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.


I have been trying to gather the documents needed to apply but I don't know the date or town of my Grandmother's second wedding. I am making a trip to NYC tomorrow to try to search int he NY marriage archives but if I can't find it the only thing I can think to do is to pay to hire a genealogist. I will have my birth certificate, my marriage certif (but we were married in Norway and I only have what they gave me then - I hope it will do - it is the original) then I have my Dad'd birth cert, death cert, marriage cert and my GM (born in N. Ireland) birth cert, marriage certificate (to my GF) but she remarried and so her name will be different on her death cert. I think they will likely want both marriage certificates. I have looked everywhere I can think of but anyone who could have offered info on the matter is dead. NY is also really difficult to deal with - I am her direct descendant and next of kin but it has only been 46 years since she died rather than 50 so they won't give me her death certificate without legal letters of necessity from the Irish consulate. All those that would be allowed to request her death certificate are dead. Do you think they will require both her marriage certificates?

They are quite used to names changing. I had 6 forms of my grandmother's name on different documents.

I don't see why they need her 2nd marriage certificate. (And frankly, I don't know why they insist on death certificates for people born 120 years ago or more!)

They want the marriage cert of your grandparents and parents because there are a lot of people who share names, but finding a birth cert with 2 parents and a matching marriage cert is very difficult, so it is secure enough for them.

I guess her death cert does not have her birth name on it? I thought they usually did. But yes, they want your GM's death cert, no matter how long ago she lived. They told me I needed it even though the birth was 120 years ago.

Brad, thanks so much for this post and for having comments on here. I feel like I couldn't find half as much useful information through the official Irish websites.

I'm particularly relieved to read in the comments that many others sent their documents directly to Dublin, as I just did, and that the process was more like 5 months, in 2015, than the 18–24 you cite in your post. I was slightly terrified to realize that timeline: as an apartment-renter in NYC, I had no idea where I'll be living in 18–24 months. So, I started to wonder what to do when the documents would be returned, unannounced, once I'm very likely living elsewhere. Perhaps you could edit that in your post, so as not to freak people out when they read it? : )

My one concern now: between generating the PDF with my application details and actually gathering all the documents and signatures to send it, I changed addresses. So, unfortunately, my application form says one address, and my 3 proofs of address say another. Do you happen to know if there's any possible way to email or reach the Dublin DFA to update something like that, before they reject and return my entire application?

Just emailed them at the form available via:

The form gives a max character count of 250, which is somewhat challenging, but hopefully it works. I'll try to update here when I learn more!

Hi all-

I appreciate the info everyone posted here. Thought I would share my experience thus far.

I sent my documents to Dublin in mid January 2016. My credit card was charged the fee on January 27th (about a week after they received everything from me). Thus, maybe turnaround times are improving! Still waiting on formal approval and returned documents, of course.

Hi Ted - My application was submitted a month after yours and my credit card was just charged today.
Would love to know if you have received your certificate / documents back or if you are still waiting by the mailbox! :)

Hi Brad! I hope you can help me. I am interested in obtaining Irish citizenship. I live in the United States. My grandfather was born in Ireland in 1896, emigrated to the U.S. sometime in the early 1900's and married my grandmother (who was born of Irish parents, but was herself born in the U.S.) He died in 1946. Documents from Ireland's census in 1944 show that my grandfather lived in Tipperary. Can you give me any help with where to begin with obtaining all the documents I will need for the process of applying for citizenship? I have no idea how to go about getting my grandfather's birth and death certificates, my grandparents' marriage ertificate, my dad's births certificate (I have his death certificate), of my parents' marriage certificate. Any tips for where to begin? Thanks for any assistance you can offer! Jennifer

Every place is different, but if you know the city and approximate date of the events - birth, marriage, death -- you can write to the local records offices and request copies of the ancient documents. Records may be at city, state/province or national level. You need to just google for it for your location.

Regarding the Irish birth certificate...

this is a great site for finding Irish birth info, especially if you do not know all of the details for your grandparent:

And once you the specific birthday and location for your Irish grandparent, you can order the long-form birth certificate online here:

I wish I had seen/read this months ago! I sent in my completed application to the Irish Embassy in Ottawa (Canada) and it was received September 10, 2015. The bank draft cheque I sent with it was cashed on September 30, 2015. I knew the wait time was going to be 6-9 months, but after reading that everyone has had their original documents returned to them fairly quickly, Im worried as I have heard nothing yet (it has been 7 months). Aside from calling the Ottawa Embassy, is there anywhere I can call to find out the status of my FBR application? Has anyone else recently sent in an application to Ottawa and has a time frame for processing? TIA

After I gathered all the documents, which took about 6 months, I mailed them directly to Dublin as instructed, along with a credit card number. They will only charge your credit card AFTER they have approved you for Foreign Birth Registration. I have always had excellent "first time luck." (Or is that the luck of the Irish?) Anyway, I Fed Ex'd my documents to Dublin. Using the Fed Ex tracking system, I saw that my documents were received on a Friday. I couldn't resist, I started calling my credit card company daily to see if my card had been charged yet. Seems crazy, right? Especially with all the horror stories on this thread about how long it can take. Well, by Monday afternoon, my card had been charged! So basically a day and a half after they received my documents, I was approved! It took about 3 more weeks to get my foreign birth registration in the mail, along with all my original documents. They included with that a passport application.

