Becoming an Irish citizen through naturalisation

What is naturalisation?

Naturalisation is when you become a citizen of another country, usually because you have been living there for a number of years. To apply for naturalisation in Ireland, you must be physically resident in Ireland for a certain length of time.

You can also read about:

All applications to become a naturalised Irish citizen are decided by Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) on behalf of the Minister for Justice. The Minister has absolute discretion as to whether or not to grant naturalisation. The Minister considers a range of information available to decide on an application for naturalisation.

You apply online for Irish citizenship. If you have already submitted a paper form, you can continue to submit documentation by post.

Paper forms continue to be available to those who cannot access an online service. To request a paper form contact citizenshipinfo@justice.ie

There is an application fee of €175. If your application is successful, you may have to pay a further fee of up to €950 (see ‘Certification fees’ below for exceptions to this fee).

Citizenship for a spouse of an Irish citizen

If you are married to, or in a civil partnership with, an Irish citizen, you can apply to become an Irish citizen by naturalisation. You can apply if you live in Ireland or Northern Ireland and meet the following conditions:

  • You are 18 or over
  • You have been married for 3 years or more.
  • You have lived on the island of Ireland for 3 out of the 5 years before you make your application (see ‘Calculating reckonable residence’ below). You must have lived in Ireland or Northern Ireland continuously for 12 months before the date of your application.
  • You intend to live in Ireland after you have become an Irish citizen
  • You live with your spouse
  • You are of ‘good character’ (see ‘Check that you qualify’ below)

Check that you qualify

To become an Irish citizen through naturalisation, you must meet the conditions that are set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended (pdf). These are:

Age

You must be 18 years or older.

You can apply on behalf of a child if:

  • The child was born in Ireland after 1 January 2005 and did not qualify for citizenship by birth
  • The child is of Irish descent or Irish associations
  • The parent of the child is a citizen by naturalisation

Character

You must be ‘of good character’. There is no exhaustive legal definition of what ‘good character’ means.

The Garda Síochána (Ireland's national police) provides a report about your background. As part of this, the Minister receives information about the following:

  • Your criminal record
  • Driving offences you may have committed
  • Ongoing investigations against you
  • Pending criminal cases (that haven’t been heard in court yet)
  • Cautions or other warnings you have received from the Gardaí
  • Certain civil cases (for example, if you were subject to a barring order)

You are asked on the application form to declare any of the above and you are given the opportunity to explain the circumstances that led to the Garda or court action. Before a decision is made on your citizenship application, you will get an invitation to complete an e-vetting application so that the information on your character is as up to date as possible.

If you are applying for your child who is age 14 or over, they must demonstrate ‘good character’. The ‘good character’ test also applies if your child is under 14 and has been charged with, or convicted of, a serious violent or sexual crime.

Residence in the State

You must have lived in the State for a certain length of time. The specific requirements are that you:

  • Have a period of 1 year continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately before the date of your application for naturalisation and
  • During the 8 years before that, have had a total reckonable residence in the State of 4 years

You can spend 70 days outside of Ireland in the year immediately before your application. The day you leave Ireland, and the day you arrived back in Ireland, are not counted as absences.

An additional period of up to 30 days may be allowed if you left Ireland due to exceptional circumstances, for example, health reasons, family circumstances, employment or study. You should explain this in your application.

Altogether you must have 5 years reckonable residence out of the last 9 years.

The residency rules for children are different. You can find out more about the residency rules when applying for Irish citizenship for a child.

Some other categories of applicant can apply after 3 years residence (see ‘The Minister’s power to waive conditions’ below).

Calculating reckonable residence

Reckonable residence means residence in Ireland that counts towards becoming eligible to apply for naturalisation. If your application is based on your marriage or civil partnership with an Irish citizen, you can count legal residence in Northern Ireland too.

