If you were born in Ireland and your parent(s) were Irish citizens, then you are also an Irish citizen.
Under the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 2004, children born of foreign national parents on or after 1 January 2005 are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship.
Foreign national parents of those children (that is, children born in Ireland on or after 1 January 2005) must prove that they have a genuine link to Ireland. This will be evidenced by being resident legally in Ireland for at least three out of the previous four years immediately before the birth of the child. On proof of a genuine link to Ireland their child will be entitled to Irish citizenship. Read further details about the entitlement of children born in Ireland on or after 1 January 2005 to Irish citizenship (pdf).
If either of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, then you are automatically an Irish citizen, irrespective of your place of birth (unless it was one of the special conditions relating to birth outside Ireland).
So, if you were born outside Ireland to an Irish citizen who was himself or herself born in Ireland, then you are an Irish citizen.
If your parent derived Irish citizenship in another manner, e.g., through marriage, adoption or naturalisation, further information can be obtained from your nearest Irish embassy or consulate.
If the parent through whom you derive Irish citizenship was deceased at the time of your birth, but would have been an Irish citizen if alive at that time, you are also an Irish citizen. Also, you derive citizenship through an Irish parent whether or not your parents were married to each other at the time of your birth.
If you were born outside Ireland to an Irish citizen who was himself or herself born outside Ireland and if any of your grandparents was born in Ireland, then you are entitled to become an Irish citizen. However before you can claim Irish citizenship, you must have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register, which is maintained by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. (See "How to apply"). If you live abroad, you must apply to have your birth registered through your nearest Irish embassy or consular office. If you are entitled to register, your Irish citizenship is effective from the date of registration - not from the date when you were born.
If one of your grandparents is an Irish citizen but none of your parents was born in Ireland, you may become an Irish citizen. You will need to have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register.
If you are entitled to register, your Irish citizenship is effective from the date of registration. The Irish citizenship of successive generations may be maintained in this way by each generation ensuring their registration in the Foreign Births Register before the birth of the next generation.
Since 1 July 1986, a person registered in the Foreign Births Entry Book after 1986 is deemed to be an Irish citizen only from the date of his/her entry in the Register and not from the date of birth. This means that children born to that person before his/her date of entry in the Register are not entitled to citizenship.
People registered before July 1986 are deemed Irish citizens either from the date the original Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act came into force, i.e. 17 July 1956, or their date of birth, whichever is later. Only children born after 17 July 1956 can claim citizenship in such cases.
Unless at least one parent or grandparent was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you cannot claim Irish citizenship on the basis of extended previous ancestry (i.e. ancestors other than your parents or grandparents). In addition, on the basis that 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.
Under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, if a child who is not an Irish citizen is adopted by an Irish citizen or a couple where either spouse is an Irish citizen, then the adopted child shall be an Irish citizen.
However, if the child is adopted from outside the State, immigration procedures must be observed. In order for the adopted child to enter the State, immigration clearance must be obtained in advance from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. This clearance will only be granted once the adoptive parent(s) proposing to adopt abroad have successfully completed the assessment procedure and have had a declaration made in their favour by the Adoption Board of Ireland. Read more about intercountry adoption here.
Every deserted infant first found in Ireland will, unless the contrary is proved, (i.e. the parents of the child come forward and clarify that the child is not Irish) be considered to have been born in Ireland.
There is a cost involved to apply for inclusion on the Foreign Births Register. Further information is available from your nearest Irish embassy or consulate and from the Foreign Births Register Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland. (See "Where to apply").
If you live in Ireland and wish to apply to be included on the Foreign Births Register, you should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin (see "Where to apply").
If you live outside of Ireland and wish to apply to be included on the Foreign Births Register, you must contact the Irish embassy or consulate for the country in which you live (see "Where to apply"). Between 10,000 and 15,000 applications for Irish citizenship through the Foreign Births Register are processed by Irish embassies/consulates throughout the world each year. Waiting times to process applications for inclusion on the Register vary and can be as long as 12-15 months, depending on the number of applications at your embassy.
It is not possible to process your application in another area (i.e. to send your application to another State where there is a shorter processing time or to send your application to Ireland). Your application for inclusion on the Register must be handled by the Irish embassy or consulate with responsibility for your country only.
You will be required to complete some application forms to apply for inclusion on the Foreign Births Register - further information is available from your nearest Irish embassy or consulate.
Once the process is completed, the applicant will be provided with a certificate confirming his or her entry in the Irish Register of Foreign Births. This certificate can be used as proof of Irish citizenship when applying for an Irish passport.
Please note that Irish passport applications cannot be accepted at the same time as citizenship applications - these are two very distinct processes. View further information on applying for an Irish passport and renewing an Irish passport here.
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