Citizenship and Naturalisation
Naturalisation is the process by which a foreign national living in Ireland may apply to become an Irish citizen. If you'd like to find out whether you qualify as an Irish citizen without having to naturalise, go to our Citizenship by Birth or by Descent page.
Before you apply for Irish citizenship, we recommend checking to see whether your current county of nationality allows dual nationality. Although Ireland allows for dual nationality, other countries may not allow you to keep their citizenship if you become a citizen of another country afterwards (for example, Chinese law does not allow Chinese citizens to keep their Chinese citizenship if they naturalise as a citizen of another State). It is important for you to know this so that you can make an informed choice.
Applying for Irish citizenship
If you are an adult living in Ireland and want to apply to naturalise as an Irish citizen then you will have to meet certain residency requirement (length of time in Ireland). Time spent in Ireland as an international student or as an asylum seeker (unless you are now a refugee) will not be included when calculating the length of your time in Ireland. The time that you can count towards your residency requirements is known as your reckonable residence in the State. For most adults, you must prove that you have 5 years of residence in Ireland in the past 9 years. If you are married to an Irish citizen, or you are a refugee you can apply after 3 years of residence. You must also show that you were continuously resident in Ireland for the year immediately prior to your application.
Katie came to Ireland as an international student in 2014. In 2015, she was granted an employment permit and she has been resident in the State on a Stamp 1 since. Katie’s reckonable residence begins from 2016 and she will be able to apply for naturalisation in 2020.
Nassar came to Ireland in 2015 and applied for asylum. He was granted refugee status in 2017. Because Nassar has refugee status now, his reckonable residence can be calculated from the date he applied for refugee status. Nassar will be eligible to apply for naturalisation in 2018.
Selena came to Ireland in 2014 and applied for asylum. She was granted temporary permission to remain in Ireland in 2016 and has been renewing her residence since. Selena’s reckonable residence begins in 2016 when she was granted leave to remain and she will need to wait until 2021 to become eligible to apply for naturalisation.
Jacob is a French national. He came to Ireland in 2005 and stayed in Ireland for 2 years. He left Ireland in 2007. He came back to Ireland in 2014. Jacob will not be able to count his residence in Ireland between 2005 and 2007 as it is longer than 9 years ago. He will not be eligible to apply until 2019.
To make an application for naturalisation as an adult, you will need to complete a Form 8. This is available on the Immigration Service Delivery website. The fee to make an application is €175 and this is not refundable if your application is refused or you do not meet the eligibility criteria. You should expect that your application will take at least 6 months to be processed however our experience is that most applications are taking 24+ months.
If your application is successful, you will have to pay an additional fee of €950 (this fee is reduced to €200 if you are the widow/er of an Irish citizen and free if you are a refugee) and you will be invited to attend a Citizenship Ceremony where you will swear an oath of allegiance to Ireland and receive your Certificate of Naturalisation.
Proofs of address
The Department of Justice introduced changes in January 2022 to how applicants prove their residence in Ireland. A new points-based system has been introduced. Each type of acceptable proof of address has been allocated a number of points eg a P60 is worth 70 points, an electricity bill is worth 10 points. The applicant must provide at least one of:
- P60/Employment Details Summary/Notice of Assessments (70 points)
- Department of Social Welfare annual statement (50 points)
- 6 months current account bank statements (50 points)
A further list of acceptable documents and the points allocated to them are available on page 18 of the Form 8 Application for Naturalisation. You can read more about this here.
Citizenship by Naturalisation for Children
If you would like to apply for naturalisation for your child, there are a number of different factors to consider. Firstly, the application must be made by the child’s parent, legal guardian or person acting on the child's behalf 'in loco parentis'. There are three different naturalisation options to consider:
If you are a parent who is a naturalised Irish citizen and you want to apply for your child who is resident in Ireland, you can apply for the child’s naturalisation using a Form 9.
If neither you nor the child’s other parent are naturalised yet, but the child is of Irish descent or has Irish associations you can apply using Form 10.
If neither you nor the child’s other parent are naturalised yet, but your child was born in Ireland and has been legally resident as part of a family unit for 5 years you can apply using Form 11.
The application fee for children is €175 and there is a further fee of €200 if the application is successful. The child will not be required to attend the Citizenship Ceremony and will receive their naturalisation certificate in the post.
If you think you would like to apply for naturalisation in the future, you can start preparing now:
- Find your birth certificate and, if it’s not in English, have a certified translation made.
- Unless you are a refugee, keep your passport up to date. If you are a refugee, you may need to provide a sworn affidavit to explain why you do not have a passport.
- Keep your residence up to date ie renew your Residence Permit/GNIB Card on time. This is particularly important for the year before you plan to apply for naturalisation.
- Keep several proofs of address eg utility bills, leases, letters from the Revenue Commissioners etc for each year you have been living in Ireland.
- If you are fined or charged with an offence, it is important that you keep documentary evidence of this and any receipts which show that you have paid your fines.
- The requirement to reside continuously in Ireland does not mean that you cannot go on holidays. The current Form 8 only asks for information about years where you have been out of the State for 6 weeks or more.
- However, don’t plan any holidays or travel immediately after you make your application – your original passport is submitted with the application and may be kept by ISD for several weeks.
- Have a plan to ensure that you keep your Residence Permit up to date while your application for naturalisation is being processed. The application process can take considerably longer than 6 months and you need to ensure that you remain legally resident in the State during this time.