Erin go Brad -- registering Irish citizenship

It's St. Paddy's day but I can celebrate a little harder this time. Two days ago, I got my notice of entry into Ireland's Foreign Birth Registry, declaring me an Irish citizen. I'm able to do that because I have 3 Irish grandparents (2 born in Ireland.) Irish law declares that anybody born to somebody born in Ireland is automatically Irish. That made my father, whose parents were both born there, an Irish citizen even though he never got a passport. Because my father was an Irish citizen (not born on the Island) that also gives me the right to claim it, though I had to do the paperwork, it is not automatic. If I had children after this, they could also claim it, but if I had any before this registration, they would not.

I decided to do this for a few reasons. First, it will allow me to live, work and travel freely in Ireland or anywhere else in the E.U. The passport control lines for Canadians are not usually that long, but it's nicer to not be quizzed. But in the last few years, I have encountered several situations where it would have been very useful to have a 2nd passport:

  • On a trip to Russia, I discovered there was a visa war between Canada and Russia, and Russia was making Canadians wait 21 days for a Visa while the rest of the world waited 6 or less. I had to change a flight over that and barely made my conference. It would have been handy to use an Irish passport then. (Update: Possibly not. Russia and others require you to use the passport which allows residence, and you must apply where you live. So my Irish documents are no good at the San Francisco consulate as I don't live there using the Irish passport.)
  • Getting stamps in your passport for Israel or its border stations means some other countries won't let you in. Israelis will stamp a piece of paper for you but resent it, and you can lose it. A 2nd passport is a nice solution. (For frequent visitors, I believe Canada and the USA both offer a 2nd passport valid only for travel to Israel.)
  • Described earlier, last year I lost my passport in Berlin. While I got tremendous service in passport replacement, this was only because my mother was in hospital. Otherwise I would have been stuck, unable to travel. With 2 passports, you can keep them in two places, carry one and leave one in the hotel safe etc. While Canada does have an emergency temporary passport, some countries only offer you a travel document to get you home, and you must cancel any other travel on your trip.
  • On entry to Zimbabwe, I found they charged Canadians $75 per entry, while most other nations paid $30 for 1 and $45 for two. Canada is charging Zimbabweans $75 so they reciprocate. Stupid External Affairs, I bet far more Canadians go to Zimbabwe than the other way around
  • On entry to Zambia, it was $50 to transit for most countries but free/no-visa for the Irish. I got my passport 1 week after this, sigh. Ireland has a visa abolition deal.
  • Argentina charges a $150 "reciprocity fee" to US and Canadian passports, good for 10 years. Free for Irish, though. Yay!

All great reasons to have two passports. I don't have that yet, though. (Update: I got it in June) Even though I presume that the vast majority of those who do the Irish foreign birth registry immediately want a passport, it doesn't work that way. After a 21 month wait, I have my FBR certificate, which I now must mail back to the same consulate that sent it, along with several of the same documents I used in getting the FBR like my original birth certificate. While it makes huge sense to do them together, it doesn't work that way. The process is quite opaque. You send in your papers and you don't get anything -- they don't acknowledge they got them, they don't do a cursory check. They just tell you processing takes 18-24 months. You can't inquire as to the status or how far along things are. You just wait, and one day a Fedex arrives. I have suggested to them that they would cut down the number of inquiries for status if they just posted on their web site "We're now sending out responses to requests filed in month of year and people could get a sense of it. Of course, even more ideally they would give you a file number and let you query it on the web. They don't get big budgets to do fancy web stuff though.

Ireland is not alone. Canada also changed its laws recently to allow any child of a Canadian to be automatically Canadian. Their web site says when you file your paperwork, that in 4 months they will give you a receipt for your payment, and then 8 months after that you will get your citizen card -- which you can send right back in to get a passport. I find the 4 months for the receipt amusing. When I buy on Amazon, I usually have the e-mail receipt for my order in my mailbox before the web page refreshes! Otherwise, though I remain impressed by my Berlin experience with the Canadian passport staff.

Another friend has a true nightmare story from Greece which also allows children and grandchildren to register as Greeks. Her story is dreadful, because they have the same 2 year turnaround time on applications. She's been at it 15 years. She files an application, and 2 years later they point out some nit that is wrong in the application so she files again. 2 years later they point out another nit. And so on, and so on, often redoing things again and again. Sometimes changing them -- she had kids -- and sometimes having to do ridiculous things like having her Greek father annul his marriage because something was wrong in the paperwork and it's better to have no marriage than one with the wrong paperwork. This makes the Irish experience a walk in the park.

