Becoming an Irish citizen through naturalisation
- What is naturalisation?
- Citizenship for a spouse of an Irish citizen
- How to apply for naturalisation
- Step 1 – Check that you qualify
- Step 2 – Fill in an application form
- Step 3 – Gather your documentation
- Step 4 – Make a declaration
- Step 5 – Send your application and pay the fee
- What happens after I send my application?
- Citizenship ceremonies
- Certification fees
- What can I do if I lose my certificate of naturalisation?
- Further information and contacts
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:
- Citizenship by birth or descent
- Citizenship through the Foreign Births Register
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 in order to make a decision on an application for naturalisation.
You must use the most up-to-date versions of the application forms on the Immigration Service Delivery website. There is an application fee of €175. If your application is successful, you may have to pay a further fee 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).
Both you and your spouse must complete the declarations at the back of Form 8 (the naturalisation form).
How to apply for naturalisation
To apply for naturalisation, you should follow these steps:
- Step 1: Check that you qualify
- Step 2: Fill in an application form
- Step 3: Gather your supporting documentation
- Step 4: Make a declaration
- Step 5: Send your form to Immigration Service Delivery along with the application fee
Step 1 – 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:
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 – use Form 11
- The child is of Irish descent or Irish associations – use Form 10
- The parent of the child is a citizen by naturalisation – use Form 9
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:
- 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. You may also be contacted by the Citizenship division at a later stage for further information about your history in the State.
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 365 days* (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 1,460 days* (4 years)
You can leave Ireland for up to 6 weeks (in total) per year and still be considered resident in that year. If you leave for more than 6 weeks in one year, you should not count this period when you are calculating your reckonable residence. If you had to leave Ireland for longer than 6 weeks because of an emergency, you should explain this in your application.
If you spend more than 6 weeks outside of Ireland in the year immediately before your application, you may have to wait until the following year to make an application.
Altogether you must have 5 years (5 x 365 days*) reckonable residence out of the last 9 years. *You must add 1 day for any period which includes 29 February (a leap year).
Some 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 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 ‘Gather your documents’ below).
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 enclosing documentary evidence of your history in Ireland. The application form has a list of documents that are suitable for this purpose.
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. You do not have to include a printout from the reckonable residence calculator with your application.
The Minster'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.
For children of adults who have received citizenship by naturalisation, the child must generally have lived in Ireland for 3 years.
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.
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 aboard.
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.
Step 2 – Fill in an application form
You must use the current versions of the application forms on the Immigration Service Delivery website.
You should read the notes attached the forms carefully. You should not leave any questions blank. If a question does not apply to you, you should write ‘N/A’ (not applicable).
If you make a mistake, you should cross it out and write your initials to show that you have made a change. Do not use tip-ex.
You do not have to use a solicitor to complete your form. If you decide to use a solicitor, you may save money by getting quotes from a number of different law firms.
You must include the details and signatures of 3 references who are willing to act as a referee for you. Your references must be Irish citizens who have known you well enough to form an opinion about your character.
Step 3 – Gather your 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.
ISD now uses a ‘scorecard’ system for assessing identification and residence history. This means that you can use a wider variety of documents, and can 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 have to 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 on your application form.
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.
Step 4 – Make a declaration
When you have completed the application form and are ready to send the form and supporting documents, you will have to have to make a statutory declaration. A statutory declaration is a way of swearing that something is true. It is a written statement and must be witnessed by someone who is authorised to witness your declaration.
Your witness must be either:
All adult applicants must complete a declaration. If your application is based on your marriage or civil partnership with an Irish citizen, your Irish citizen spouse or civil partner must also make a declaration.
If you choose to use a solicitor to witness your statutory declaration, you will be charged a fee.
You must also ask your witness to sign and date the back of the 2 colour passport photos that you must send with your application.
Step 5 – Send your application and pay the fee
You should check your form before sending it and make sure you have all the documents that you have to send copied and included. The form has a detailed checklist that you should follow.
You must pay €175 to apply. This must be a banker’s draft. No other type of payment is accepted. You can get a banker’s draft from any bank (you don’t have to have an account with the bank). The draft must be made out to the Secretary General, Department of Justice.
If your application is refused, you will not receive a refund of this payment.
You should post your application to the address on the form.
What happens after I send my application?
Most applications for naturalisation are processed within 19 months.
There are currently delays in sending out acknowledgement letters, and you may not get an acknowledgement of your application for a few weeks. 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 send you a letter telling 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 ‘Certification fee’ below for information about how much you have to 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 will 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.
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.
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|
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 and on the ISD website.
You should send your completed application form to:
New applications for minors (Form 9, 10 or 11) should be sent to Citizenship Applications (Minor), Immigration Service Delivery, Department of Justice and Equality, Rosanna Road, Tipperary Town, E34 N566. Note: this address is only for lodging new applications. All other correspondence for minors should be sent to the address on the letter sent to you.
New applications for adults (form 8) should be sent to Citizenship Applications, 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 – see below.