Irish Citizenship2021-08-04T10:51:44+00:00

Sinnott Solicitors are a leading Irish Law Firm in immigration. We specialise in obtaining Irish Citizenship/ Naturalisation for many of our clients. This can be a complex process for those who are not familiar with the rules surrounding entitlements but we are on hand to guide you through it.

Sinnott Solicitors can help you with your application and will carry out a full review of your circumstances in order to determine whether you are entitled to Irish Citizenship.

We advise clients on their period of reckonable residency for this process and we look at each individual circumstances in order to apply for the most appropriate route to a successful application.

Citizenship / Naturalisation Rules

A person with 60 months lawful reckonable residency in the State is entitled to apply for naturalisation/ citizenship provided that certain requirements are met. The time spent on a student visa, Stamp 0 and on some other permission stamps is discounted for the purposes of the qualifying period of residency.

You may be eligible to apply for Irish citizenship by naturalisation if you are living in the State or if you are living on the island of Ireland and married to an Irish citizen.

You may also be eligible to apply for Irish citizenship if you are of Irish descent or have Irish associations * or have been resident abroad in the Irish public service or have been declared to be a refugee or stateless as defined by law.

  • Are of full age (aged 18 or over, or if aged under 18 you are married)
  • Meet the relevant conditions for residence

  • Intend to reside in the State or if you are spouse/civil partner of an Irish citizen intend to reside on the island of Ireland

  • Are of good character

  • Will attend a citizenship ceremony and make the declaration of fidelity

Irish Citizenship

A ‘dependant young adult‘ is someone who depends on their parents for accommodation and general living expenses.

Criteria for applying as a dependant young adult.

You may apply for citizenship as a dependant young adult if you meet the eligibility requirements for an adult application and you:

  • Are aged 18-23 when you apply

  • Entered the State legally as part of a family unit

  • Are currently attending secondary school in the State, or you went directly from secondary school into third level education in the State

  • Are continuously dependent on your parents, you are not financially independent

Definition – Minors (children)

  • A minor (child) is someone aged under 18 who is not married at the time of application. A child cannot make the application by themselves. The application must be made by their parent, legal guardian or a person acting on the child’s behalf ‘in loco parentis’.

Foreign Birth Registration/ Irish Ancestry

You may be entitled to apply for Citizen/ naturalisation on the basis of your Irish Ancestry which is discussed in detail below

Citizenship On The Basis Of An Irish Born Child/Parent Or Close Affinity

In relation to citizenship applications generally if you have an Irish Citizen Child you can apply for citizenship after three years of residency as you are related by blood or affinity. All applicant can still submit an application for citizenship in circumstances where they are the parent of an Irish citizen child or based on Irish associations by asking the Minister to exercise his discretion under s. 16(a) of the Citizenship Act to waive the residency condition contained in s. 15(1)(c) of the 1956 Act.

Citizenship Based On Marriage To An Irish Citizen

If the applicant is married to an Irish Citizen the application can be made after three years as opposed to five years.  It can be done as a five year or three-year application.

Contact Sinnott Solicitors today if you have any questions regarding Irish Citizenship.

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How to apply for Irish citizenship/naturalisation

You must firstly fill out the relevant Application form. A list of the relevant application forms for citizenship applications is contained in the following links:

Important information for preparing your application:

  • Bank drafts are the only acceptable method of payment, postal orders are no longer acceptable.

  • Original current and expired passports of the Applicant valid during their period of residence must be submitted along with a certified copy of the biometric page of their current passport.

  • Copy of p60’s for each year of reckonable residence must be submitted as evidence of employment.

  • Three proofs of address for each year of residence claimed must be submitted e.g. mortgage/rent agreement, household bills (gas, electricity, phone or cable/satellite TV), bank statements, revenue letters, social welfare, letter from employment etc.

Types of Application Forms for Minor Children

  • If one of the minor’s parents has already been naturalised (use Form 9)
  • If the minor is of Irish descent or has Irish associations (use Form 10)

  • If the minor was born in the State after 1 January 2005, and was not entitled to Irish citizenship at the time of birth, but has since accumulated 5 years’ reckonable residence (use Form 11)

Foreign Birth Registration Application

Here is a link to the Application for if you are apply on the basis Of Irish Ancestry to be entered on the Foreign Birth Register


Reckonable Residence in the State

In order to ensure that you are eligible to apply for Irish Citizenship, you must ensure that you meet the Residence criteria. A person with 60 months lawful reckonable residency in the State is entitled to apply for naturalisation/ citizenship. In the year before you apply, you must show that you have not been absent from the State for a period in excess of Six Weeks. Some exceptions to that rule may be entertained. For example if the absences were work related. It is important that you outline in detail those absence and the reason for those absences in your application.

Exceptions to the general reckonable residency requirements occur in cases where a person is the spouse or legally registered civil partner of an Irish citizen, is a recognised Refugee under the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugee’s, a Stateless person under the 1954 UN Convention Relating to Stateless persons, has been resident abroad in the public service or related by blood, affinity, or adoption to an Irish citizen.  Generally in such cases the Minister for Justice  and Equality will waive the residency requirements from five years to three years. If applying based on marriage or civil partnership to an Irish national, lawful residency means residing on the island of Ireland ( North of Ireland or Republic of Ireland).