A few quirks: For my Irish application, you pick one grandparent, and I used my father's mother because I knew her birth/death particulars more accurately, making it easier to get her certificates. She was born in Belfast, which as you might know, is not in the Republic of Ireland. (Though in 1898 when she was born there was no division.) The Irish constitution declares that anybody born on the Island counts, regardless of the U.K. possession of Ulster. When I got all her papers though, I found that her name had a slightly different form on all six! Her birth certificate used nicknames "Lizzie Maria" but when she got married she thought her formal name was "Elizabeth Marion" and then later my Father knew her as "Marion Elizabeth." You have to submit a lot of documents:

  • The grandparent's birth certificate
  • The marriage certificate of your grandparents
  • The grandparent's death certificate or ID -- yes, even for somebody born in 1889, man or woman, though no man has ever lived that long.
  • Your parent's long form birth certificate (naming the grandparents)
  • Your parents' marriage certificate
  • Your parent's death certificate or ID
  • Your long form birth certificate
  • Your ID and various other things to prove your address

After seeing all the variations in my grandmother's name, I started to wonder if I should have worked harder to find my grandfather's papers, since his name would have stayed pretty constant, avoiding at least the change due to marriage. And he was born in Tipperary, which is in the Republic. They assured me that name variations are common, and that for this purpose, Tipperary is no better than Belfast. And indeed they were right. Still, it makes sense that if I had been able to file them both in the same form, then any problem with one of them (like the names) could have let them switch over to the other. The Canadian application lets you declare both parents (if both are Canadian) even though just one is needed.

This was all a fair bit of work, and cost about $500. Which would probably not be worth it just for easier passport control when going to Europe, but makes sense considering all the other factors. I heard a rumour that Ireland and some other countries were considering cutting back on this system because it was becoming too popular with Americans hoping to retire in Europe and get free health care. As a Canadian, I can already get that so it was not an incentive for me, but it did prompt me into doing it sooner. I have no idea if there is anything to the rumour.

What's Irish and sits out in the yard? Me.


You make it sound as if it's easy to switch between two passports. If you're abroad this can cause problems with officials who see you with a passport that doesn't show you've legally entered the country. I've had several problems with this myself and know of plenty of others from people in similar situations.
I'm not suggesting two passports isn't a good idea. Of course it is. But stick with one unless it's absolutely necessary.

I have talked to people who have had problems even doing what you are supposed to do with multiple passports, because of computerized checking. For example, the law says I must not use my Irish passport to enter Canada, and I presume also that I must not use my Canadian one to enter Ireland as I think this is the norm. (Also I had better use my Canadian passport when entering the US as it has my visa in it.)

I've heard of trouble when people fly overseas because you show a passport at the exit airport both to leave and to assure the airline you will be able to enter the destination country. But you probably want, as you say, to show the passport you used to enter the country when you leave it (in the USA the airline employee removes the I94 from it) but you may want to use the other passport to enter the destination country.

In some cases, being a tourist (ie. with a foreign passport with a recent stamp) gets you certain benefits like not paying some taxes, or in other cases the reverse. So yes, if you show a passport without the stamp they might wonder. Though I certainly hope I don't find myself wanting to show my non-EU passport on visits to the EU.

Not all countries demand a passport for exit of course, particularly at land borders. Fortunately the Canadian passport is one of the world's best, in that it has low visa requirements compared to many countries. On the other hand, on my recent trip to French Polynesia the EU passport would have meant no visa concern at all.

As the number of multi-passport people grows, I expect the systems to become more used to this. Not long ago many nations denied dual citizenship entirely. Today it is fairly low risk, though in a few places it can put you at risk of conscription if you visit such a nation as a citizen, and some crazy countries like the USA tax their citizens no matter where they live in the world. One other catch -- if you have two passports, treaty forbids one country from giving you diplomatic aid in the other. If I go to jail in Ireland, the Canadian embassy will give me no help. I can handle that.

Hi Brad, Congratulations on your passport. I too applied and I am waiting. I feel like it's forever. I was told five months at first and now it has turned into six then I was told late August.:( I feel really anxious about this and just want to have my passport because I am afraid to travel certain places with my U.S. passport and Trump's "YUGE" mouth. He's a brick and I'm drowning slowly...

You seem to think that there is another human being in the world who cares about these details. Tone down the narcissism, Brad.

Narcissism is probably the main reason you are taking credit for the work of others in self-driving cars (which others have told you to stop doing, btw).

Brad: is it *entirely* not necessary for you to leave this gent's comments posted. While it's himself they make look bad, they do leave a bad taste in the mouth, and I personally wouldn't be at all concerned if you deleted them.

PS: Blakely? You overdid the rhetoric: I'm another person. I'm in the world. And I'm interested in these details. So, bugger off, would you please?

Can I Use My Certified Paternal And Maternal Irish DNA History to get into the Irish Birth Registry and obtain an Irish Passport / Irish Citizenship?

Irish law declares that anybody born to somebody born in Ireland is automatically Irish.

Submitting paperwork versus DNA seems so 1950ish.