I filled out the passport application, and mailed it as instructed to the consulate in San Francisco. I mailed that Fed Ex also. They received it on Feb 25, 2016, and issued the passport on March 9, 2016. I received it by Fed Ex today. Seems they process the paperwork much faster than they mail it out.

Anyway, all I can say was the hardest part of this was obtaining my mother's birth certificate, as we have been estranged for decades and she is still living, in the state of New York, which is really tough for getting vital records. In fact, I finally gave up on the state capital and got my mother's birth certificate from the "Village Clerk" where she was born - much friendlier and less bureaucratic, for any of you who can't get a parents birth certificate. I made a personal trip to NY, and brought my birth certificate (which shows my mother's name) and the letter from the Irish Consulate stating why I needed it, and $10 later I had a certified copy of my mom's birth certificate! My grandparents were both born in Ireland and it was relatively easy to get my grandfather's certificate. Ireland couldn't find my grandmother's birth certificate. As they were both born in the late 1880s, there weren't a lot of records back then. And apparently there were a LOT of John Donnelly's born in the early 1880s. After several incorrect grandfather birth certificates, I finally made a phone call to Ireland and gave them his family details & birthdate, and got the correct grandparent birth certificate.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience with you all. And wish you good luck in your own applications!

In some places, you can't get somebody else's birth certificate if they are alive and competent. I guess New York is not one since they gave you hers. I am also surprised because Ireland requires her ID (or death cert) and how did you get those if your mother won't talk to you? Or do they have a procedure for people in that situation?

I have been working on acquiring my documents to register my Irish birth so to get dual citizenship. I'm from NYC and am having the same issue with my mother's long form birth certificate...( estranged for decades and she is still living, in the state of New York). Your post was so encouraging. May I ask what "Village Clerk" you went to? My mother's birth was in Queens, NYC and I may have to face the city's archives downtown, Manhattan. One other question, did you need an apostille stamp on any of your documents before sending off to Dublin?

Thanks again!!

Thank you to Brad and all the commenters for sharing your experiences! It's nice to know someone else knows what all this hoop jumping is like :)
I've just submitted my application to the Chicago Embassy (literally "just" - tracking says it arrived today!) after months of chasing document trails. I hope none of you future applicants have to go through New York City for any documents. They take AGES and are, let's just say, less than helpful.
I'll try to update here with my application progress so we can gauge an updated timeline for processing. Thanks for the moral support!

This site and the comments helped me a lot in regards to the timeline of documents so I thought I'd add mine. I sent my Foreign Birth Register documents to Dublin at the end of February 2016. My credit card was charged 2 weeks later then for 8 weeks I heard nothing. I submitted a request on the foreign birth register website for the status of my documents and low and behold two days later they responded in an email saying it had just been approved and they would be sending them soon. I got my foreign birth register certificate, all my documents and a passport application a week later! Now for the passport......

Wow, so much information here ! Hoping someone might be able to shed a bit of light:

I am a Canadian grand-child of a person born in Ireland. I am applying for FBR. I have all my personal documents and my specific parent documents. In terms of my grandmothers documents, what I have is:
Her original certified true (in Ireland) birth certificate
Her original death certificate
Several of her old passports (both EU and CAD)

This is where things get...tricky...

She was married twice. Once in Europe, and once in Canada. I currently have no records of her first marriage, or a copy of her first husbands death certificate(although I can find this one), although I do have records of my aunt and uncle who shared my grandmothers first married name (my uncle still carries it). I also have the original copy of her marriage and divorce certificate for her second marriage.

So two questions then arise:

1) Do you think I need to submit her first original marriage certificate ? OR;
2) Is her second marriage certificate, her divorce certificate, her birth and her death certificate, and her passports going to be sufficient enough ?

Any info/insight would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone has any ideas of where I might look to find her first original marriage certificate, that would be super helpful.

Go raibh míle maith gat !

