In this article we will look at how to apply for Irish Citizenship based on residence in Ireland. We will consider cases for Non-EU and EU/UK/EEA/Swiss nationals.
Application based on residence for Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals
Here are the general eligibility conditions for Non-EU nationals:
- Legal and reckonable residence in Ireland for 5 out of the last 9 years
- 1 year continuous residence prior to application
Let's unpack those terms.
To satisfy the Legal Residence condition you will have to show that during the considered period of time you did not reside in Ireland without a valid immigration permission and registration. All documents and statements have to match up and leave no gaps in your immigration history. If there are any gaps, you will need to present a convincing argument explaining these inconsistencies.
Not all types of immigration permissions are reckonable, meaning that not all of them count when calculating the total required period of time to make you eligible to apply for citizenship.
Time spent on full-time study permission (Stamp 2) unfortunately does not count. Permission to work (Stamp 1), graduate permission (Stamp 1G), permission to stay in Ireland (Stamp 3) and permission to stay without work permit requirement (Stamp 4) are all reckonable permission categories.
There is some controversy with regards to Stamp 1A for Trainee Accountants. According to some sources, this type of permission is reckonable and therefore can be included in the calculation of time spent in Ireland for the purposes of applying for citizenship. Other sources say that Stamp 1A does not count in the same way full-time study permission doesn’t count. Dublin4you reached out to INIS for comment and clarification and we will update this article as soon as we know more.
The Justice Department Citizenship Helpdesk has confirmed that the Stamp 1A is non-reckonable for the purposes of application for citizenship by naturalisation. [Update, 5 September 2019]
5 out of the last 9 years
The period of time under consideration is counted backwards from the date of submission of the naturalisation application form. Note that the submission date must be before the date of expiry of your current permission stamp.
You are required to use the online calculator available from the INIS website and submit the result along with your application. The calculator will enable you to assess how many reckonable days you accumulated. You are aiming for a total of 1825 (or 1826 days in the case of a leap year). In order to satisfy the 1 year continuous residence prior to application condition, you have to show 365/366 reckonable days immediately preceding the application date.
1 year continuous residence prior to application
The word 'continuous' became a focal point of a recent High Court decision. According to a ruling by Mr. Justice Max Barrett even a brief visit to another country, for instance a trip to Northern Ireland, creates an interruption in your stay. This surprising verdict created a lot of controversy among legal experts but more importantly stirred unrest among applicants. We are certain that Irish lawmakers will eventually address this situation allowing for some level of flexibility regarding the 'continuous residence' condition. But until then, try to keep your stay uninterrupted before the application.
Application based on residence for UK/EU/EEA/Swiss nationals
UK/EU/EEA/Swiss nationals are also required to prove 5 year residency in Ireland out the last 9 years and 1 year continuous residency prior to application. However, they are not required to use the reckonable residence calculator for the simple reason that their passports don’t get immigration stamps when arriving in Ireland and there are no restrictions with regards to their length of stay here.
In order to prove residency, citizens of the European single market states have to provide 3 different documents proving their address for each year covered by the application.
Check out the following discussion regarding accepted Proof of Address documents in Ireland.
How to apply
In order to apply for citizenship you need to fill out Form 8: Application for a person of full age that can be found on the Naturalisation application forms page.
There is a Legal Witness requirement so don’t sign the form until the witness is present.
You also need to provide certified translations of any supporting documents that are not in English.
There is a €175 non-refundable application fee for each application.
If your application is successful, as an adult applicant, you must pay a €950 certification fee.
It takes about 6 months to process a straightforward application. You are required to send your passport with your application (the original, not a photocopy). Your passport will be returned to you after initial processing of your application. This takes about 6 weeks but can take longer during peak times -- summer and Christmas time. If there are any problems discovered during the initial check, you will be notified and you will have 28 days to rectify the problems.
As a part of the verification process INIS may check your passport authenticity and contact Garda as well as other governmental and external agencies to screen you.
Verified applications are then sent to the Minister of Justice and Equality who has the final say in whether your application is approved.
Citizenship Application Decision and Citizenship Ceremony
If you are successful, you will receive a letter from the Minister and an invitation to attend a Citizenship Ceremony where you will officially become an Irish citizen. After the Ceremony, you can apply for and Irish passport.
In the case your application is refused, you will receive a notification from the Minister about the decision and the reasons why it was rejected. There are no appeals from this and no refunds. You can, however, re-apply.
A few closing remarks
Irish law permits having dual citizenship. However, you have to make sure that your country of origin also permits it.
It is important to keep in mind that you can lose your citizenship if it turns out that you concealed any important facts.
You are also entitled to renounce your citizenship if you so wish.
Naturalisation Residency Calculator [external page]
Become an Irish citizen by naturalisation [external page]
Naturalisation application forms [external page]