Brad says:

You have to submit a lot of documents:

The grandparent’s birth certificate
The marriage certificate of your grandparents
The grandparent’s death certificate or ID — yes, even for somebody born in 1889, man or woman, though no man has ever lived that long.
Your parent’s long form birth certificate (naming the grandparents)
Your parents marriage certificate
Your parent’s death certificate or ID
Your long form birth certificate
Your ID and various other things to prove your address

Governments are big on paper trails. And DNA ancestry is not good enough to do this yet, and indeed will never be good enough to tell if you parent or grandparent was born in a country, your DNA is decided only by your parents, not the particular location of your birth, or your grandparent's birth.

It's pretty much impossible to come up with a good rigid definition of DNA patterns for a country, or even an ethnic group. There's too much interbreeding. Yes, it seems you can tell things like how Jewish you are, but never accurately enough to use it as a citizenship test.

This is a reply concerning Irish FBR in Canada.When I applied ,I was told the application was to take up to 18 months to process!! That was 30 months ago!!
I contacted the embassy on several occasions & was told in a couple of months on 4 different occasions & was also told that my application was up to date & my certificate was to be sent to me ,It has never arrived ..I contacted the embassy one more time & was told the same winded story about the passport office having to many applications,My Grandparent was born in Ireland so if they dont want to respect the irish immigration law ,they should change it!! This is to forewarn
Irish Canadians from applying for Foreign Birth registration from the Irish Embassy in ottawa Canada!!! It seems to be a form of identity theft that you have
to pay for!!

The wait in Ottawa was supposedly shorter than the one in San Francisco, but they said you had to apply where you were currently living. SF took about 20 months as I recall, though you get no status updates, no way to query. Just one day it shows up by courier. To my annoyance, mine showed up on St. Patrick's Day but the paperwork said it had been done in November, and I would have been able to use it on a trip and saved some bucks if it had come when it was done.

Ireland is broke, of course, so don't expect much improvement!

San Francisco must have a larger staff?The lady`s I spoke too in Ottawa were very nice but will not let you know one way or another when your certificate is to be issued, If at all. They have changed from 6-8 months to up to 18 months, now it has been changed to 24 months minimum waiting time!,And yes this also applies
to people that have applied 36 months ago on a up to 18 month application.Very misleading!!.I wonder if all applications end up in Dublin for approval??

All applications end up in the Bank of Ireland!!!! It is a Scam!!

It is very likely that the embassy in ottawa canada is ignoring applicants of foriegn birth registration,taking peoples money and information!6-38 months is not normal or lawful.

There has been an update and now apparently the Irish embassy in Ottawa is switching to an electronic system for the Foreign Births Registration process. Their website is now quoting 6-10 months. I submitted my application before the change so I'm not sure how it will affect wait times or how accurate the 6-10 month wait is now. I must say the embassy was very quick to get my original documents back to me (just over a week) so perhaps the process has been streamlined now. They were also very prompt in answering my questions. I can't say the same for Canadian immigration - my Irish friends are trying to get PR here in Canada and the process is a gong show.

I will second Brad's comment that you do qualify if you have a grandparent born in Northern Ireland, as this was the case with me (I was worried it wouldn't count). His Canadian documents list his ethnicity as 'Irish' and not British, even though he came to Canada on a British passport.

Hey Brad, because you seem slightly more knowledgeable than me:

My dad was adopted by my Irish granddad. The Irish consular said that if I provide proof of adoption along with the birth records, it should be fine.

How long did the total process take for you? I assume mine may be a bit quicker because my granddad is alive and well, but the adoption thing throws a wrench into the cogs (so I take that as balancing out).


I doubt it will go any faster in one situation or another, as long as you have all the papers. They want proof the adoption was done in a manner compatible with Irish law. Of course if it happened in Ireland that's a no brainer but most other adoptions in the USA or Canada will also be fine but you should check.

The slow speed is just the backlog, not too much that some take more than others. There are reports of the process speeding up.

I used all dead people (my father and his Irish parents are both deceased) and it worked fine. I would guess that living people would probably eliminate much doubt, though you have to get copies of the living folk's IDs, rather than (fortunately) their death certs!

If your dad was adopted in Ireland you may be automatic Irish as I understand it. If he was adopted outside Ireland then it's more like mine.

Hi Brad Thanks for your post. I am tentatively looking into this. But my big concern is the birth certificates, death&marriage ect. They want the originals? That means (in my case) I send all my original certificates to the New York consulate and they hold on to them for up to a year? I could be without the originals for up to a year?
Am I misunderstanding this? I hope you respond -I could use some clarification.
Thanks so much

They do want originals. If you go in person, you can bring the originals and copies, and they will confirm the copies are legit and take only the copies. If you submit by mail, you can submit originals and copies and people have reported they send the originals back reasonably soon, not years later. You have to make the copies, which seems odd but that's how it works.

Thank you so much- your response has been a real help. I was very nervous( in paticular) about sending out my grandparents documents. Thanks again.