They are looking for a marriage certificate that shows two people getting married who are the same two people on your parent's long form birth certificate. They want to see a chain that the Irish woman really is the mother of your parent, since there are a lot of common names. For example, if your grandmother was Mary Murphy, and your parent's cert lists the mother as Mary Murphy -- well, that could be a lot of different people, some not born on the island. But if you match two names, it's much stronger evidence.

Ok wonderful. That definitely eases my suspicions. I am trying to get ahold of the Irish Embassy in Ottawa, but the phone lines are only open from 14:00-16:00 EST. Hopefully they will confirm what I have when I call them. I was just worried about submitting a birth certificate that had one name, a marriage certificate that had one name, but I think I actually found the marriage certificate I was looking for.... (yay!)

How can a marriage certificate have only one name?

Birth certs have one name (short form) or 3 names (long form) and I guess if the father is unknown you could get one with 2 names.

Sorry, I should have clarified. Not one name (like "Cher"), but a different last name on my grandmothers birth certificate, a different last name on my Grandmothers second marriage certificate, and a different last name on her death and my moms birth certificate.

It is normal for women to have a different last name on their death cert, but the marriage cert normally has their birth name, I thought, even when remarrying. If not, you might want to find both. Or is it an adoption that changed her name, in which case you need to document it was done in compliance with Irish rules -- it usually is.

My experience has been a mess.

I submitted my application in early April this year. At the time that I submitted the application, I was directed to mail my documents to the Chicago office. My docs arrived in Chicago on April 18.

I've just learned that shortly after I submitted, all applications in my area have been changed to direct the applicant to submit directly to Dublin. The posters both before and after my original post both submitted to Dublin and were approved and done in a couple of weeks...

Chicago just told me the average processing time is 18 months.

I'm completely heartbroken. If the Chicago office knew they were running on that kind of a timeframe, why wasn't I instructed to send my documents directly to Dublin? Clearly there's no backlog there. I want to cry.

It seems kinda random which place they want us to send them to. But my guess would be that the Chicago Consulate gave you the longest estimate possible just so people won't be pestering them for updates. If all your documents are in order, I'll bet you get it way faster than that, and certainly under a year.

Hello everyone!
I am currently in the process of applying for an Irish passport for myself & FBR for my children based on the fact that my late father was born in Ireland. I have gathered together most of the required documentation but there are two things I am concerned about & I wonder if anyone had any experience or information they could share...
On my father's birth certificate his name is John but throughout his life he was known as Sean & this is the name he used on all other documents ie my birth certificate, his marriage certificate & death certificate. I have heard that it is quite common to use both Irish & Anglised versions of a name so hope this won't be a problem.
On his marriage certificate to my mother his age is incorrect by 5 years. I'm not sure why this is the case. I am worried this inconsistency will jeopardise our application. I'm wondering if it is absolutely necessary to provide a marriage certificate for an application based on a paternal ancestor where the surname is unchanged... I could understand why it would be needed if the application were based on a female relative & the surname had changed through marriage.
If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions they'd be much appreciated. Keen to get this underway asap but want to get it right! Thanks!

Because there are many men with your father's name, and your birth certificate says that name but the cert you have for your father could be another man.

Only when your birth cert matches the marriage cert (two parents on both) is it less likely you are faking. And then the marriage cert needs to match him and that's where the age could be an issue, but you just have to try and see.

Thanks for info & for such a swift reply... I see the logic of what you say... Will just have to give it a go & hope the luck is with me!

Thank you very much for the very interesting and useful blog. I am in the process of gathering documents and will be submitting my application via London (as I am British and live in the UK). I am applying for Irish Citizenship (Foreign Birth Registration) through my (deceased) paternal grandmother.

I am applying because of Brexit as I am worried about what will happen in the future if/when the UK splits from the EU (although the "special relationship" between UK and Ireland should hopefully not be affected, IF Brexit goes ahead I will no longer be an EU citizen if I only have a British passport).

My grandmother also has many variations on her name! She was born in the 1890s and I think they must have worried less about paperwork then:

- Grandmother's birth and death certificates have the same first and [maiden] surname. Both certificates show her place of birth as in Ireland. [Death certificate has her married surname also.]

- Grandmother's wedding certificate has her nickname (for first name) and misspelt surname (one letter out 'a' instead of 'e').

- My father's birth certificate has her nickname, married surname and (correctly spelt as on birth and death certificates) maiden surname and shows her place of birth as in Ireland.

I guess I will just see if they accept these documents! My paternal grandfather had an unusual first name which appears on her wedding and death certificates ("widow of"), and on my father's birth certificate, so hopefully that will help prove that all these documents are for the same person.

I am slightly concerned about who to get to witness the application - I will ask a solicitor and hope that they will tick the box to say they "know me personally" (as the rules require).