Ensure that you have renewed your Stamps on time- No gaps!

In order to make a successful Citizenship application, it is important to ensure that that you keep your residence permission renewed on time. You should allow plenty of time to facilitate your appointment with GNIB in good time to renew your permission before it expires. Otherwise, if you delay, you may create a gap in your residence permissions thereby creating a scenario whereby your residence is not considered to be continuous residence for the purposes of your citizenship/ naturalisation application

Here is a link to the calculator to assist you to calculate your reckonable residency for the purpose of your application.

How to calculate your reckonable residence

Count backwards from the date that you intend to apply for citizenship. You must show that you have lived in the State legally for at least 1825 or 1826 days over the last 9 years. This includes:

  • 365 days immediately before the date that you apply (or 366 days if it includes 29 February)
  • Plus 1460 days in the 8 years before the period above (plus 1 day for years that include 29 February

On the calculator enter the dates for each of the periods of permissions granted.

Sinnott Solicitors can help you with your application and will carry out a full review of your circumstances in order to determine whether you are entitled to Irish Citizenship.

Online Residency Calculator and Non-EEA Nationals

Non-EEA Nationals must complete the online residency calculator when submitting their applications for citizenship.  They also have to enter the dates of their registration stamps to ascertain that they are eligible and this must be enclosed with the application.  If the client is unsure of their stamps we can write to GNIB for a letter of reckonable residency setting out all of their stamps in the state and dates of registration.  We always offer to do this when the client is unsure.

The Citizenship Application Form

In relation to non-EU nationals the GNIB number is a personal number only applicable to non-EU nationals.

In relation to question 5.2 regarding the passport number that refers to the passport that the person arrived into the state on and not the current passport.  The references must be given by three Irish Citizens.  The processing time is currently 6 to 9 months minimum.

Issues to be aware of for Citizenship Applications

For Citizenship queries it is important that the applicant does not receive social welfare or has any criminal convictions.

Original passports must be submitted.

In relation to the application fee the Department does not accept postal orders and Bank of Ireland will not give out a bank draft for under €500.  Therefore, a different bank must be used to buy the draft.

You must submit 3 different documents for each year you claim you were resident here to use as proof of residence. You should submit photocopies of each document and ensure that each document shows your name and address.

Children Irish Citizenship Application

In relation to children a copy of their passport and birth certificate must be submitted with the application.

Letters from schools and doctors to confirm the child’s residence in State are also required.

What Happens When The Application Is Approved 

When the application is approved the Citizenship Division will write to the applicant to advise that the Minister for Justice has deemed that they are a suitable applicant to be granted a certificate of naturalisation. They will ask the person to submit two passport photographs and a bank draft in the sum of €950, along with their original current IRP card.

Applicants who have been granted refugee status will also be asked to submit their original travel document.

If a persons IRP card has expired, they will not be invited to attend a ceremony until the original updated IRP card is submitted.

The letter will also ask a person to confirm their Name, Date of Birth, Country of Birth and Nationality to ensure that the correct details are recorded on the Certificate of Naturalisation.

Once these documents are submitted the applicant will be receive an invitation by post to attend the next citizenship ceremony where they will swear an oath of fidelity to the Irish State and receive their Certificate of Naturalisation. The person is then an Irish citizen from that date.

Are you having issues with your citizenship application?
We can help, contact Sinnott Solicitors Today!

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Revocation of Irish citizenship / Naturalisation

Over the past number of years Sinnott Solicitors have seen a stark increase in cases where individuals who have been granted Irish Citizenship through naturalisation have received notifications of intention to revoke their citizenship by the Department of Justice and Equality. Whilst previously it was most uncommon for Certificates of Irish Naturalisation to be revoked it is certainly an issue which we have seen a lot more of in recent years.

Examples of situations where this may arise are where individuals obtained their Irish citizenship on foot of residency as the spouse of an EU national who later had their residency revoked, or situations where individuals had given false information in their applications for refugee status, subsidiary protection, leave to remain etc.

From the point of view of international protection or humanitarian leave to remain applications it is quite common where individuals have come to Ireland and applied for immigration permission under the alias of being from a different country. An example of this would be an Albanian citizen applying as a Kosovan national or a Pakistan national applying as a national of Afghanistan.

Revocation of Irish citizenship is dealt with under Section 19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956.

Section 19(1) states that the grounds upon which citizenship may be revoked are as follows:

  • That the issue of the certificate was procured by fraud, misrepresentation whether innocent or fraudulent, or concealment of material facts or circumstances, or

  • That the person to whom it was granted have, by nay overt act, shown himself to have failed in his duty of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, or

  • That (except in the case of a certificate of naturalisation which is issued to a person of Irish decent or association) the person to whom it is granted has been ordinarily resident outside Ireland (otherwise than in the public service) for a continuous period of seven ears and without reasonable excuse has not during that period registered annually in the prescribed manner his name and a declaration of his intention to retain Irish citizenship with an Irish diplomatic mission or consular office or with the Minister, or

  • That the person to who it is granted is also, under the law o the country at war with the State, a citizen of that country, or

  • That the person to whom it is granted has by any voluntary act other than marriage acquired another citizenship.