Hi Brad,
Thankyou very much for starting this blog. I started the process of getting my Irish citizenship in Nov. 2009 and am just finishing now and awaiting my certificate. Now, not all of that time was waiting for the Irish Embassy Most of it was because The Canadian Registrer General's Office takes forever to get certificates to you. Min. 6 wks! And god forbid you should make a mistake because they will take that 6 weeks to inform you of your mistake and then another 6 weeks to reply. I had the misfortune of birthdate problems for my dad. (his mother was born in County Waterford) His birth registry stated July 20 1908 his marriage and death registry stated July 19 1908. So I had to have the conflicting certificates dates changed; which involves having original certificates, a letter from the person who witnessed his death certificate stating they were aware I was changing data on the certificate as well as baptismal certificate etc. The applications had to be noterized by one of their officers. I made a mistake on one of the papers by using whiteout and it took 6 wks for them to send it back saying it was unacceptable. I had to wait a further 6 weeks for new papers to fill out and go through it all again. I have been going through the Embassy in Ottawa and have found them very pleasent and helpful. The person working on my application was prompt with callbacks. I am really hoping to have my certificate before the new year but I won't ho;d my breath.

Hi Brad
Thanks for writing this up, very interesting. I am about to go through the FBR process myself and also have a name discrepancy, my grandmother is called 'May Cathleen' on her birth certificate but only ever used Mary Catherine thereafter. I hope that difference is small enough to be accepted, I won't know until I try. What I wondered is which version to use on the form, or to use both (although that seems to trigger need for a deed poll which doesn't exist). Just wondered, what did you do about this in your case where you had alternative versions of the name?

Based on my experience that should be nothing at all. I can't recall which name I used, probably the birth cert name

Thanks Brad, hopefully it will all go smoothly then, that was my main worry. Fingers crossed!!

Hello! I am going through the FBR process now and wanted to see if using the birth certificate name had worked from you without problems? My grandmother's birth certificate reads "Nora Mary" but her marriage and death records have her listed as "Noreen Mary". Hoping I won't have a problem if it worked out for you! Thanks!

No problem; happens all the time.

I started the process in October 2012. I am a Canadian citizen with one grandparent born in Ireland in 1919, at that point in time it was considered one country but my Granda was born in Derry in the North.

For me the process was pretty good. I had to obtain my grandpas birth cert. from Ireland which came within a week, to get all of the long form birth, marriage and death certificates is very easy in Ontario and once ordered online I had within a couple weeks.

I sent my entire package to Ottawa in early February and they have cleared the cheque but I am still waiting to here anything back.

When I went through the app as someone mentioned above the FBR was all online so I am hoping my application is wrapped up within the next couple of months.

Update end of April received letter from Ottawa that my application is in order and received back original documents. Letter states that my application is sent for "final approval" and will be printed and sent to me, anyone have an idea of how long this takes? I'm wondering if they sent it over to Ireland?

I am also collecting the actually passport application to get that ready for when my FBR certificate comes back.

I've been thinking about putting the work in to do this myself, but in my asking around I spoke with a woman who thought there were stipulations on maintaining the citizenship. She was under the impression that there was a required amount of time that must be spent in Ireland every some odd years to maintain the citizenship. I haven't put much time into researching this, but wasn't able to come up with anything along these lines in my limited research.


I am not aware of this, let me know if you find out more.

Look in the 'Naturalisation' section of an Irish Embassy's webpage. Maintenance only applies to a non-Irish citizen becoming a naturalised Irish citizen, if I read it right. The Foreign Birth Registration, on the other hand, is the recognition and written entry of the birth of someone entitled to Irish Citizenship through descent. So you are not being 'naturalised' with stipulations, you are being recognised as person who is acquiring Irish Citizenship by having been born to an Irish person whose parent (your grandparent) was born on the island of Ireland.

Just wondering if anyone has applied to the Ottawa Embassy this year, I recently applied (about 3 months ago) and on the website there is nothing listed for processing times. I know this can take a really long time just curious if anyone has received their certificate recently and how long it took.



I just recently got my entry into the Foreign Births. Processing time was about 5-6 months from the time I sent in the application to the time I received my FBR paperwork. After about 1 month I got all the birth certificates, etc. back and was notified my application was complete and I had to just wait for the special paperwork.

Well that's awesome...except I wonder what it means that I haven't received my original documents back in over 3 months :( Hopefully all is well.

I just used my brain power and remembered I had 2 applications with my original documents (myself and my brother) so likely that would be why mine will take longer to come back as they have to process 2 applications with the same doc's I will try to refrain from having panic attacks in the future LOL

Thanks for writing this! Putting together my application but very hesitant to send so many original documents in the mail (and my parents are hesitant to let go of their marriage certificate, birth certificates, etc), is there a way around this? If I go directly to the Ottawa Embassy do you know if I can get them back immediately?