I am also worried about the 3 forms of acceptable ID (“If over 18 years - Three separate documents showing proof of current residence in the UK e.g. phone bill, gas/electricity bill, council tax, water rates etc.”) - as I can only supply one utility bill and a council tax bill (but I don't have any more utilities in my name). For a third option I will give them the most recent tax code letter I received from HMRC; a bank statement; a certified copy of photo driving licence showing my address; and a mobile phone bill (although often mobiles aren't accepted only landlines, which I don't have) and hope that one of those is accepted!

Please keep your fingers crossed and I will come back to let you know if I am successful and how long it took.


"My father's birth certificate has her nickname, married surname and (correctly spelt as on birth and death certificates) maiden surname and shows her place of birth as in Ireland."

Unfortunately my father's birth certificate does NOT have birth place of his mother (which is a shame as it would have been very useful in this case) - as it dates from the 1930s...The General Records Office for England/Wales has this info re information on birth certificates.

Q1. What information will I see on a certificate?
The details contained on a full birth certificate include:

•Name, date and place of birth.
•Father's name (if given at time of registration), place of birth and occupation.
•Mother's name, place of birth, maiden surname and, after 1984, occupation.
•(Registrations made before 1969 do not include details of the parents' place of birth and mother's occupation.)

Just a quick update to say I came home today to a letter from the Irish embassy in London saying I've been added to the Foreign Births Register and I'm officially an Irish citizen. I'm so happy!!!!!

I submitted my application by special-delivery post (guaranteed next day delivery) 1st September 2016, and received the confirmation today 17th December 2016. They sent all my documents back.

I would definitely recommend applying for it - it's worth all the stress and hassle.

Next step: passport application- but I will leave that for the new year.

I have all my paperwork ready to send in now but am worried that I have to send all originals. Does anyone know how long I will be without them, or even if I will ever get them back?.... I'm very worried about this as the documents I'm sending mean a lot to me. Thanks in advance.

Hi - I am sure they will (I am in process of applying). The website for Ireland says:

Are all the original documents that are required to be submitted for Foreign Births Registration - ie birth certificates etc returned once the application is completed?
We understand the importance of these documents to you and once your application is complete we return all original documentation to you by registered post.

The website for those applying via the Irish embassy in London is slightly different - we have to supply our own self-addressed pre-paid Special Delivery envelope (which you can purchase from the Post Office) and they post it back in that. Remember to make a note of the tracking number before you send it off with your application, so you cAn track your package.

If you check the Irish embassy website for your country, it should hopefully advise what you need to do with your application.

I'm not sure re timing - for UK applicants I have heard 15 days to 2 months, but that might well be longer now as so many people are applying post Brexit. Sorry, don't know about other countries.

When I did it, you could go to the local consulate or embassy and bring the originals and copies, and they would confirm the originals matched the copies, stamp that on the copies and let you leave with the originals. Silly procedure -- they should just copy them there and not need to do the visual check. That's not going to happen if you send to Dublin though.

Hi Brad. I am trying to obtain Irish citizenship through my grandmother. I sent my paperwork off to Dublin just about 4 weeks ago. While I realize that its too early to expect much, I haven't received an acknowledgment that they received it.
Is there any way to contact them by email or by phone? I made the mistake of sending the documents via regular first class mail from the US and I have no way to track them.
Thanks in advance.

But at the time it took 2 years to get your answer, any answer at all, and no, you could not call them. I am told it takes less than 2 years now, some people here report just a few months.

Okay I have a question for you. My son filled in the online form for the foreign birth register. He sent it off online and printed out the form. That's when I noticed he had made a mistake. On both my part and his grandmothers part of the form he listed our birth surnames as required but forgot to enter the surnames I am now and she was known as. i.e. our married surnames.

As you can't get back in to fix this will this screw up his application in anyway? I will have to send in both marriage certificates of course so I am wondering whether they will just overlook the error or reject his application because our surnames on the form don't match the form he submitted.

Thanks, Brad, for providing a clear and concise explanation of what documentation is required to claim Irish citizenship. Thanks to your encouragement I am now the possessor of a beautiful Irish passport.

Hi Brad, Fortunately I managed to get on the FBR before my children were born in 1999. I applied for FBR for both of them and sent in the documentation about two months ago. I've read through all of this thread and see that things can happen fairly quickly and fairly slowly, too. I was wondering if there will be a change in wait time post-Brexit. Were they flooded with applications? Do you have any idea how long we might have to wait for all of this? I emailed once but did not hear back. I had tracking on my doc so I did see they had received them. My son would like to go to university in Amsterdam next year... Thank you!