If you are from outside the EEA, the UK and Switzerland, certain periods of residence are counted towards the reckonable residence you need to qualify for naturalisation. Some examples of periods that are counted for reckonable residence include:

  • Time spent in Ireland on an employment permit (usually with a Stamp 1 Irish Residence Permit)
  • Time spent on a Stamp 4
  • Time spent as the dependent of an employment permit or other legal resident (usually with Stamp 3)
  • Time spent as the spouse or partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder, General Employment Permit holder, Inter-Country Transfer employment permit holder or on the Third Level Graduate Scheme (with Stamp 1G)
  • Time spent on a Stamp 5 (Without Condition as to Time)

Periods of residence that are not reckonable include:

  • Time spent on a student visa (usually with a Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A IRP) unless you are making an application as a ‘young adult’ (see below)
  • Time spent in Ireland while you were undocumented
  • Time spent while you were an international protection applicant

You can use the online residency calculator on the Immigration Service Delivery website to check if you meet the naturalisation residency conditions. You must send a printout from the calculator with your application (along with other proofs of residence) unless you are a UK, Swiss or EEA citizen, or have refugee status in Ireland.

Registration with immigration is usually the evidence of legal residence which meets the residency requirements for naturalisation. You can count the time when your immigration permission was automatically extended during COVID-19 as reckonable if you had reckonable residence immediately before the first extension. For example, if you had a Stamp 4 in March 2020, your Stamp 4 permission was automatically extended until 31 May 2022. This period counts as reckonable residence. You must also prove that you were actually resident in Ireland during this time (see ‘scorecard system’ in the section ‘Documentation’ below).

Young adults

You can use your parent’s reckonable residence if you are a young adult and do not have the required reckonable residence yourself.

You are a young adult if:

  • You are aged between 18 and 23 when you make your application
  • You entered Ireland legally with your family
  • You are in school or you went straight from school to third level college in Ireland
  • You are dependent on your parents

EEA, UK and Swiss nationals

If you are a citizen of an EEA country, Switzerland or the UK, you do not have to enclose a ‘reckonable residence’ calculation with your application. You have to show your residence by using documentary evidence of your history in Ireland. The online application form provides more information.

The EEA includes the EU and Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.

If you are a citizen of the EEA, Switzerland or the UK, you do not have to register for an Irish Residence Permit. All periods of residence in Ireland are counted towards naturalisation.

The Minister's power to waive conditions

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

  • If you are of Irish descent or of Irish associations
  • If you are a parent or guardian applying on behalf of a minor child of Irish descent or Irish associations
  • If you are a naturalised parent applying on behalf of a minor child
  • If you are the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen or a naturalised person
  • If you have been resident abroad in the public service
  • If you are recognised as a refugee (under the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees) or a stateless person (under the 1954 UN Convention regarding Stateless Persons).

For spouses and civil partners of Irish citizens, you can apply for naturalisation after 3 years of marriage or civil partnership and 3 years of reckonable residence on the island of Ireland.

A person granted refugee status can apply for citizenship through naturalisation once they have 3 years of residency. Residency is calculated from the date of arrival in the State. Note: This does not apply to people who have subsidiary protection status.

Future intentions

You must intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation. If your application is successful and you move away from Ireland you should complete Form 5 (pdf), which states your intention to keep your Irish citizenship while you are temporarily living abroad.

If your application is approved, you must make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State. You must also swear that you will observe the laws of Ireland and respect its democratic values. These declarations are usually made at a citizenship ceremony.

Apply online

You apply online for Irish citizenship. If you have already submitted a paper form, you can continue to submit documentation by post.

Paper forms continue to be available to those who cannot access an online service. To request a paper form contact citizenshipinfo@justice.ie

There is an application fee of €175. If your application is successful, you may have to pay a further fee of up to €950 (see ‘Certification fees’ below for exceptions to this fee).

You do not have to use a solicitor to complete your application. If you decide to use a solicitor, you may save money by getting quotes from a number of different law firms.

Documentation

The supporting documents you need depend on your situation. If your documents are in a language other than English, you must get them translated by a professional translating service. The Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association has a list of professional translators.

