Becoming an Irish citizen through naturalisation
What is naturalisation?
Naturalisation is the process through which a foreign national living in Ireland may apply to become an Irish citizen. 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. The Minister has absolute discretion as to whether or not to grant naturalisation. The Minister considers a range of information available to him in order to make an informed decision on an application for 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. There is an application fee of €175 - see 'Rates' below.
Changes to Public Services Card requirements
Since 16 August 2019, people applying for naturalisation no longer need to register with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for a Public Services Card.
Who is eligible for naturalisation?
If you wish to become an Irish citizen through naturalisation, you must meet certain conditions.
Age: You must be 18 years or older. If you are under 18, you can apply for naturalisation if you are married. If you wish to apply on behalf of a minor child, you can visit the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service for detailed information.
Character: You must 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. You should disclose details of any proceedings, criminal or civil, in the State or elsewhere, in the application form
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).
Altogether you must have 5 years (5 x 365 days*) reckonable residence out of the last 9 years.
See ‘Calculating reckonable residence’ below for details on how to work out your reckonable residence.
*You must add 1 day for any period which includes 29 February (a leap year).
Note on continuous reckonable residence: On 14 November 2019, the Court of Appeal held that the Minister for Justice and Equality is entitled to allow for reasonable absences from Ireland. Previously, the High Court had found that ‘continuous residence’ must mean that applicants cannot leave Ireland at all during the 12-month period before their application is submitted.
This means that you can leave Ireland in the 12-month period before lodging your application, but you should not spend more than 6 weeks abroad in total during the year.
You must also 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).
The Minster's power to waive conditions
The Minister for Justice and Equality has 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 or are a parent or guardian applying on behalf of a minor child of Irish descent or Irish associations
- If you have an entitlement to Irish citizenship if you were born on the island of Ireland
- 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).
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 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: All 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) Regulations 2015.
However, EEA or Swiss citizens cannot use the residency calculator to prove residence as their passports are not stamped with immigration permission stamps. Instead, they must send various documents with their naturalisation application to prove the length of their residence in Ireland, see ‘Documentation’ below for details. 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 immigration 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
- Granted while your claim for asylum was being examined, if the claim was not granted.
A person granted refugee status can apply for citizenship through naturalisation once they have acquired 3 years of reckonable residency. Residency is calculated from the date of arrival in the State.
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.
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 about 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.
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).
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|
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) should be completed online by parents of a minor child of Irish descent or Irish associations.
- Form 11 (pdf) should be completed online by a parent or 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 or guardian must have 5 years' reckonable residence since the birth of the child, including the full year immediately prior to the date of application.
- Form 5 (pdf) is the annual registration form and declaration of intention to retain Irish citizenship for a naturalised Irish citizen resident outside Ireland.
You can find more information about Irish citizenship and naturalisation on the INIS website.
The supporting documents required depend on your situation; you will need to provide evidence of your identity and nationality.
For example, if you are aged 18 or over and applying for naturalisation you must provide, the original of your current passport and any previous passports valid during periods of residence in the State, together with a photocopy of the biometric page of each passport. Allow at least 6 weeks for your passport to be returned to you.
Note that from 16 August 2019, you no longer need to be registered for a Public Services Card (PSC) when you apply for naturalisation.
You also need to produce documents relating to your status and the duration of your stay in the State (Certificate of Registration, declaration of refugee status, or the like). If you are a non-EEA national applying for naturalisation your residency stamps are the only evidence which provide proof of your reckonable residence. If you are an EEA or Swiss citizen applying for naturalisation based on residence, you can find information about what documents EEA or Swiss national can submit as proof of residence on the INIS website.
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).
You can find a full list of the required documents on your application form naturalisation.
Lost or stolen certificate of naturalisation
If your certificate of naturalisation is lost or stolen, you should write to the Citizenship Division of INIS – see ‘Where to apply’ 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.
Where to apply
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 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, 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 – see below.