Hi - you don't say where you sent your application, but the Irish Embassy in London now says [November 2016] it can take up to 6 months from the date they receive your completed application, supporting documents & payment. They also now take online payment, which saves the hassle of getting a postal order (too late for me - I sent mine off at the beginning of Sept 2016...hoping to hear back from them before March 2017!)

Foreign Births Registration - Guidelines for Applicants Resident in Great Britain

Please note we have now moved to online payments for applications for Foreign Birth Registration*. Please have your debit/credit card details and all the required supporting documents ready before you begin your application. Further information can be found under the Supporting Documents section below.

Applications for Foreign Birth Registration can take up to six months to process from the date of receipt of a complete application with all the required supporting documentation.

*At present, applications to the following Missions are excluded from the new online payment system. You should contact that office directly or visit their website for information about payment methods. List of Embassy contacts.
•Embassy Abuja
•Embassy Addis Ababa
•Embassy Dar Es Salaam
•Embassy Freetown
•Embassy Nairobi
•Embassy Maputo
•Embassy Malawi
•Honorary Consulate Auckland

I applied to go on the FBR in April 2016 and am still waiting for approval.

Since then my son was born in September.

Can my son apply for the FBR on the basis my application was submitted before he was born?



But I fear it might not go well. You would have to ask the Irish consulate.

Hi Sean,
As you are not officially a citizen until your application is approved, you will not be able to apply on your son's behalf until you receive your FBR. This is just like us having to wait to apply for a passport until we have our FBR certificate; we are not yet citizens until that piece of paper is official.
Good luck with your application!

I've found that my grandfather's birth registration incorrectly has his last name as Burns and not Byrne. It seems as if this was a common occurrence as three of his nine siblings are also referenced as such. How much of an issue do you think will this be and is there any way to amend his information? He was born in the 1890's and came to the United States in the 20's. All of his U.S. paperwork refers to him as Byrne, which is correct.

I would use my grandmother's information but she seemed to enjoy changing her first name and I haven't been able to locate any legal documentation regarding these changes. My mother claims that because my grandmother did not work or own property in the U.S. (everything was in my grandfather's name) she saw no problem in randomly calling herself by a new first name.

This stopped in the 30's when she married and finally settled on one but had gone through two or three other first names before that.

Thanks in advance for your reply!

Hi James, did you ever get any where with your process? My grandmothers name is incorrect on her marriage cert by one letter, her birth and death are correctly spelled, and I am wondering if it will be a problem later if I apply with the incorrect doc along with all the correct ones.

Nine months and counting.... still waiting. :/

I found the info on this page very helpful so wanted to give some feedback as to my timeline. I sent in my application on December 1, 2016 for FBR. I sent it directly from New York to the Consular Division in Dublin via international overnight mail.

This morning (March 10, 2017) the consular division contacted me by email asking for one additional piece of information. They say that when I send that to them, they will process.

So for me, it was 3 1/2 months from the time I sent off the paperwork until it was reviewed. I wanted to share so people know what to expect.

Good luck everyone.

I submitted mine from NYC and it was received on 12/28 - no e-mails yet, but if timeline is similar should hear soon - will try and remember to update.

My FBR was sent to me on 4/27 and was approved on 4/4. So that's about right in line with the OP.

Hi Brad,

Thanks for maintaining this blog. I applied for entry in the registry of foreign births back in January this year. Now, re-reading the documentary requirements, I'm wondering whether my application may be rejected due to inadequate documentation.

My concern is about the requirement for ORIGINAL documents. I submitted my original long form birth certificate (I was born in 1952). But the rest of the docs were all new certified copies from the original issuing authorities. For instance, I obtained a new copy of my grandfather's Irish birth certificate (1891) from the records office in Dublin, and certified copies of marriage and death certificates for my parents and grandparents from the State of Connecticut in the US.

Will those be acceptable documents? If not, I'm screwed, because the originals are long gone.

In parallel I'm applying for a UK passport through my father (born in England). THEY have already rejected my application because it contains a certified copy of my US birth certificate - the original right now is included with my RFB application in Dublin.

I think the certified copies from the actual government agencies are viewed as originals. I think I used several in my processing.

What you can't mail in is copies you made, or even notarized.

Oddly, you can bring in the originals together with copies you made to a consulate. They will check that your copies are valid copies of the original, and then take the copies and declare them inspected, and give you back the originals.

This is the wrong way to do it, because it would not be too hard to cheat that way, and so it takes time for them to scan each copy and document. Far easier if they just scanned your originals for you and handed them back. But it's the government.

I'm not an expert on this - but like brad I definitely think any government generated copy counts as an original (I mean what if your actual original is could never do anything at all again anywhere - plus no one takes my "original" BC because it doesn't have my first name on it - my parents didn't name me until a week later, there's a stamp and signature on the back with my name, no one ever looks at and thinks it's real).

