Irish Citizenship by Ancestry, Is it Worthwhile?

Almost all European countries have citizenship by descent programs. And Ireland isn’t an exception..

Its program’s one of the most advantageous. And chances are, if you have direct Irish ancestry (up to a great-grandparent), then you’ll qualify!

But is the program worth pursuing? Is getting an Irish citizenship by ancestry worthwhile at all?

That’s what we’ll discuss below. We’ll look at the pros of an Irish passport, and how to get Irish citizenship by descent.

We’ll also display some alternative routes you can follow!

First - A Quick Take on Ireland

Ireland is known for being a safe and happy country.

Irish culture is open. You can socialize easily there, and you’ll never feel cut off or short of interactions!

In fact, Irish people are reputed as one of the world’s friendliest!

That’s not all! Ireland’s corporate tax rate is minimal, and its quality of life is high.

The country comes with beautiful sights, a delicious cuisine, and a culture full of wonder!


Ireland has one of the world’s best passports. In fact, its population is less than five million, yet three times as many Irish passports exist worldwide!

And getting a passport there is easier if you’re of Irish ancestry!

Dual citizenship is allowed there too. You never have to renounce your original citizenship during the process.

How so? To give you an idea, the Emerald Isle has over ten million non-residents actively using their Irish passports. That’s excluding potential applicants!

For example, the US alone has over 31 million Irish Americans! That’s around 10% of the US population. And they can claim those passport privileges, whether they’re aware of them or not!

Still Not Convinced? Here Are 4 Pros to an Irish Citizenship!

First - Live Wherever You Wish

Unlike an American passport, getting an Irish passport doesn’t require a stay in Ireland.

You can move elsewhere as soon as you get Irish citizenship. You can move anywhere while having little tax obligations to Irish authorities!

For example, a new Irish citizen can choose to leave for a different EU country. After all, Irish citizenship does grant EU citizenship, and it’ll grant you access to Europe’s no-tax residence programs!

Speaking of the EU…

Second - Access the EU’s Markets

Irish citizens count as EU citizens. Around 28 countries are part of the Union, and they all allow free travel throughout their borders.

You gain easy access to all those countries, the ability to travel, live, and work there!

And the EU isn’t the only place you can easily access…

Third - Access 175 Countries Visa-Free

Irish passports are ranked as the world’s 7th most powerful.

An Irish passport grants you access to countries such as Canada and the US, and almost all European countries!

Fourth - Have a Strong Passport

A strong passport gives you reliable mobility.

Add to that Ireland’s political reputation. Ireland is far from border conflicts, poverty, and environmental disaster. Plus, it’s one of the world’s most developed countries.

This makes its passport high quality and low risk. And, it’s one of the most backed EU countries in the Union!

Next: How to Get Irish Citizenship by Ancestry

The requirements are simple. They’re not as complex or prolonged as neighboring programs.

It’s like Italy’s citizenship by descent application requirements. The program clearly defines which ancestries are allowed to apply.

So an Irish citizenship by descent requires:

  • Having any Irish parents or grandparents (in rare cases, great-grandparents).

That’s it. No special birth dates, immigration history, or family milestones are required!

However, Irish bureaucracy will be your only obstacle. But, that won’t involve checking whether you qualify or not.

Any problems you may experience will have to do with processing times, consulate visits, and assembling the right paperwork.

What About Citizenship by Birth? Can I Qualify for That Instead?

You can! Irish authorities consider you a citizen if you fall under any of the requirements below:

  • Being born on Irish lands as an Irish citizen
  • Being born on Irish lands to any non-citizen who fulfills certain requirements (has been resided in Ireland for three to four years) prior to your birth
  • Being born outside Ireland - but to Irish citizens who were born in Ireland

And, you can also get Irish citizenship (through the Foreign Births Register), assuming you fall under the following conditions:

  • Being born outside Ireland, to Irish citizens who were born outside Ireland (but) your grandparents were born in Ireland
  • Being born outside Ireland, to citizens also born outside Ireland, and to grandparents born outside Ireland (to great- grandparents born in Ireland). If so, your parents must have been registered in the Foreign Births Register before your birth.

What that means is, as long as each ancestor in your direct lineage has Irish citizenship, where your ancestors lived doesn’t matter. And this applies all the way up to your grandparents!

Also, do note your parents receiving Irish citizenship by marriage, naturalization, or adoption still qualifies you for citizenship - if they were Irish when you were born.

Even better, the program doesn’t care about your parent’s marital status at that time. It also doesn’t care if the ancestor connecting you to Ireland was alive when you were born.

But, do keep in-mind that you aren’t allowed to get Irish citizenship except through parents and grandparents. Uncles, aunts, and cousins won’t qualify.

Also, if you were born past January 1st 2005 in Northern Ireland, and any of your parents was a UK or Irish citizen with residence permission in Northern Ireland of Ireland, you’re still eligible for Irish citizenship!

