Becoming an Irish citizen through naturalisation

Introduction

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.

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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 her in order to make an informed 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. TThere 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).

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:

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 – use Form 11 (pdf)
  • The child is of Irish descent or Irish associations – use Form 10 (pdf)
  • The parent of the child is a citizen by naturalisation – use Form 9 (pdf)

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) provide 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).

Calculating reckonable residence

Reckonable residence means residence in Ireland that counts towards becoming eligible to apply for naturalisation.

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 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 as a trainee accountant (with Stamp 1A)
  • Time spent on the Third Level Graduate Scheme (with a Stamp 1G)
  • 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.

Registration with immigration is usually the evidence of legal residence which meets the residency requirements for naturalisation.

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 can also use Stamp 2 or Stamp 2A permissions.

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.

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 in 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.

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 aboard.

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

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.

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 can get help with the application from your local Citizens Information Service. You can also pay a solicitor to complete it for you. If you decide to use a solicitor, you may save money by getting quotes from a number of different law firms. You do not have to use a solicitor to complete your form.

References

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 (pdf).

In all cases, 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.

You also need to send copies of documents relating to your status and the duration of your stay in the State. This may include:

  • Your Irish Residence Permit (IRP)
  • Your declaration of refugee status or subsidiary protection
  • Letters from the Department of Justice granting your permission to remain

If you are an EEA, Swiss or UK 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 Immigration Service Delivery website.

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)

You can find a full list of the documents you need to send on your application form naturalisation.

E-tax clearance

From 23 November 2020, all adult applicants must send a tax clearance certificate. This certifies that your tax affairs are in order. You have to apply for a tax clearance certificate online on Revenue’s website.

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 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, 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.

You will have to pay for a solicitor to witness your statutory declaration.

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 12 months.

Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) will contact you within a few weeks to tell you if your application has passed the initial processing stage. 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.

Citizenship ceremonies

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

Citizenship ceremonies are suspended because of COVID-19. The Minister for Justice announced that she plans to sign regulations that will allow for the oath of fidelity and loyalty to be made through a statutory declaration.

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

Revoking citizenship

The Minister for Justice has the power to revoke (take back) your certificate of naturalisation if:

  • You obtained it through fraud, misrepresentation or concealment of material facts or circumstances
  • You have 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 every year (by completing Form 5)
  • You are also a citizen of a country that Ireland is at war with
  • You have, by any other voluntary act other than marriage or registration of civil partnership, become a citizen of another country.

The Minister for Justice must state the reasons why the certificate is being revoked and give you the 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).

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

Further information on applying for naturalisation is available on the ISD website.

You should send your completed application form to:

Minors

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.

Adults

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.

Citizenship Division

Department of Justice Office

Rosanna Road
Tipperary Town
Tipperary
E34 N566
Ireland

Opening Hours: Helpline: 10:00 am -12:30 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays only
Tel: +353 62 32500
Locall: 1890 252 854

Page edited: 5 November 2020