Ireland doesn't require apostilles for the documents, but my friends who have done Italy say that every document must have an apostille. Possibly the same is with the UK (an apostille is basically an internationally agreed upon way of certifying documents, when you get a certified document from a state, technically that's only good within the US or anywhere they decide to accept it outside the US). Apostilles add both money and time to the process...

Hi Brad, My Grandmother was born in Ireland so I am trying to register on the FBR. I am filling out her information and got to the county of Birth area. Her birth certificate says londonderry (which is in northern ireland but I have confirmed that is still eligible for FBR) however londonderry is not an option to select for her county of birth. Any ideas on what to do?

Yes, Northern Ireland counts. I did it in the era of all paper forms, so you could put in anything. I guess you need to call the consulate if you can.

Hi Brad, any ideas on how to handle a situation where one's father fathers a child but never marries and never ends up on birth certificate? My b-certificate has step father's name on it. Bio father's parents are born in Ireland. I know bio father and know of Irish history. Thanks

I guess the question will be, what proof do you have that he's your bio-father? I don't think they are savvy enough to use DNA evidence. And even so, you will surely need his birth certificate, one of his parents, and their marriage cert. Look this up online, starting with what to do when your parents were not married.

I would say this is really a meaningful stuff about the registering Irish citizenship. I am hopeful this will be useful for those who wanna take Irish Citizenship. My one friend is interested in this and I will share this article with him after my yosemite from los angeles

Hi Brad, My mother was Irish and went to school there. However her father was in the British Army and seconded to Jubbapore in India where my Mother was born in 1915. Her birth was entered in the “Army Register Book” kept in Oifig An Ard-Chlaratheora Dublin. Who can I contact to find out if she would be considered Irish born. Desperate for information. Please help if you can

Was her father, your grandfather (or any other grandparent of yours) born on the island? If so, you are in the same way I am. Technically your mother did not need to be registered (under modern rules) to be Irish and get an Irish passport, if her father was born on the island.

If your grandfather was not born on the Island the rules are more complex and you will need to check with them. But if she was put in the foreign birth registry before you were born, you're Irish.

Hi there, Anybody have a problem with finding a spelling error and how did it work out for you? Grandmothers Birth and death Certs have her maiden name spelled correctly, her marriage cert spelled her surname with and "e" instead of an "i", I want to prepare my application and submit it but am worried that it will be returned. I almost think that since it is correct on both the birth and death cert it would be ok. I have tried calling the consulate office all day no answer, and I called the vital statistics where the marriage cert is from and they say it will take a court order to change it.

They are used to this. More to the point, there is nothing you can do to fix it at this point, so might as well send it in, unless you have other documentation on the wedding. Your birth cert has both names on it, presumably.

My maternal grandfather was born in Northern Ireland and emigrated to the US through Canada. I am collecting my documents for FBR and the only one I am not certain I will be able to get is my grandparents’ marriage certificate. My GF’s name was Robert Stanley Tate, and my father is Robert Stanley Tate, Jr - do you think they will accept my application with this one missing document if I have everything else and my father’s and GF’s names are the same? I haven’t seen my dad’s birth certificate, but if it is like mine it would list his father and his place of birth. I have called the consulate in San Francisco and left a message... we will see if they call back.

Correction: Paternal grandfather

I think you will need that to learn that from them. But you might be able to pull out that certificate if you can find out when and where they married. But the name is not super uncommon -- I have a stepbrother named Robert Tate (not Irish) myself!

But I think you can see why they will not allow this. Sure, your father is Robert Stanley Tate Jr. and you can show that. That his father's name was RST is not actually of any relevance, whatever his father's name was, it's on his birth certificate. But unless the name is very rare, you might find some Irishman with that name, born around the right time, and get that man's birth cert and say this is his father. If it has your grandfather's birthday, that would be a clue, but may certs don't have that, or at most have an age. It's not enough to make some certainty. Other things you might try with them might be census records showing your grandfather, grandmother and father living at the same address etc.

I spoke with someone at the consulate, and they said that if we can’t get a copy of the marriage certificate, then we could try getting a signed and stamped letter from the clerk’s office saying that we searched for the cert but couldn’t find it. I just received my GF’s death certificate and it has his birthdate, birthplace, and both his parents names, which match his birth certificate. I am going to give it a shot with what I have and will let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!!!

Well, if they can do it, that's great. They need to handle people with unmarried parents in any event. The key thing is showing that the man you are stating as your GF is really the father of your father. That he just has the same name as the name on your parent's certificate is pretty weak evidence. A very large number of people can find an Irish person with the same name as one of their grandparents. But you need to prove the two people with the same name are the same person.

