In welcomed news this week, the Minister for Justice Miss Helen McEntee, announced a new procedure to make it easier for children who were born in Ireland to become Irish citizens. This announcement is applicable to children whose parents are not Irish citizens and where the children were not entitled to Irish citizenship at the time of their birth but qualify after a certain period of residence.

Current Rules

Currently a child who is born in Ireland may not be not entitled to Irish citizenship from birth due to the fact that their parents are not Irish or British citizens, or their parents do not satisfy the three-year reckonable residence requirement prior to the birth. These children have to wait for five years in order to apply for Irish citizenship. The five-year period is accumulated by accruing four years of lawful residence out of the previous eight years and having one year/12 months of continuous residence in the State, immediately prior to the citizenship application.

New Rules

The Minister for Justice has announced that the time which applicable children will now need to be resident in the State in order to become Irish citizens will be reduced from five years to three years. This means that the child will need to have been resident in the State for two out of the previous eight years and have one year/12 months of continuous residence immediately prior to the citizenship application.

The changes will be included in the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2021 which is due to be submitted to Government in the coming weeks.

The Minister is also exploring whether it may be possible for TUSLA to apply for citizenship on behalf of children in their care.

In her announcement, the Minister states as follows:

“The granting of Irish citizenship is a privilege and an honour which is recognised by the thousands of people who apply every year. It is my hope that reducing the amount of time children of non-Irish nationals born in Ireland have to wait before being eligible for citizenship will provide comfort and reassurance to many families across the country.

“This is in keeping with my Department’s commitment to delivering a fair immigration system for a digital age, as set out in Justice Plan 2021.

“I was glad to work and engage with Senator Ivana Bacik on this proposal, and I look forward to it being implemented as quickly as possible.

Minister McEntee continued,

“This amendment provides increased security for children where a parent subsequently falls out of permission as the child will be entitled to Irish citizenship and will therefore be an EU citizen with the right to remain in the State with a non-EEA national guardian or parent.

However, it will not broaden the categories of children who are entitled to citizenship and this amendment will only apply to the children of those parents who are legally resident in the State. Children born here to non-national parents who have three years prior residency will continue to be Irish citizens from birth.”

What children will this change be applicable to?

Sinnott Solicitor’s immigration teams located in Dublin and Cork have received a number of queries from parents since the announcement was made querying whether or not the changes will be applicable to all children born on the island of Ireland who are not entitled to citizenship from birth. The scheme will only apply to children whose parents have lawful residency in the State, and this form of residency must ordinarily be reckonable towards Irish citizenship. This means that parents who are undocumented, international protection applicants, or resident on student permissions such as Stamp 2, 2a, 1A or 1G will not be applicable. It will be applicable to children who would have ordinarily been eligible to apply for Irish citizenship after five years and the time period is the only amendment being introduced to the legislation.

The full announcement is available to read here.

With offices in Dublin and Cork, Sinnott Solicitors have a specialist team of Immigration Solicitors and Immigration Consultants who are experts on Irish citizenship and all Irish immigration matters. Should you have any queries with respect to any of the information contained in this article or any other immigration matters, do not hesitate to contact our immigration department in Cork or Dublin today on 014062862 or