Under Section 19(2) the Minister for Justice before revoking a person’s citizenship is obliged to give intention of notice to revoke a Certificate of Naturalisation and must clearly set out the reasons for this intention.

Section 19(3) provides that if the person wishes they may request an inquiry before a Committee which is chaired by a person having judicial experience and that Committee then reports its findings to the Minister for Justice.

It is important to note that the Committee of inquiry do not have the power to revoke a person’s Certificate of Naturalisation. What happens is that the Committee issue a recommendation which is then given to the Minister for Justice, who subsequently has the power to decide to revoke a Certificate of Naturalisation or not based on the findings of the Committee.

Whilst this is a lengthy and without a doubt stressful process for individuals to go through, it is designed in such a manner to ensure that fair procedures and natural justice are applied at all times.

One significant flaw in the Irish system arises in circumstances where revocation of a person’s Certificate of Irish Naturalisation may occur when a person does not have the right of citizenship to any other country, thus rendering them stateless. An example of this would be where a person comes from a country where dual citizenship is not allowed such as China or the Ukraine and where the person renounced their citizenship in order to become an Irish citizen. If such person’s Irish citizenship is subsequently revoked this could actually render them stateless and have huge consequences for their future.

Another example of this arises where a person who was originally stateless due to being from an ethnic minority such as Tamil, Rohingya or Kurd. The revocation of their Irish citizen would revert them to a position of statelessness, thus again being entitled to citizenship of no country.

The revocation of Irish citizenship might not just have life changing implications for the person whose citizenship has been revoked but may subsequently result in the revocation of Irish citizenship and Irish passports of family members such as children and spouses.

Whilst there have been very few cases involving the revocation of Irish citizenship litigated before the Irish Courts to date, we suspect that this is something which we will see a lot more of in the coming years, particularly having regard to the stark increase in residence card revocations over the past 12-24 months.

If you have any concerns in relation to your Irish citizenship or have received a notice of intention to revoke your Certificate of Irish Naturalisation, then do not hesitate to contact our highly experienced team of immigration professionals on +353 1 406 2862 or .

Delay in processing Citizenship/Naturalisation Applications

Many of our clients are experiencing significant delays of  two years and upwards in having their applications processed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. In some cases excessive delays of almost four years and more are experienced which causes significant distress to applicants and their families.  Delays in processing applications for Citizenship/Naturalisation are stressful and quite often a person’s circumstances might change since the application was lodged which could potentially result in ineligibility.

A person with five years reckonable residency or three years reckonable residency based on being the spouse of civil partner of an Irish Citizen is entitled to make an application for Citizenship/Naturalisation.  That person should also be entitled to have the application dealt with in a reasonably expeditious timeframe.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration service website states that it takes six months for a straight forward application to be processed from the date that it is received to the date that a decision is made.  Unfortunately, that is not the case and Sinnott Solicitors experience of Citizenship/Naturalisation applications is that an application virtually never takes six months.  In fact, the timeframe for a straightforward application in our experience are far greater than six months and are generally upwards of a year. 

Judicial Review of Citizenship/Naturalisation Delay

In cases where a person has not received a decision from their citizenship application it may be possible to bring a Judicial Review against the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service in order to compel the Department to make a decision in their case.

The application that Sinnott Solicitors are currently bringing before the High Court in relation to a number of our clients that are experiencing delay is called an application for an Order for Mandamus.

In order to bring an application for mandamus (High Court Proceedings) to compel the department to deal with your application, it must be established that there has been an unjustified delay which is tantamount to a refusal.

Factors the Court consider in Citizenship/Naturalisation delay cases

The factors that the Court will have regard to as per Judge Edwards in the KM case are the following:

  • The period of time
  • The complexity of the issues

  • The extent of any enquiries required

  • Any reasons given for the delay

  • Any prejudice

The Courts are therefore inclined to afford the Minister some greater degree of latitude than would be the case in more routine applications.  In delay cases it must be decided whether absurd delays impact upon family rights.  In the case of Mahmood .v. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the issue of absurd delays impacting seriously on family rights was examined.  In the case of Moldovan .v. The Minister for Foreign Affairs the Court would have refused an order to compel in respect of a passport application which ultimately took close to one year when the advertised turnaround time was fifteen days.

In one of our recent cases, the State relied on a Garda investigation into the Applicant’s marriage to justify the delay in make a decision on the Naturalisation/Citizenship application.  We were unaware of any reference to any Garda investigation prior to issuing those proceedings and the Applicant having made a Freedom of Information application to the INIS received his file which made no reference whatsoever to a Garda investigation.