I ended up sending my application to Dublin in November 2018. I included two letters from the county my grandparents lived in when they got married stating that they could not find their marriage record. I also included a letter explaining that we believe they were married before a probate judge which would prohibit any person from being able to obtain their marriage record aside from themselves. I waited the 5-6 months most people said that it took for their applications to be approved, then called to check on the status and was told early 2020 is their estimate for my application because of an extreme backlog due to brexit. I found out that you are able to expedite your application due to pregnancy, so I took advantage of that. I just received my certificate this week, which I am very happy about. However, they listed my maiden name rather than my legal married name. I provided all of the documentation they required to list my married name (marriage certificate and notarized copy of my photo ID), but they got it wrong somehow anyway and I will have to request a correction.

Apparently the FBR certificate issued in your birth certificate name, which makes sense as it is a registration of your birth.

Hi Brad,

According to the most current list of documents required i have 9 of the 10 that are required. Unfortunately the one I can't get is a certified ID of your living Irish parent. We're estranged so it's just not going to happen.

If anyone has had this problem and gotten a successful work-around I'd love to hear it.

Hey Chris-- I too have the same predicament. My Irish-born grandmother is alive but we are estranged as she gave my dad up for adoption in the US. I have all other necessary docs incl her birth and marriage-- plus more-- but not the photocopy of her ID.

Were you able to naviagte around this at all for your application?

Hi, I was wondering if you could help me. My grandfather was born in Northern Ireland in 1932. The website online says I can still apply for Irish citizenship, however I am unsure because he was born after the separation of north and south.
Thank you

I believe they treat anybody born on the island, north or south, as Irish, but it may be that you have to choose, so if he selected to be a UK citizen I don't know if you can do it or not.

On the list of my documents Your documents: They want this. I've been divorced now for almost 30 years! do they still need it
Original civil Marriage Certificate (plus photocopy) -

Hey everyone,
A few questions/concerns I have that I was hoping some of you may be able to help provide some clarity on:

Originals vs. State Issued Certified Copies: Everything that I have gotten back for my grandmother, mother, and myself, (including from the office of the Registrar General in Roscommon) appear to be photocopies of the original long form documents printed onto a new certificate with a state/county seal, all with a signature stating that document is a "true and exact copy of the original document of file" from their respective offices. A few people have commented that these documents are essentially treated as originals, but I haven't seen anything on the DFA website saying that they're acceptable. Has anyone had an application rejected for sending these in instead of the true originals? Should I try and see if these offices will send the me the actual certificates instead?

Photocopies: The photocopy of my long form birth certificate (another "true and exact copy of the original document of file") contains a "VOID" pantograph. I know this is a fairly standard practice to prevent fraud, but has anyone had any issues or kickbacks due to their photocopies containing a VOID pantograph? I'm assuming it won't be a problem since I'm also sending the official documents?

Thanks a million!

A few years ago, after the 2009 rule change, I jumped through the "yes, I'm really Canadian" hoops (born outside Canada to a Canadian-born mother), and all of my supporting documentation was in the form of officially-issued copies of the originals. None of my supporting documentation was the actual time-worn original document, not even my own birth certificate. The application sailed through without impediment or delay, and my citizenship cert arrived quite quickly. The subsequent passport application was also quite rapid, too.

A few weeks back I kicked off the hoop-jumping "yes, I'm really Irish" process (born outside Ireland with a Belfast-born grandmother). As above, I obtained officially-issued copies of all the original documents (birth certs, marriage certs, death cert), and am blithely assuming that they will be considered acceptable based on prior experience with a completely different state entity ('cause that's totally rational, right?). If the officially-issued copies are declined, then I'm kinda stuffed; I've no idea whether my grandmother's 104-year-old birth certificate even exists any more, never mind in whose possession it might be.

As for how long it might take, well, it's anyone's guess. I imagine the DFA to be quite busy with post-Brexit applications, so I'm not expecting to hear anything until Spring next year. Who knows? I might get lucky and get a response sooner.

The FBR certificate arrived this morning. When I submitted my application last year the DFA website advised that it may take up to six months to process. In the interim, the website was updated to extend the estimated processing time to twelve months. And that was borne out by my experience.

In March I received an e-mail acknowledging receipt of the application and giving me an application number, five months after submission (the application hadn't been lost; the courier tracking confirmed delivery at the Embassy the day after posting).

Three weeks ago I received an e-mail confirming approval of my application and requesting confirmation of my address and requesting proof of my new address if I had moved home during the application process.

They didn't contact me with any additional queries or challenges to my documentation; I suspect I might have sent more than was required, but better that than not enough.

