meets the residency requirements for naturalisation. The following periods of residence will not be reckoned if the permission to remain:

  • Was for the purposes of study (that is, you were on a student visa) whether or not that study involved you being employed during any of the period of study, or
  • Was granted as you were on a working holiday authorisation, or
  • Was granted while your claim for asylum was being examined, if the claim was not granted.

Self supporting

In general, apart from refugees and stateless persons, applicants for naturalisation must prove they can support themselves and their families while living in Ireland. If you can show that you have not received State support in the 3 years before your application, this will generally meet the Minister for Justice and Equality's requirement that you have been supporting yourself and your dependants and that you will continue to do so.

How your application for naturalisation is processed

You will normally be informed within a week whether your application has passed the initial processing stage. If your application passes the initial stage, it is then processed further along with all other applications that are on hand. You will be given a reference number and you should quote this number when making queries either by phone or in writing. You do not have to pay any fee at this stage as you will be asked to pay if and when your application is approved.

For incorrect or incomplete applications, the process is longer, but you can keep it as short as possible by replying quickly to any queries. If further documentation or clarification is needed, you will be asked for it once processing of your application has begun.

You will be informed by registered post as soon as a decision has been made on your application. Generally most applications will be processed within 6 months.

Certificate of naturalisation

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 are an Irish citizen from the date of issue of the certificate and you can apply to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for an Irish passport any time after that date. The certificate of naturalisation is written in Irish. The English version is Form 11 in the schedule of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Amendment) Regulations 2011.

Revoking citizenship

The Minister for Justice and Equality can revoke your certificate of naturalisation if:

  • You obtained it through fraud, misrepresentation or concealment of material facts or circumstances
  • You have, through an overt act, failed in your duty of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State
  • You were ordinarily resident outside Ireland (other than in public service) for a continuous period of 7 years and, without a reasonable excuse, did not register your name and a declaration of your intention to retain Irish citizenship with an Irish diplomatic mission or consular office or with the Minister for Justice and Equality on an annual basis - see 'How to apply' below.
  • You are also, under the law of a country at war with the State, a citizen of that country
  • You have, by any other voluntary act other than marriage or registration of civil partnership, acquired citizenship of another country.

Before revoking your certificate of naturalisation, the Minister for Justice and Equality will inform you in advance, stating the reasons why the certificate is being revoked and your right to apply to the Minister for an inquiry into the reasons for the revocation. If you apply for an inquiry into a decision to revoke your certificate of naturalisation, the Minister will refer your case to a Committee of Inquiry, which will report its findings to the Minister. A notice of the revocation of your certificate of naturalisation will be published in Iris Oifigiúil (Ireland's official State Gazette).

Rates

Since 10 November 2011 the fee for each application for naturalisation is €175.

The following are the relevant fees to be paid when the certificate of naturalisation is issued.

Application on behalf of a minor €200
Widow, widower or surviving civil partner of Irish citizen €200
Refugee, stateless person or programme refugee No charge
Others €950

How to apply

You must use the current versions of the application forms on the INIS website.

The current application forms are:

  • Form 8 (pdf) for a person aged 18 or over
  • Form 9 (pdf) for the minor child of a naturalised Irish citizen
  • Form 10 (pdf), an electronic form which should be completed online by parents of a minor child of Irish descent or Irish associations. There is a guidance note on how to complete form 10 (pdf).
  • Form 11 (pdf), an electronic form which should be completed online by a parent/guardian of a minor child born in the State who was not entitled to Irish citizenship at birth. The child must be at least 5 years of age when the application is made. The parent/guardian must have 5 years' reckonable residence since the birth of the child, including the full year immediately prior to the date of application. There is a guidance note on how to complete form 11 (pdf).
  • Form 5 (pdf), annual registration form and declaration of intention to retain Irish citizenship for a naturalised Irish citizen resident outside Ireland

You can find a list of frequently asked questions about Irish citizenship and naturalisation on the INIS website.

Documentation

The supporting documents required include evidence of your identity and nationality (long-form birth certificate and passport). You also need to produce documents relating to your status and the duration of your stay in the State (Garda National Immigration Bureau - GNIB - registration certificate, declaration of refugee status, or the like). If you are a non-EEA national applying for naturalisation your GNIB residency stamps are the only evidence which provide proof of your reckonable residence.

If your application for naturalisation is based on your relationship to an Irish citizen, you will need to produce the documents needed to show that person's status and your relationship to that person (for example birth or naturalisation certificate of Irish spouse, marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate).

The copies of birth, marriage, civil partnership, divorce and other certificates, such as the photo page of your passport, 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.

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 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 the national helpline at (01) 819 6653 or visit one of their clinics.

Where to apply

Adults

New applications for adults (form 8) 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 Citizenship Division, Department of Justice Office, Rosanna Road, Tipperary Town.

Minors

New applications for minors (Form 9, 10 or 11) should be sent to Citizenship Applications, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, PO Box 12079, Dublin 1. Note: this address is only for lodging new applications. All other citizenship correspondence should be sent to Citizenship Division, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, Chapter House, Dublin 1.

Page updated: 10 June 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.