The Sate in Naturalisation/Citizenship delay proceedings could potentially say that the fact of a Garda investigation or the need to await foreign intelligence information or the like is causing the delay.  If the State are in a position to file an Affidavit pointing to anything that justifies the delay, then the Applicant could potentially have to accept those reasons depending on the circumstances.

Delay in Citizenship Cases Generally

With delay cases generally, a lot will depend on what reasons are given for the delay.  Judge O’Malley in the Moldovan case was particularly persuaded by the cogency of the reasons given by the Minister in the case before the Judicial Review proceedings issued.  Your Solicitors letter requesting the Minister to issue a decision in your case should prompt the Department to advance those reasons if any.  It is important to get an indication from the Minister as to their attitude towards the delays and how they seek to justify it before embarking upon the Judicial Review process.

Minister’s Discretion in Naturalisation/Citizenship cases

The Minister enjoys absolute discretion in terms of granting naturalisation/citizenship applications.

The Judicial Review Process in Citizenship Delay Cases

Sinnott Solicitors could take judicial review proceedings in cases where the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service are delaying in coming to a decision on the Applicant’s application.  Those proceedings are brought by way of an application for mandamus which essentially is an application to the Court to compel the Minister to make a decision in the Applicant’s case.  In our experience, such an application generally results in getting a faster naturalisation/citizenship decision.

Costs of taking a Judicial Review Application for Naturalisation/Citizenship Delay Cases 

In many of these types of cases, if an decision on the Naturalisation/Citizenship Application issues before the case is heard in the High Court, that generally would make the proceedings mute and the High Court would likely make no Order for costs.  In such a case, the Applicant would be responsible to pay their own costs for those proceedings but not the costs of the State.

There is also the risk in taking a case for Citizenship/Naturalisation delay that the State would not issue a decision and would fully defend the proceedings and seek their costs.  In the recent case that our firm took which we refer to above, the State relied on a Garda investigation into the Applicant’s marriage to justify the delay.  We were unaware of such an investigation prior to the proceedings being drafted and in those circumstances, the State agreed to the case being struck out with no order for costs against the Applicant.

The issue of costs in relation to Citizenship/Naturalisation delay cases was also considered in a case of Dana Salman .v. The Minister for Justice.  In that case, the Applicant challenged the Minister’s delay in dealing with the application.  The delay involved a period of three years and nine months.  The case subsequently concerned a hearing in order to determine the liability of costs of the Applicant.

Mr. Justice Kearns in the Supreme Court awarded the Applicant the costs on the basis that no reason had been furnished by the Minister for the delay and no system had been put in place to ensure the fair and expeditious processing of such applications.

What to do when you are experiencing excessive delay in getting a Citizenship/Naturalisation decision

Sinnott Solicitors receive daily reports from our clients of extremely lengthy delays in processing their Citizenship/Naturalisation applications.  The first stage in the process in order to compel the Minister to make a decision is to assess the application and the circumstances of the Applicant fully.  We generally send a warning letter threatening proceedings and giving the Minister an option to make a decision within a reasonable period.  In the event that no justification or reason is put forward for the delay, then the Applicant will have the option of taking judicial review proceedings before the High Court.  Sinnott Solicitors have issued a number of High Court Judicial Review proceedings on behalf of our clients in order to challenge the lengthy and unlawful delays that our clients are experiencing.

We have also noticed a number of our clients who are Irish Citizens who are experiencing lengthy delays in having their spouses naturalisation applications processed.  It is our opinion that an Applicant that meets the requirements for Citizenship pursuant to the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 is entitled to apply and to have that application dealt with in a reasonably expeditious manner.

We have had a lot of success in dealing with Judicial Review High Court litigation around the area of Citizenship. If you have experienced a considerable delay in having your citizenship application processed, please contact us as we may be in a position to get you a faster decision from the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service.

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What happens after the grant of citizenship

Sinnott Solicitors are always well represented at citizenship ceremonies because a large number of our clients become Irish citizens. The grant of Irish citizenship is a privilege and the importance and value which it means to our newest citizens is not to be underestimated.

The conferral of Irish citizenship opens an abundance of doors to grantees. It allows individuals voices and opinions to be heard by enabling them to vote in referendums and presidential elections. It entitles persons to apply for and travel on Irish passports exposing them to travel opportunities which would previously have been impossible for many individuals originating from visa required countries. It gives people greater access to opportunities such as education when they do not have to pay crippling fees as international students. It entitles individuals to certain social supports which they previously may not have been able to access, and which may greatly improve their lives.

For many people it is the pride attached to the status of Irish citizenship which is most important to them in circumstances where Ireland is their home, they have committed themselves to the country and have sworn an oath of fidelity and loyalty to our great nation.

Passport Application

Once a person is granted their certificate of naturalisation, they often wonder what they should do next. We recommend anybody who has been granted a certificate of naturalisation to apply for their Irish passport as soon as possible, particularly if planning to travel.

