This is the first part in a series of articles by Grace Dowling on acquiring Irish citizenship. This article asks what does naturalisation mean, and who is eligible to become a naturalised Irish citizen.

Naturalisation is the conferring of citizenship upon someone who otherwise would not be considered a citizen, by reason of their length of residence in Ireland. In other words, naturalisation is the legal process of acquiring citizenship, after living in Ireland for a long time. In Ireland, you may also be granted citizenship if you were born in Ireland or have Irish parents or grandparents. The general rules for naturalisation and citizenship were established in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1956; however, the rules for obtaining citizenship through naturalisation are ever-evolving in response to the rates of immigration to and from Ireland. To find out the most recent information on specific rules and policies, you can book an appointment with us.

So what generally makes someone eligible for applying for naturalisation? You may be eligible for naturalisation if you fit all the below requirements:

  • You have lived in Ireland for a full five years out of the last 8 years. 
  • You have lived continuously in Ireland for a year prior to your application.
  • You’ve given notice of your intention to apply for naturalisation at least one year prior to the date of your application.
  • You fully intend for Ireland to be your permanent home, and you have no plan to live elsewhere.
  • You are of full age and good character, meaning that you have no convictions in Ireland or elsewhere, and you are not involved in criminality or under investigation for any serious crimes.

However, if you do not fit all of the requirements, there are still a number of exceptions wherein your application for citizenship may still be considered. You may also be eligible for citizenship if you fit any of the below conditions:

  • You are of Irish descent or Irish associations.
  • You are a parent or guardian applying for naturalisation on behalf of a minor of Irish descent or Irish associations.
  • You are a naturalised Irish citizen applying for naturalisation on behalf of your minor child.
  • You are married to a person who is an Irish citizen (either by naturalisation or not).
  • You are or have been resident abroad in the public service.

If you fit into any of the following exceptions above, you may still be required to have resided in Ireland before applying for naturalisation; however, the number of years of required residence may vary and will be less than the 5 years required of standard applicants. You can utilize the Department of Justice’s residency calculator with the use of your immigration stamps in order to figure out whether you’ve accumulated the required residence to apply for naturalisation. The calculator can be found here: Naturalisation Residency Calculator – Immigration Service Delivery 

This article is a part of a series of articles published on the Fitzsimons Redmond website about Irish citizenship. The goal of these articles is to walk you through the process of acquiring Irish citizenship. To learn about how to begin the naturalisation process, watch our for next article in our series: “Citizenship: Filling out the Application for Citizenship by Naturalisation.”

The above is provided for information purposes and is not intended as legal advice. We, at Fitzsimons Redmond LLP, would be happy to talk to you about your application for Irish citizenship. Please contact us on 01-676 3257.

By Grace Dowling

Legal Assistant at Fitzsimons Redmond LLP