Thank you,


I went to the consulate (no need to go to the embassy but that may vary by consulate) and brought quality copies of all the documents. They then examine the copies to assure they match the documents, and return the originals to you. (This seems silly to me, why don't they just make the copies, and then they can be sure they match. But they do have to check for authenticity.)

Indeed, if you give them the originals, reportedly they will make copies themselves and send you back the originals -- but in a few months.

So happy to see so many people getting their Irish citizenship.

As an Irish (and British) citizen by birth, I'd urge you guys to hold on in's a slow process (things are often very inefficient in Ireland to be honest)...but it will bring you some great benefits in the future!

Good luck

At the risk of becoming extremely unpopular, I put my application into the office in Cork and got my registration papers within a week!

Hi, how can I get my great grand parents certifications if I'm not in Ireland? Is there a place online where I pay for these documents and have them ship to my country? Also both of my great grand parents were Irish but my grandpa was born in another country, he died many years ago and I'm not sure if he was ever registered in the foreign birth register in Ireland. But as I was researching about this and it seems that if both of your parents were Irish you automatically become one even though you weren't born in Ireland. It's a little confusing. Can you help me with is??? THANKS!

Your great-grandparents don't really factor into it, other than that your parent (father or mother) could have used them to get into the FBR. You can't use them.

Your grandfather was automatically Irish, but without the ability to pass it on without the paperwork. So if he, or your parent, registered your parent in the FBR before you were born, you can also register in the FBR. If your parent was not in the FBR at the time of your birth, you are probably out of luck.

Thank you Brad.

Hi. My grandfather was born in Tipperary in 1865 and emigrated to New Zealand where my father was born. His birth was not registered in the Foreign Birth Registry in Ireland. Does this affect my ability to apply for Irish Citizenship? Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

My Grandfather was also born in Tipperary (though I used my grandmother.)

You're good, if you can get all the birth, death and marriage certificates.

I filled out the application on line, and was directed to send all the documents directly to Ireland (which I understand is the updated process for many areas, rather than applying to consulate.) Does anybody have experience with this? Any idea what the time frame is? I sent me documentation in about 2 months ago, and I just now was charged the fee. Which I guess may mean that they just now got around to even looking at the application.

I just sent my documents to Ireland, and got a receipt back that they received it. Did your application get approved? How long did it take?

have either of you received your certificate? how long did it end up taking? thanks!

I filled out the application on line, and was directed to send all the documents directly to Ireland (which I understand is the updated process for many areas, rather than applying to consulate.) Does anybody have experience with this? Any idea what the time frame is? I sent me documentation in about 2 months ago, and I just now was charged the fee. Which I guess may mean that they just now got around to even looking at the application.

Hi, my mother was born in Ireland, which makes me an Irish citizen by decent. It is my understanding, (and I'd love clarification) that I do not need to register. My plan was to apply for an Irish passport based on this info. Also, I have two children and a husband whom I would like to register. Has anyone completed this process for their children or spouse? Can I send the documentation for all of us at once instead of waiting for it to be returned for my passport? My experience with the Irish consulate in Ottawa has always been frustrating. When I was in school in Ottawa I attempted the process, but found it SO frustrating as they would only respond to snail mail. Now I understand there is an online application, but all of the links on the embassy website are broken and the person is away on leave until next week.

Also, I was wondering if it would be faster, or possible to have an aunt or uncle go to the embassy for me with the documentation in Ireland.

I can not speak for how Canadian Embassy processes requests, but I think the same in the US will apply to you. First, you should be apply directly for a passport with all supporting documentation that you are a child of an Irish citizen born aboard. No need to register in the Foreign Birth Registry. That is how my husband got his passport last year. Have your local Embassy send you passport application. Took about 8 weeks. Now...your children will need to register in the Foreign Birth Registry before they can apply for a passport. I was told that it is easier to do this AFTER your passport has been approved. I just submitted my daughters' applications - we will see how long it takes. They actually had me send application to Ireland for processing, not a US embassy?!? There is an online form you need to fill out for their application. Go to the Irish government web page for citizenship. I do not believe that your husband can gain citizenship through marriage to you. You would have to both live in Ireland for a lengthy time for him to be able to apply.

If all your paperwork is in order, they must have really streamlined the process. It took me two months to get my foreign birth registration. I received all my original documents back with no problem.
The process works, one just has to be a little bit patient.

My mom and dad are divorced and I have absolutely no means of contacting my dad, I don't even know where him or his family are. I have the date his certificate was issued and the reference number but I have no clue how to obtain a copy and I need a copy in order to register my own birth and get an FBR. Who could I contact for help?

I presume your dad is the Irishman and your mother is not. You need either your father's living ID or his death certificate in the rules. I would call your Irish consulate for help on this one, perhaps they have a rule for disappeared or estranged fathers -- after all that does happen, not just in divorce.

Even if you did hire a private detective to find him -- it's not that easy to hide in the internet age -- you also would need to expect that he will offer up his ID to you if you find him. If he's dead, then it's actually easier for you, not that you might want it to work out that way.