First time adult applicants for an Irish passport must submit a paper-based application to the Passport Office using an APS 1E form. These are available at any An Post post office, garda station, or the Passport Offices in Cork or Dublin. A person must submit four passport photographs, their original naturalisation certificate, passport from their country of origin, original long form birth certificate and marriage certificate if applicable, copy public services card, certified copy photographic identification, proof of name, proof of address and the application fee.

We would recommend submitting the application through the passport express service which is the fastest method of processing (ten working days according to the passport office). For anyone planning a trip abroad or that precious holiday to the sun, we would recommend submitting your application well in advance in circumstances where the passport office will have a greater demand for passports at certain times of the year, particularly around holiday periods.

Register Your Vote

A persons voting rights in Ireland depend on their nationality. Irish citizens are permitted to vote at all elections and referendums. UK nationals can vote at Dáil elections, European and local elections. EU nationals can vote at European and local elections, whilst non-EU nationals can vote in local elections only.

A person must be listed on the Register of Electors to entitle them to vote. We would encourage all Irish residents to register to vote according to the above entitlements. In particular our new Irish citizens, we would recommend that you register on the Register of Electors to ensure that you have full voting rights so that your voice and opinion is accounted for in all future elections and referendums. Application forms to register are available on www.cheacktheregister.ie, from local authorities, post offices and public libraries.

Residing Outside of Ireland After the Grant of Citizenship

When a person submits their application for Irish citizenship, they are asked if they intend to have their usual place of residence in Ireland following naturalisation and the answer to this is always yes. There are occasions where people’s circumstances change which results in them leaving Ireland, for example due to offers of employment or family circumstances.

Under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended, the Minister for Justice has the power to revoke a certificate of naturalisation where an individual has been ordinarily resident outside of the State for seven years unless they have registered their intention to retain their Irish citizenship. This is done by submitting a Form 5 (Form CTZ2) Declaration of Intention to retain Irish citizenship by a naturalised Irish citizen residing outside of Ireland. The form which is available at the following link http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/form-CTZ2.pdf/Files/form-CTZ2.pdf, must be lodged with the INIS, or with the nearest Irish Embassy or Consular Office to a person’s location.

We strongly advise all naturalised Irish citizens to file the Form 5 if ordinary resident outside of Ireland to ensure that they retain their Irish citizenship.

The Immigration team at Sinnott Solicitors has extensive experience in all Irish immigration matters. If you have any queries do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Department today on +353 1 406 2862 or .

Foreign Birth Registration / Ancestry and Irish Associations

Get Irish Citizenship through your Irish Ancestry 

Sinnott Solicitors deals with all types of Naturalisation and Citizenship applications. Recently we have been receiving an increase in queries from those seeking Irish citizenship through descent and Irish ancestry. Sinnott Solicitors provides full advice and assistance for applicants who wish to register their birth through the Foreign Births Register in order to acquire citizenship by descent.

Do you have an Irish Parent or Grandparent?

Literally Hundreds of Thousands of  people  have Irish Grandparents or Irish Parents and if you are fortunate enough to be one of those people, you should use this golden opportunity to ensure that you claim your Irish citizenship/ Naturalisation

As there is often much confusion regarding the pathway of acquiring Irish citizenship by descent, we thought it would be helpful to outline the various application options for potential applicants as follows:

Were you born outside of Ireland to Irish Parents or do you have Irish Grandparents?

  • If you were born outside of Ireland to an Irish parent, you are automatically an Irish citizen.
  • If you are born outside of Ireland to a parent who was also born outside of Ireland who you derive Irish citizenship from you are entitled to Irish citizenship but you have to register through the Foreign Births Register.

  • If you were born outside of Ireland but have a grandparent who is an Irish citizen and was born in Ireland you are entitled to Irish citizenship but have to register with the Foreign Births Register to acquire Irish citizenship.

  • If both your grandparent(s) and parent(s) where born outside of Ireland you may be entitled to become an Irish citizen if you register with the Foreign Births Register. However your parent that you derive Irish Citizenship from must have registered themselves before you were born.

  • If you had a parent who was an Irish citizen but was deceased at the time of your birth you are still entitled to Irish citizenship.

  • You also derive citizenship through an Irish parent whether or not your parents were married to each other at the time of your birth.

Were you born in Ireland?

If you were born in Ireland before the 1st of January 2005, you are entitled to Irish citizenship.

Do you have Irish Citizen Parents? 

If you were born in Ireland after the 1st of January 2005 and have parent(s) who are Irish citizens you are then also an Irish citizen. However in some circumstances people born in Ireland have to claim their citizenship.

Become an Irish Citizen through Foreign National Parents

A child born on the island of Ireland who has a British parent who is entitled to live in Northern Ireland or the Irish State without restriction is entitled to Irish citizenship. A child born in Ireland to a parent granted refugee status is also entitled to Irish citizenship.

A child born of other foreign national parents in the island of Ireland are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship. Their parents must prove they have a genuine link to Ireland. This will be evidenced by living in Ireland for at least 3 years prior to the birth of the child. Once proven, their child will be entitled to Irish citizenship and they can apply for an Irish passport for their child.