So, in short, it does take a long time, and don't be at all surprised if you don't hear anything for months.

I've gotten all my documents together and filled out the online registry form a few days ago. I printed it out, got the passport pics, made a copy of my current passport and brought them all to my bank to be notarized and witnessed. I was told that they can only notarize the form but can no longer verify the pictures or the passport copy. Who can do this that would be acceptable? Would a UPS store with a notary be able to?

Hope you can help!

Hello, wish I'd read this earlier...
Tried contacting embassy twice, got 2 different answers over phone from Dublin enquiry office.
I'm sure that there are lots of cases of kids who are estranged from parents for safety reasons, without necessarily having a COURT ORDER as I was first advised on the phone. My maternal grandmother was born in Ireland. I don't trust my mother as she could give my father our address which we absolutely want to avoid. Plus tried going through a nephew to ask her for his 'passport demand' and she guessed it was for me so flatly refused to help.
Stuck. Tried contacting police but with the data protection act I'm forbidden to use their mails with 3rd parties. Was hoping to proove that I'd already contacted them.
Anyone else been through process of FBR process without their parent's ID ?
The second man I spoke with told me to 'give it a go' with an explanatory letter but as the embassy isn't replying to this question I'm worried that I'll be refused.

Even if I pleaded with my mother to help me she would refuse out of spite.
Thanks for any advice.

Well, if you give it a go, the worst is they say no and you're out some time and money. The embassy though is in a bind. Anybody could claim this. You're getting your FBR not because of your grandmother, but because of your mother. Your grandmother's "born on the island" status confers Irish citizenship (not born on island) to your mother. Your mother's Irish citizenship is what gives it to you. So they need to have documents on her, I doubt much you will get far without any.

But you could deal with your mother and use a PO box of the address of a friend. But if she won't help, you may be SOL while she's alive.

Hey there-- did you move forward with the application without her ID. I am in a similar position. My Irish-born grandmother is alive but we are estranged (for a good reason she gave my dad up for adoption in the US and we just found her a few years ago) and it would be hard to get a copy of her ID because of these circumstances. I have everything else so would love to hear if they made any exceptions for you. Thanks!

I would love to hear back on this as well although my situation is a little different. I have my Irish passport through my mother's Irish citizenship as she was born there but since we have become estranged. I want to get my son his passport but from what I'm seeing I still have to submit all the documents pertaining to my mother as well as my own. I'm not sure why I would have to do that if I've already obtained citizenship before my son's birth so he's getting it based on me not my mother. Any insight or updates to this would be appreciated. I plan on calling the consulate to see if I can get more info.

Unfortunately, my husband's online FBR application has two mistakes on it in regards to his father. Father's name on certified birth certificate did not include his middle name, middle name was placed on the FBR application. Also, somehow, we marked father box as "female" instead of male. I do not see any way to go back in and update this application with corrected info as it has already been submitted. Help! What can we do? Do we need to submit a whole new application with correct info? I hope not as this is expensive and may look suspicious if we do so. Please help!

While I have no expertise on what mistakes they tolerate, these sound acceptable. It is quite common for people to be known by other names than are on their documents. I would be surprised if they don't tolerate the female mistake. However, they don't give a lot of feedback, unfortunately.

Erin, How did it turn out? Were the errors tolerated or later corrected? Or did you have to submit a whole new application and pay again? We have a similar issue. Put my surname instead of my mother's surname in one of the boxes.

Hi - My paternal grandparents were born and raised in Kerry and later married in the Bronx. I know I need to obtain their marriage certificate but do I need to submit my parent's or even mine? I didn't think those would be needed to verify my relationship to my grandparents.

Also, I discovered that the birthday for my grandmother on the official written record was July 4, 1902. We all thought it was July 23, 1902. Will this discrepancy be an issue?


You absolutely need your parents. I don't think you need your own but I did not look into that. There are lots of people with the same name out there.

I have a question. Does anyone know, what happens if you change your address in the meantime? How can you inform them in order to send you updates to a new address?

They emailed me the day they were reviewing my application to make sure that my mailing address hadn’t changed. I’m not sure whether they do this for everyone, but I certainly appreciated them checking. You can call if your address changes and I’m sure they can figure it out.

I have all my documents for submission for the FBR but My Maternal Grandfather, (Who was born in Ireland) has a different Birthdate listed on his birth certificate from his death certificate? Is this going to be an issue? The location (Country) on the death certificate matches and the year and month of birth match but the day is off. June 18, 1888 on the birth certificate but June 25, 1888 on the death certificate. When researching to get the birth certificate it looks like the registration can happen some months later and that the date registered could be off pending who reported and took down the date. I just want to get my documents as right as possible to help with a quick review. Thanks for your information.


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