So did your dad have an FBR? And he got it before you were born? Perhaps again the rules are different there, because since they verified his ID when they gave him an FBR perhaps that's enough? The main reason they want all this ID is to be sure that the Sean Murphy listed on your birth certificate and parent's marriage certificate is the Sean Murphy who was Irish, since there are a lot of people named Sean Murphy out there, including my grandfather.

I applied for FBR through descent from my Irish-born grandmother 15 years ago. It went fairly smoothly, except for a request for more documentation to explain an anomaly - my grandfather changed his last name after marrying my grandmother. There was no legal requirement to register this with the BC government at the time, so I swore out an affidavit and also got one from my last surviving aunt to prove the discrepancy in the names was legitimate. The affidavits were accepted and I got my FBR certificate less than a year after first applying. I got the passport very quickly afterward.

Now I'm renewing my passport - which has taken a surprisingly long time. I'm told it has just been mailed almost 3 months after applying.

Just wanted to say thanks for the post and to all for their comments! Very interesting to hear everyone's experiences. I have just put in my application for a second time for my FBR - the first round a couple of my documents were laminated including my grandfathers original birth certificate which is over 110 years old - apparently this is not acceptable so had to send off to Ireland for a new official copy. Also I'm applying from New Zealand and apparently your marriage certificate which you sign is not the marriage certificate they need - they need civil marriage certificates so had to apply for those for myself, my parents and grandparents! Very confusing, time consuming and expensive but I'm sure it will be all worth it in the end! Oh and the 3 proofs of address needed to be within the previous 6 months which wasn't in their fine print. Anyway thanks again to all
For sharing :).

Perhaps you would be willing to answer?

I am an American who was married to an Irish citizen.
I have held an Irish passport and dual citizenship with Ireland the US and for over 14 years.
I divorced my Irish husband, married an American and now have children.
I have never lived in Ireland; my Irish husband never lived in Ireland.
My new family and I want to move to Ireland to settle.
We want to obtain all the rights and privileges to which I am afforded as an Irish Citizen.
Apply for EHIC card
Apply for a PPS number
Begin to pay taxes, and
Eventually retire

My questions are these:
Am I able to move to Ireland and become a resident with a citizen's rights and privileges with my new family?
If so, will this be difficult? If so, in what ways? I am not bothered by paperwork.
Am I considered naturalized?
How should I arrange for my American family to be here? Do I apply for residence permits? Can they have access to social benefits such as health care?

If you do find you are able to answer these questions, I would be very grateful.

Thank you.

You are a naturalized Irish citizen. I am less familiar with that, but since your children were born to you after you were naturalized, generally they are Irish automatically. Though I must admit, I did not know you could naturalize without living in Ireland, so I am not sure how that worked.

Your new husband is not, of course.

However, under the European Right of Free Movement, if you have an Irish passport you are entitled to live and work anywhere in Europe, and to bring your family with you. Once they have lived in the host country long enough to meet its naturalization requirement (that's 5 years out of 9 in Ireland) they can naturalize.

But I don't know about your naturalization. Reading the web site, it says naturalization by marriage still requires living in Ireland for a couple of years, perhaps the rules were different in the past?

"I have held an Irish passport

I have never lived in Ireland; my Irish husband never lived in Ireland."

Doesn't this make the concept of Irish citizenship, and "being Irish", rather absurd?

Is not possible today.

But many nations give citizenship to the child of citizens (as does Ireland, or even grandchildren) even though they have never set foot in that nation.

Many nations will naturalize the spouse of a citizen, though usually that happens because, as a spouse, they are entitled to live in the country with their citizen-spouse, and most countries will give it to you if you live there long enough.

Yes, citizenship is usually inherited, i.e. you have citizenship X if at least one of your parents had it. OK, fine. Easier naturalization if married to a citizen and living in the country? Fine, makes sense. What I found strange was that she had Irish citizenship though she had never lived there and didn't inherit it. Yes, an Irish husband, but that is sort of pushing it, especially since he had never lived in Ireland. Strangest of all: she wants to move to Ireland, but has never been there.

There are various rules, various traditions, all of which have their explanation. But with greater mobility, differences show up more and can make more difference. It would be nice to have some standard rules. Mine would be: citizenship is inherited (see above) and one has a right to citizenship if one was a) born in the country, b) speaks the language, and c) has lived there a certain number of years or gone to school there a certain (smaller) number of years. All these apply until one is 25, say, after which one has to decide in favour of one. No country would recognize dual citizenship for people over 25 born after a certain date.

Sounds like you have post-nuptial citizenship, which is no longer possible to obtain. This is not "naturalization". These days non-citizen spouses of Irish citizens have to immigrate and eventually apply for naturalization in order to become Irish citizens. If you hold an Irish passport without ever having lived in Ireland, you must either have citizenship by descent or by post-nuptial affidavit.