The process of claiming Irish Citizenship through descent  

Before claiming Irish citizenship you must have your birth registered at the Foreign Births Register. If you are entitled to register, your Irish citizenship is effective from the day you register, not from the date when you were born.

Foreign births register 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains the Foreign Births Register where people who are eligible for becoming an Irish citizen apply for their Irish citizenship.

How to apply?

Sinnott Solicitors can advise you on all aspects of making your claim for citizenship through descent. It is one of the most effective ways of becoming an EU citizen.

Sinnott Solicitors can assist you with your application and required supporting documentation to the Irish embassy or consulate for the country in which you live.

Once the process is completed, you will be provided with a certificate confirming your entry in the Irish Register of Foreign Births. The Irish passport applications cannot be accepted at the same time as citizenship applications.

Get a passport for an Irish born child of Foreign National Parents 

Residence in Ireland: Non-EEA nationals must provide evidence of residence. Their passport application must include a letter listing their passport’s immigration stamps which detail their residence in Ireland and their Certificate of Registration.

Residence in Northern Ireland: Non-EEA nationals who have permission to live in the North of Ireland must apply to the Department of Justice and Equality for a certificate of nationality for their Irish born child. The letter of application must be accompanied by a completed declaration form C (pdf) together with 2 documents for each of the 3 years giving proof of address in Northern Ireland such as driving license and utility bills. When the certificate of Irish nationality for the child has been received by the parents, they may apply for an Irish passport for the child, using the certificate of nationality as proof of Irish citizenship.

Advantages of becoming an Irish Citizen and an EU Citizen 

  • You can move freely through the 28 EU Member States to live and work and travel
  • Your children can become Irish Citizens and EU Citizens in future and will have all of the benefits of EU citizenship whether it be the freedom to travel, Education or the right to live and work throughout the EU

  • You can secure your children’s future by ensuring that they gain access to Education throughout Europe in future without paying enormous University and Third level fees that would apply to non-EU Citizens

  • Why not avoid the non EU Citizen queues at airports throughout Europe!

Irish Citizenship through your other Irish Ancestors

Unless at least one parent or an Irish born grandparent was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you cannot claim Irish citizenship on the basis of extended previous ancestry (that is, ancestors other than your parents or grandparents). In addition, you cannot claim Irish citizenship on the basis that a relation such as a cousin, aunt or uncle was an Irish citizen if none of your parents or grandparents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth.

Recent Trends on Citizenship by Descent /ancestry Applications

We have recently come across a number of cases where our clients have applied for citizenship by descent on the basis of their Irish Grandparent. Some of our client are estranged from their parents are therefore unable to get a copy of their parent’s passport or a copy of some form of ID for the parent. This should not be a bar to qualifying for Irish Citizenship. Those applications are not being processed by the Department of Foreign Affairs or refused even though the applicant has satisfied the grandparent test. We are currently dealing with a number of such applicants and with a view to challenging the refusals or the refusals to process the cases further. If you are one of those applicants who cannot get a form of ID from your parents, then you may want to discuss your application with us. We believe that can assist you if you qualify in every other way for citizenship by descent.

Citizenship based upon Irish Associations  

If you are of Irish associations, the Minister for Justice and Equality has absolute discretion to waive the conditions for naturalisation. Irish associations means being related by blood, affinity or adoption to an Irish citizen. The Minister is entitled to waive the normal requirements in certain circumstances and will often do so where an applicant has a blood affinity to Ireland and has lived here for three years.

Do you have an Irish Citizen Brother or Sister?  

Recent Developments in Citizenship by Association cases – The Borta case 2019

A decision of the Court of Appel in the case of Borta –V The Minister for Justice issued in 2019  considered a refusal to grant an applicant citizenship following an application based on “Irish associations”, as defined under s.16(2) of the Citizenship Act of 1956. The Court considered when the Minister does not consider those associations strong enough to hold in the applicant’s favour to grant a certificate of naturalisation.

The Facts

The applicant’s mother, A Moldovan national made an application for Naturalisation on her behalf on the basis of her Irish associations. The applicants parents were both Moldovan citizens by birth but her mother had also become a naturalised Romanian citizen. The applicant, a minor, lived with her parents in the State since August 2012. The applicants application was based upon Irish association by being the sister of an Irish citizen, who was born on 6 October 2014.

The law

“16.—(1) The Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation in the following cases, although the conditions for naturalisation (or any of them) are not complied with:
(a) where the applicant is of Irish descent or Irish associations.”(2) For the purposes of this section a person is of Irish association if –(a) he or she is related by blood, affinity or adoption to, or is a civil partner of, a person who is an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen […]”

Decision of the Court of Appeal

The court found that the use of the words “may” and “absolute discretion” within the relevant discretion by the Oireachtas (Legislature) section when taken together, did not amount to a prohibition on the Minister considering whether to grant a certificate of naturalisation, even where the particular condition within s.16 is met. The court also found that The Minister is entitled to consider relative strength of Irish associations and that There is no restriction on that power.

