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Born Abroad: Citizenship by Descent - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Foreign Births Registration?

A person born outside the island of Ireland, and where the parent through whom Irish citizenship is to be derived was also born outside the island, must be registered on the Foreign Births Register in order for him/her to obtain Irish citizenship.

Once a person is entered onto the Foreign Births Register they are an Irish citizen and therefore entitled to apply for an Irish passport.

Am I eligible for Irish Citizenship?

If you are: 

then you are: 

A 

born in the island of Ireland to an Irish Citizen or to a non-Irish national who satisfied certain conditions at the time of your birth

an Irish citizen or entitled to Irish citizenship.

B 

a child of A, born outside the island of Ireland

an Irish citizen.

C 

a child of B and a grandchild of A, born outside the island of Ireland

entitled to Irish citizenship, but you must first register in the Foreign Births Register.

D 

a child of C and a great-grandchild of A, born outside the island of Ireland

entitled to Irish citizenship, by having your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register, but only if your parent C had registered by the time of your birth

There are a number of ways in which you can qualify for Irish citizenship through a family link.

Answer the questions below to see which situation applies to you and if you are eligible for entry on to the Foreign Births Register.

Was your parent born in Ireland?

If you were born outside the island of Ireland and if either of your parents was an Irish citizen born on the island of Ireland, then you are an Irish citizen and entitled to apply for an Irish Passport under Irish law, irrespective of where you reside. You do not need to apply for entry on to the Foreign Births Register in this case.

Was your grandparent born in Ireland?

If your grandparent was born on the island of Ireland and your parent was born outside Ireland then you are eligible to apply for entry on to the Foreign Births Register. More detailed information on how to apply and what is required can be found here at our Registering a Foreign Birth page.

Was your great-grandparent born in Ireland?

You cannot apply for entry onto the Foreign Births Register based on a great grandparent being born in Ireland unless your parent was on the Foreign Births Register at the time of your birth or entered on the Foreign Births Register between the years 1956 and 1986.

My Grandad was born in Ireland but neither of my parents have Irish Passports. Am I entitled to apply for Irish citizenship?

Yes. An application for Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration can be submitted by any person with a grandparent born on the island of Ireland even if your parents do not hold Irish passports. Further detailed information on the requirements for Foreign Births Registration and a list of the documentation that you would need to submit with your application can be found on our Registering a Foreign Birth page.

I have Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration as my grandmother was born on Co. Cork. Can my children (aged 10, 7 & 5) now also be registered as Irish citizens?

Since 1986 an applicant for entry on the Foreign Births Register is only considered an Irish citizen from the day they are entered onto the register. If you were entered onto the Foreign Births Register after 1986 and your children were born following your entry onto the Foreign Births Register then they too are eligible to apply for entry on the register.

If, however, you were entered on the Foreign Births Register after 1986 and your children were born before you were registered, they would not be eligible to apply as you were not an Irish citizen at the time of their birth.

Anyone registered on the Foreign Births Register between 1956 and 1986 was deemed an Irish citizen from birth. In these cases, the children of these individuals are eligible to apply if born before the entry was made.

I am an Irish citizen by descent, resident in an EU country with a passport from that country. I would like to obtain proof of Irish citizenship. Is there a document which can be obtained?

If you are an Irish citizen based on one of your parents being born on the island of Ireland then you are entitled to apply for an Irish passport, which is proof of your Irish citizenship. You do not need to be entered on to the Foreign Births Register to obtain a passport. Details of how to obtain a passport living abroad are available at https://www.dfa.ie/passports-citizenship/how-to-apply-for-a-passport/

If your parents were born outside of Ireland but one of your grandparents was born on the island of Ireland then you could be eligible to apply for entry onto the Foreign Births Register. Once you are entered on to the register, a Certificate of entry is provided to you which allows you to apply for an Irish Passport which you may use as your proof of Irish citizenship.

I would like to apply for Irish citizenship via my paternal grandparent. My brother would also like to do so, can we do jointly (same papers)?

Yes, you can use the same set of papers and supporting documents for both applications. Just enclose the two separate application forms in the one envelope and send it to us with a letter saying that some of the same documents apply to both applications. This only applies if you are resident in the same country when applying, i.e. we wouldn’t take an applications from one person resident in Spain and the other in Britain?

I wish to apply for Citizenship, based on my paternal grandparents being Irish. I understand that I need to provide birth, marriage and death certificates for one grandparent, but not sure which, if any documents I require relating to my father?

There is a large number of documents that we require in order to cross check and verify your eligibility for enter onto the Foreign Births Register. The main documents are listed below, however a full detailed list can be found at our Registering a Foreign Birth page.

Your details

• Original Long form Civil Birth Certificate
• Original Civil Marriage Certificate (if applicable) - Original Divorce Decree (final) if Divorced
• Certified/Notarised Copy of current passport or identity document (e.g. Driver's Licence). This is a requirement for all applicants.
If over 18 years - Three separate documents showing proof of Residence e.g. phone bill, gas/electricity bill.
If under 18 years – A school report/Doctor’s letter showing proof of residence of applicant and three separate proofs of residence for the parent making the application.

Your parent’s details (through whom you’re claiming citizenship)

• Original Long form Civil Birth Certificate
• Original Civil Marriage Certificate (if applicable). If not married, both of your parents’ Birth Certificates are required
• Certified/Notarised Copy of current Passport or identity document (eg Driver’s Licence)
• Original Civil Death Certificate (if applicable)

Your Irish-born grandparent’s details

• Original Long form Civil Birth Certificate
• Original Civil Marriage Certificate (if applicable). If not married, both of grandparents’ Birth Certificates are required
• Certified/Notarised Copy of current passport or identity document (e.g. Driver's Licence)
• Original Civil Death Certificate (if applicable)

Who can certify my documents?

In order for us to fully verify your documents and entitlement to entry on the Foreign Births Register we do need to see the originals of all birth, death and marriage certificates that are required. A notarised copy of your photo ID can be certified by a notary public or the person that is witnessing your application.

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.

What are the fees for Foreign Births Registration?

The FBR fees are €270 for an adult and €145 for a minor or the local currency equivalent outside the Eurozone. Please contact the Embassy or Consulate where you are lodging your application for more information about fees and methods of payment.