"Am I able to move to Ireland and become a resident with a citizen's rights and privileges with my new family?"
Why wouldn't you be? You are an Irish citizen, so they pretty much have to let you in and live there.

Your American husband, on the other hand, will have to immigrate to Ireland. You should look up the requirements for immigration as they apply to a U.S. citizen spouse of an Irish citizen.

Your children should have the right to become Irish citizens by Foreign Births Registration since they were born to an Irish citizen. You need to go through the Foreign Births Registration process for them. It will probably be easier if you do this before you move to Ireland, as then they will not have to immigrate as U.S. citizens, but rather simply show up to live in Ireland as Irish citizens, like you.

Good luck!

Hi Brad,

I really appreciate your response. Yes. It's been a while, and according to the law, things have been different since 2005.

Plus, I'm going to use that yard joke.

I understand you are not from US, but thought you could point me to a link or individual who can help. On my app to FBR processing, in the checklist section, it notes that I need Deed poll(s) for change of name for me, my parent and my grandparent. Since we do not issue that doc in the US, do you know what I should send in place of the Deed poll? Many thanks!

You dont need the deed poll. If you have a marriage certificate and birth certificate, that would show the change of name.

For my grandmother i sent her birth and marriage license as the proof of name change

Hi, I would like to apply for an Irish passport and
I am not too sure if I am qualified.Both my father and grandparents were born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.My father opted for the British passport. Seeing as the Irish constitution claims Ulster (Northern Ireland) to be a part of the Ireland. My questions are:
1. Does this entitle me to apply for Irish passport even though I was born abroad?.
2. Do i have to claim irish citizenship through foreign birth registration?.
3. Finally, my parents never married will that affect my application in anyway if I am qualified to apply for the Irish passport.
I seek your advice on this matter. Thanks, I look forward to receiving your reply.

But I suspect if your grandparents were Irish you father is automatic Irish. Doesn't hurt that he took UK. If your father was full Irish, born-on-the-island Irish, you are, I believe automatic Irish (not-on-the-Island) which means your kids need to file the paperwork to get it (they are not automatic.)

I am presuming your father was born some time ago.

But this one is more complex and you may want to check on other sites.

My FBR is processing and I am still in the US, but I would like to rent a flat in Ireland while awaiting approval. Is a visa required for for me to live there? Traveling without a visa, am I limited to 90 days? I think the processing time is presently several months.
Many thanks for your help!

I appreciate all your comments and what is needed for application. My husbands mother was born in Ireland and our children would like to apply for Irish passports. We are having trouble trying to get through to the Irish Embassy in Ottawa and the email they sent back was too brief. We have all the documents from my husbands parents, but now we are told that my husband must have his drivers or passport notarized by a lawyer which will cost an additional $300. Marriage certificates and birth certificates have been obtained so we are not sure why the need for a notarized copy of his drivers or passport.
Thanks for any information.

Do you live near Ottawa or an Irish consulate? You might be able to go in person with the ID and a copy of it to present the application. They will confirm the copy and let you keep the original. (Seems silly, they should just make the copy.)

However, getting a notarized copy of a document usually costs more like $10, not $300. I don't know who told you $300.

The lawyers office told me that is what they charge. Guess we check out more options. We are not close to Ottawa, but will check out some of the Federal offices to find out where to go.
Thanks for your help.

Hey Brad, so my dad was born there, i was born in Canada, I can go straight passport application is what you're saying?

Please help me with 2 questions regarding the docs required an Irish FBR docs? I am in the US.
What do they mean by a copy of a passport certified by an embassy?
Do I get my FBR application documents back or do they keep them? I really hope they return them. They were expensive to pull together and I might need them for something else?
Thanks for your help!

Of course you get them back! But since most people can't be without things like a passport for long, you instead get a copy certified and give them that copy. I did it at the consulate.

I hope someone can help with their experience. The NYC consulate reviewed and approve my FBR documents and sent them to Dublin February 2014 for the FBR. When I asked NY over a year ago they said 4 to 6 months. They did not answer my last email in February 2015 and I don't want to be a pest so I have not tried again. Anyone know if this timeframe is normal? Thanks.

I submitted mine directly to Dublin, Ireland (thats what the application said to do) as the ny consulate no longer needs to handle them. That was April 2015. I jist noticed the charged me for the application fee. So im only 4 months in and anticipating my certificate any day now. I wouls email them again.

Brian - Did you receive your FBR certificate yet? It looks like yours was submitted a month before me (based on your comments). Did it arrive via fedex or regular mail?

Haven't received it yet. I noticed they charged my card, but haven't gotten anything yet!

Just got my FBR certificate. They charged my card in August and I then they processed it on Oct. 7. Just received Oct 19. Sent via US postal service - signature required.