In addition that Court noted that it was incumbent on the Minister to provide reasons as to why the strength of her Irish association was insufficient to grant the certificate to the applicant.

A the Department in this case did not contest that the applicant had met the statutory condition on its face, the Minister was obliged to clarify the reason why the grant of citizenship was refused.


This case is a welcome development which provides helpful guidance on the obligations of the Minister in considering an application for naturalisation based on Irish associations..  A full copy of the decision is available here.

Absences from the State and Citizenship/ Naturalisation  

The last year spent in Ireland prior to the Citizenship Application must be unbroken residency. In the year before you apply, you must show that you have not been absent from the State for a period in excess of Six Weeks. Some exceptions to that rule may be entertained. For example if the absences were work related. It is important that you outline in detail those absence and the reason for those absences in your application.

If there is an absence of six weeks in any year that must be explained.  Sinnott Solicitors on behalf of our client Roderick Jones took a challenge to the six week rule before the High Court and that case eventually made it way to the Court of Appeal. Therefore, if travelling with work it must be set out clearly and the applicant must go back through the past five years and give details of their absences.

The Six week absence rule in Citizenship / Naturalisation cases explained

In November 2019, The Court of Appeal delivered judgment in the case of Roderick Jones v Minister for Justice and Equality. Mr. Jones was represented by Sinnott Solicitors. The decision is of exceptional public importance and provides a welcomed clarification on the law governing absences from the state for persons applying to be granted a Certificate of Naturalisation.

In July 2019 Mr Justice Max Barrett in the High Court ruled  that the discretionary practice of the Minister for Justice in allowing Applicants six weeks out of the country, for holiday or other reasons, and more time in exceptional circumstances, was not permitted by section 15.1.c of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 (as amended)and that that continuous residence required presence in the state uninterrupted by even a single night’s absence over the 365 days of the year.

The appeal was primarily concerned with the main finding of the High Court which was the continuous residence finding, and the construction of one of the statutory prerequisites to be established before an Applicant is eligible to be considered eligible to be granted a certificate of naturalisation pursuant to the Citizenship Acts, namely the first part of the condition specified in section 15(1)(c) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 (as amended) which requires an Applicant to satisfy the Minister for Justice that they have had a period of one year’s continuous residence in the state immediately before the date of the application.

The appeal was heard before the President of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, Ms Justice Máire Whelan and Mr Justice Brian McGovern on the 8th of October 2019.

In a welcomed judgment today, the court overturned the continuous residency finding of the High Court requiring a person’s physical presence in the state, allowing for no absences whatsoever, in the 365-day period prior to an application. The court also found that the policy of the Minister in allowing absences from the state for work, and other reasons, and more time in exceptional circumstances, was not a rigid or inflexible policy and that the policy was reasonable.

Continuous Residency Finding

Looking at the specific findings regarding the unbroken residence in the previous 365 day period, the Court of Appeal ruled as follows:

  • That the High Court judge erred in law in his interpretation of the term “continuous residence” provided in section 15(1)(c) of the 1956 Act. It found that the construction is unworkable, over unworkable, overly literal, unduly rigid and gives rise to an absurdity.  “Continuous residence” within the meaning of the sub-section does not require uninterrupted presence in the State throughout the entirety of the relevant year nor does it impose a complete prohibition on extra-territorial travel as the High Court suggests.

  • That such an approach creates an anomaly which defeats one of the fundamental purposed of the legislation by introducing a significant obstacle to compliance with one of the conditions for eligibility to apply for naturalisation which most applicants would find impossible to meet.The construction accorded to the relevant part of s. 15(1) (c) by the High Court have rise to a clear absurdity so as to engage s. 5(1)(b) of the Interpretation Act 2005, allowing an objective assessment of the “plain intention” of the provision.

  • The term “continuous residence” is wholly distinct and separate from the concept of “ordinary residence” or “residence” per se. The term of words ought to be construed harmoniously. The words “continuous residence” in the context in which they appear in s. 15(1)(c) (first part) do not impose an obligation on an applicant that he be wholly precluded from leaving the jurisdiction at any time during the relevant year.

  • The task of ascribing ordinary meaning to the words “continuous residence” requires that they be construed harmoniously. Contrary to the contentions advanced on behalf of the appellant to the effect that the Minister should merely have examined whether the appellant was continuously resident in the State for the previous year “in the sense of continuously having his home here and not being resident elsewhere” as meeting the test of “continuous residence” such an approach does not withstand scrutiny. The concepts of “residence” and “ordinary residence” are materially different from the concept of “continuous residence”. Such an approach would disproportionately elide the weight to be attached to “continuous” and render that word nugatory – a word which does not appear in the second part of s. 15(1) (c).

  • In ascertaining the plain intention of the Oireachtas for the purposes of section 5(1)(b) of the Interpretation Act 2005 with respect to the words “one year’s continuous residence” it is to be inferred that the legislature attached significant importance to physical presence within the State during the relevant year.