Next: The Three Steps to Getting Irish Citizenship by Ancestry

Now that we’ve discussed Irish citizenship requirements and benefits, let’s look at the process itself.

Getting Irish descent citizenship involves a lot of paperwork. But we’ll simplify the process in three steps. Those are…

First - Foreign Birth Registration

You need to register your birth date with the Irish FBR. You cannot claim Irish citizenship if this step isn’t completed.

There’s a list of records you’ll need to bring along. Those will include different birth (and sometimes) marriage certificates.

For more info on the list of the certificates required, be sure to check the Irish government’s website.

Second - Complete the Descent Citizenship Application

You can find the application’s form online. Fill it, print the application, then mail it with the required photos, documents, and application fee.

You’ll need to mail the package to an Irish embassy. It’s preferable if you mail the application to the closest one to you!

Third - Get Your Certificate

After your citizenship gets accepted, you’ll get a certificate. You’ll also be officially registered in the Irish Register of Foreign Births.

The citizenship is legal from the day your foreign birth registration was completed. From there, you’re allowed to pass down that citizenship to following generations!

Next - Getting an Irish Passport

Getting citizenship isn’t the end of the process. You still need to get a passport.

A citizenship doesn’t instantly grant you an Irish passport. However, it does entitle you to apply for one.

The process is simple. You may apply at a Passport Express, or head towards a Passport office where you’ll submit the required documents.

You can also apply online if you live in any of the countries below:

  • USA
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • Great Britain & Northern Ireland
  • Ireland

If your residence country isn’t on the previous list, then you’ll need to find the closest consulate or embassy and apply there.

Next, you’ll need the following documents (if) you were foreign-born to a parent born in Ireland:

  • Applicant’s birth certificate
  • Applicant’s partnership or civil marriage certificate
  • Birth certificates of applicant’s parents’ (and)
  • Civil marriage certificates of applicants’ parents

And, if you acquired citizenship via the FBR, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Applicant’s birth registration certificate
  • Applicant’s birth certificate
  • Applicant’s partnership or civil marriage certificate
  • Applicant’s passport (of current nationality)

Passport costs are:

  • €75 for regular 32-page passports (or)
  • €105 for large 66-page passports

Irish passports last for 10 years, so you aren’t required to renew them often.

Frequently Asked Questions

(How Many Generations Back is Acceptable for Citizenship Claims?)

You can go as far back as your great-grandparents.

(What Makes Me Qualify for Irish Citizenship by Ancestry?)

If one of your parents is Irish, or if one of your grandparents has Irish citizenship, Irish law makes you eligible for citizenship.

(Do I Need DNA Tests for an Irish Citizenship?)

Not at all. DNA kits that show your heritage aren’t  how an embassy or consulate judges your eligibility. Instead, authorities look at the nationalities and birth locations of you and your ancestors.

(Can I Receive an Irish Descent Passport?)

The descent program applies to citizenships, not passports. You only get an Irish passport when you become an Irish citizen.

You may apply by visiting a Passport Office in-person, or via a Passport Express.

(Is Dual Citizenship Allowed in Ireland?)

Yes. Ireland is one of the world’s most lenient countries regarding its citizenship programs. In fact, triple citizenship (and even unlimited citizenship) are allowed for Irish people!

Are There Other Routes to an Irish Citizenship?

Of course there are! And those might be more convenient to you, especially if you don’t qualify for an Irish citizenship by ancestry!

For example, you can follow a citizenship by investment route (the Ireland investment visa being an example). Ireland is one of Europe’s most business-friendly places, and this makes starting a business there a viable option.

The Irish Golden visa is one you can aim for. After getting a Golden visa, you can become naturalized (along with your family) with an Ireland citizenship five years later!

Still, you’ll have to reside there to qualify for that path. Thus, it’s a path that doesn’t allow you much mobility.

And it’s expensive. You need a large sum of money to invest, and the time and effort to run a business there.

This is what makes the descent-by-citizenship program attractive. It’s easier, and it doesn’t force a specific lifestyle on you.

Get Citizenship by Marriage

This is another simple route you can follow. If you have an Irish spouse, and you’re comfortable staying in Ireland for a few years, you can recieve an Irish passport and citizenship!

You’ll need to be married (or in a civil relationship) for three years to access that option.

And unlike many countries, Ireland has legalized gay marriage. Thus, your sexual identity shouldn’t be an obstacle to getting a passport!

Irish Citizenship by Ancestry: Worthwhile?

We think it is!

Ireland’s passport is one of the world’s most sought after. And with the Brexit event, it has become more in-demand for EU access.

If you have the ancestry and you qualify, you get an almost-free mobility asset with little risk. So why not explore that option?

For more details, you can always contact our firm for a consultation. We’ll explain the process to you, and help you manage it from start to finish!