I submitted my paperwork to Dublin (FBR Processing) 4 months ago on behalf of my son who is 3 years old. I am a citizen through FBR several years before my son was born. I just saw on my credit card statement that Dept of Foreign Affairs charged my FBR processing fee to my credit card. Does anyone know if that means everything was approved and I will be receiving my son's FBR certificate soon? Did you receive your FBR certificate through the regular mail or was it Fed Ex?

I was wondering if you ever received your answer. my credit card was also just charged so I'm curious if that means I'll get my certificate soon. my paperwork was sent to Dubkin as well.

I applied for FBR in JUN 2014, my granparents were born there. My father is deceased, never applied. I got all the required docs, sent them in, didnt hear anything, and then in JUL 2015 my FBR "approval" and original docs came back. It works, it may be inefficient, but it's Ireland, hate to say it. If you have ever been, time has a different meaning over there. I did call the consulate in Chicago once or twice to check up and they did give me very vague X months behind. I last called in JUN 2015 and was told 2-3 months, it arrived 3 weeks later. For those concerned about original documents and not having the while waiting, request more than one. If you are an adult, you probably wont need your original birth cert anyways as you probably have a passport for the country you live in. About the only easy thing I had was "official" birth certs of my grandparents. A cousin in Ireland got them for me. If you dont have these you need them, order them now. Older birth dates and locales can be difficult. I am glad I did it and not surprised by the wait. I would do it again, sooner if I had known. I have a son who was born before I got IRE citizenship and that looks like a tougher deal. He is half-Canadian half-American already. We applied for Canadian citizenship (my wife is Canadian) and that was qwuicker but it's also closer and more of a direct relationship. DOnt worry about hte originals, you will get them, just do it ;-) You will be happy you did. I am

Hi, Jim!

I submitted my FBR application to the Chicago Consulate in February 2015. I only contacted them once via email in August 2015, and they told me that they were processing applications received in May 2014. It's interesting to me that you submitted your application in June 2014 and received it in July 2015. I am not doubting the veracity of your comments, but it seems they may have given me misinformation. Moreover, when I dealt with them on the phone when I was originally submitting my FBR application, they were rude, which makes me hesitant to call again. I just am surprised and disappointed that I have waited for 16 months and heard nothing. Any advice? Also, has anyone else dealt with the Chicago consulate? I would appreciate the feedback.



I was in the same situation as you.....I just now received the FBR approval. Total wait time almost 2 years. Every time I e-mailed them, I received a response letting me know which applications they were currently processing. Hope this helps.


Thanks for all the comments I've read through so far! I submitted all of my documentation directly to the FBR in Dublin at the beginning of July (first week), and my credit card was charged the fee about a week ago. Does this mean my application was approved? Would I still be charged if it was denied? Thank you in advance for any responses.

Just for everyone's reference,

I had all of my documents together before I mailed them. I submitted them the first week of July 2015 directly to Dublin. I noticed my card was charged 12 Oct, and I received my official letter and documents back 31 Nov.

Thanks for the info about processing timeframes, anonymous.
I posted my application from Australia on 29 Oct. Arrived at Dublin 11 Nov. Credit card was charged today, 16 Dec.
So, going by your timeframes, with a little bit of luck, I should be done & dusted in about 6 weeks.
By the way, I think you're very clever to receive docs on 31 Nov!

Wondering if anyone was able to get on the Register having provided LESS than required. I'm able to provide everything required for my grandparents, and myself. However, they want a birth certificate from my parent, and a certified copy of current passport or ID (or death certificate if dead). I have my dad's birth certificate, but he's a paranoid, 84 year-old man who refuses to give me a certified copy of his passport. So does this mean I can't apply until he dies and I can use a death certificate?

Hi Brad,
I read through all your posts and you seem to know a lot on the subject so thank you.

I have a few questions if you can please:

1. I am in Canada, so would you happen to know how to locate a copy of one of my grandparent's long birth certificate? She was Born in Queenstown in 1916. I have contacted to see if they could look in the Index of Births at the GRO in Dublin for the certificate, but is there an easier way?

2. Is there any way to find out if my father was registered in the FBR (he was born in Paris)? He is now deceased.

3. I was born in 1983 (before the 1986 law change), so if my father was not registered in the FBR, can I still get registration through decent (grandparent)?

If you could give me some advice, that would be greatly appreciated!

I knew the city of my grandmother's birth, and the dates, so I just wrote that city and asked for a copy. I suggest you search for the record online, and if you find it, you can then file a very specific request.

If your grandparent was born on the island, and your father is the child of that person, then they would not be in the FBR because they are Irish automatically by birth already ("not born on island level.") Only you need to go in the FBR. Your dad could just go get himself a passport if he were alive.

This is very encouraging if that is the case. One last caveat is that I was adopted as a baby, and from what I have read, adoptions are the same as biological births.

This whole process is just beginning for me, but I will write back when it all completes...for better or for worse.


You will need to add proof that your adoption was conformant with Irish law, but apparently that's true of many countries.


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