Six Weeks Policy 

The court found that the Minister is permitted to operate the six weeks absence policy and ruled specifically as follows:

  • The Minister’s approach to the construction of “one year’s continuous residence” in the first part of s.15(1)(c) is to operate a clearly communicated practice or policy of allowing Applicants six weeks absence from the state, for work and other reasons, and more time in exceptional circumstances. An Applicant must otherwise generally be physically present in the State during the particular year and an application may be refused if there are significant absences.

  • The Minister has not adopted a rigid or inflexible policy in construing compliance with the first part of s.15(l)(c). It is apparent that the objective of the Minister is to adopt a purposive, reasonable and pragmatic approach to the operation of that part of the sub-section. It is to be inferred from the criteria referenced in the decision sought to be impugned that a reasonable level of absences in connection with an applicant’s employment or otherwise is not inconsistent with “continuous residence in the State” during the relevant one year.

  • The non-statutory rule or policy operated by the Minister whereby the requirement in the first part of s.15(1)(c) of “one year’s continuous residence in the State immediately before the date of his application” could not generally be satisfied in circumstances where the applicant is absent from the State for in excess of six weeks during the relevant year immediately prior to the application in the absence of wholly exceptional circumstances does not amount to a fettering of discretion. Neither does it amount to the imposition of an extra-statutory barrier to naturalisation nor is it unlawful.

  • The ministerial approach does not fetter discretion but rather facilitates flexibility, clarity and certainty in the operation of the first limb of the sub-section and assists applicants in establishing with certainty how the criterion of “one year’s continuous residence in the State” is to be satisfied for the purposes of eligibility to apply for a Certificate of Naturalisation. The approach is sensible and is within the terms of the legislation and is consonant with the public good having regard to the nature of the decision in question and in particular in circumstances where it pertains to what has been described in the jurisprudence as “the purely gratuitous conferring of a privilege in exercise of the sovereign authority of the State.

The court concluded that the approach taken in the case of the Applicant himself was “reasonable” and that the Minister for Justice was correct in finding that the Applicant did not satisfy the continuous residency requirement. They found the fact that most of the Applicants absences from the state were not work related was “material” and thereof the Ministers Policy is not unlawful.

The decision is welcomed and provides significant clarity on the law however further clarity and reform is still needed in the area particularly in relation to the six-week absence policy, what exceptional circumstances are allowed, and work related travel. The decision today takes us back to the position pre July 2019 where absences of up to six weeks were permitted, with no guidelines related to work or allowable absences in exceptional circumstances.

For the moment the decision today is much welcomed by the thousands of people planning to apply for citizenship in the future, those whose applications are pending, or those whose applications have been approved and are waiting to attend a citizenship ceremony where they will finally become Irish citizens. The previously scheduled ceremonies due to take place in September and December were cancelled and it is the responsibility of the Department of Justice to take immediate steps to arrange the new ceremony dates and immediately commence the processing of applications again.

If you have any queries on your application for Irish citizenship or wish to discuss any immigration matter, do not hesitate to contact the office of Sinnott Solicitors today.

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Refusal of Irish Citizenship Applications based on National Security Concerns

Minister for Justice and Equality announces the establishment of a Single Person Committee of Inquiry to review Irish Citizenship application refusals

The Minister for Justice and Equality Miss Helen McEntee announced on the 30th September 2020 that a new Single Person Committee of Inquiry has been established to review Irish citizenship application refusals where a person has been refused due to national security concerns.

Mr Justice John Hedigan, a retired and most respected Judge who sat on the High Court, Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights will serve as the single member of this committee.

From the 30th of September 2020, where an Applicant receives a negative decision with respect to their application for Irish citizenship, and the application is refused either in whole or in part, due to national security concerns, they may now seek disclosure of the information which the Minister for Justice relied upon in refusing the application.

An application for disclosure of the information must be submitted in writing to the member of the single person committee within three months of the decision to refuse their citizenship application.

The committee member will then consider the request and advise the Minister for Justice and Equality whether to:

  1. Disclose none of the information to the applicant.
  2. Provide partial disclosure of the information to the applicant.
  3. Provide full disclosure of the information to the applicant.

Where partial disclosure is recommended, the member must provide the Minister an indicative wording as to the “gist” of the information that might be shared.

The Minister will then consider the advises of the member but will retain the power to issue the final decision on disclosure.

Whilst we greatly welcome the introduction of a committee of enquiry we do have reservations with respect to whether it would have been more appropriate to establish a committee with a number of members as opposed to a single member committee.  The fact that the member is appointed by the Minister for Justice and reports to the Minister does we feel,  raise some questions with respect to independence. Notwithstanding this, we fully support the establishment of the committee and the fact that applicants who are refused their citizenship applications based on national security concerns will now receive due process in having the opportunity to seek disclosure of the information which has been relied upon by the Minister for Justice in refusing their application, is a significant development.

It is important to note that only applicants who have been refused Irish citizenship due to national security concerns can avail of this process. Applicants who have been refused for other reasons, such as previous criminal convictions, absences from the State or other reasons should seek legal advises to establish whether there are grounds to challenge any such refusal by way of judicial review, or any alternative options available to them.

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