In all cases, you will need to provide evidence of your identity and nationality.

From 20 April 2023, new applicants are only required to provide a certified colour photocopy of the biometric page of their current passport. Your photocopy must be certified by a solicitor, commissioner for oaths, peace commissioner or a notary public. The ISD can still ask you to submit your full passport – it is expected that 10% of applicants will be asked to submit their full passport.

Scorecard system

ISD now uses a ‘scorecard’ system for assessing identification and residence history. This means that you can use a wider variety of documents, and be sure that you have enough evidence to send with your application.

You must have 150 points in both identification and residency. The Citizenship Guidance Document explains how many points you get for different types of documents.

If your application for naturalisation is based on your marriage or civil partnership with an Irish citizen, you will have to send documents that show your spouse’s nationality and also evidence that you have been married for 3 years.

Some of the documents you need to send must be certified as ‘true copies’ by a solicitor, notary, commissioner for oaths or a peace commissioner. You can ask a solicitor to certify your documents when you are making your statutory declaration (see Step 4 below). These include:

  • Your birth certificate
  • Your spouse’s birth certificate (if your application is based on marriage to an Irish citizen)
  • Your marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate (if your application is based on marriage to an Irish citizen)
  • Your passport

You can find a full list of the documents you need to send when you apply.

Problems with documents

If you are unable to include documents that are listed and you have tried to get copies of the documents but are unable to, you should explain the reason why you cannot include the documents.

If you are unable to send your birth certificate or marriage certificate, you must use the affidavits below. An affidavit is only accepted if you can show that you are unable to get your certificate.

What happens after I apply?

Most applications for naturalisation are processed within 19 months.

You may be asked to send further documentation or clarify some information that you gave in your application. You will get an application number.

Change of address

You must tell ISD in writing if you move house. You do this by completing a change of address form (pdf).

If your application is successful

ISD will notify you that your application has been successful. You will be asked to:

  • Pay the Certification Fee
  • Send your Irish Residence Permit (IRP) if you are from a country outside the EEA, Switzerland and the UK

See the ‘Certification fee’ below for information about how much you must pay.

You may also be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony. See ‘citizenship ceremonies’ below for more information. You are not able to apply for an Irish passport until you have received your naturalisation certificate.

If your application is not successful

If your application is refused, you will be given a reason for the decision. You cannot appeal this decision.

You can apply again if you wish.

If you think that ISD acted unfairly in how it processed your application, you could apply to the High Court for a judicial review. You should get legal advice before making an application to court.

If your refusal was based on national security concerns, you can ask for a decision on the disclosure of the information relied on for this decision. A Single Person Committee can review the information and recommend to the Minister for Justice whether or not some or all of the information used to make the decision can be released to you.

This is not an appeal of the decision.

Citizenship ceremonies

If you have been approved for naturalisation, you are normally invited to attend a citizenship ceremony. At the ceremony, you make a declaration of fidelity and loyalty. You then receive your naturalisation certificate.

You can read about what happens at a citizenship ceremony, and watch live streams of ceremonies on the ISD website.

Once you have received your naturalisation citizenship, you are an Irish citizen. You can apply for an Irish passport.

Certification fees

The fee for each application for naturalisation is €175.

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

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

What can I do if I lose my certificate of naturalisation?

If your certificate of naturalisation is lost or stolen, you should write to the Citizenship Division of ISD – see ‘Further information and contacts’ below.

You will not get a replacement certificate but instead you will be given a statement confirming your Irish citizenship. There is no fee for this service. If you are applying for an Irish passport, you will need this statement to accompany your passport application.

Further information and contacts

You can get further information on applying for naturalisation in the Citizenship Guidance Document (pdf) and on the ISD website.

Citizenship Division

Department of Justice Office
Rosanna Road
Tipperary Town
Tipperary
E34 N566
Ireland

Locall: Phone services are currently suspended
Page edited: 21 May 2024