Dual Citizenship: US and IrelandApril 28th, 2012 by Paul O'Brien
Today, more than 30 million United States citizens claim Irish ancestry. If the idea of honoring, by officially claiming that ancestry through Irish citizenship, sounds appealing, read on. Including birth, marriage, residency, and descent, citizenship by descent is what most US citizens of Irish ancestry mean when they consider dual citizenship. Citizenship with the Republic of Ireland starts by registering your birth in the Irish Register of Foreign Births.
To do that, briefly, you establish your lineage to your Irish-born parent or grandparent.
The first step is to request an application and fact sheet from your nearest Irish embassy or consulate; or at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin if you are living in Ireland. Make sure you deal with the embassy for the region in which you live.
Dual Irish – American Citizenship
|Retaining your American citizenship and rights, citizens of Ireland are free to live and work in any member country of the European Union (EU); no residence or work permit necessary. If you decide to work in the EU, you become eligible for unemployment compensation, health insurance and pension rights.More, and perhaps more valuable to most, as a dual citizen, you may purchase property in any country of the EU, travel freely throughout, and enjoy the sights of France, England, Germany, the Netherlands and all of the other member nations.It is worth noting though that I’m addressing dual citizenship with the United States because while Ireland allows dual citizenship with other nations freely, not every nation allows it’s citizens to become dual citizens. Consider this the consideration for United States citizens and apply some of the process here to your country if you’ve determined that you too can apply.||
Irish Citizenship through Descent
If you were born in the Republic of Ireland, to Irish parents, then, like in the United States, you are an Irish citizen by descent.
If you were born outside of Ireland and either one of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, then you are automatically an Irish citizen (supposedly though there are exceptions).
Did you know, a child born to a US citizen outside of the United States is not automatically a US citizen? It’s true! The parents, on behalf of the child, need to file form N-600, “Application for Certificate of citizenship,” with USCIS. Citizenship through descent by Irish parents is comparatively easy as it applies regardless your place of birth, or even if your parents were alive or married at the time of your birth.
Granted, not many of us are in that position; here’s why dual citizenship with Ireland is such a popular topic for United States citizens of Irish ancestry: You are still eligible to claim Irish citizenship if any one of your grandparents was born in Ireland.
Ireland’s Foreign Births Register
Before you can claim Irish citizenship, you must have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register which is maintained by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
All applicants for Foreign Births Registration need to complete either application form FB1A, if they are over 18 years old, or FB1B, for those under 18. The application must be filled out correctly, witnessed, and you’ll need to supply the following supporting documents:
Documents relating to your grandparent(s)
- Grandparent’s full, long form birth certificate (showing all names, ages and places of birth)
- Grandparent’s marriage license or certificate
- Grandparent’s current official photo ID (if living) or death certificate (if deceased)
Documents relating to your parent(s)
- Parent’s full, long form birth certificate (showing all names, ages and places of birth)
- Parent’s marriage license or certificate
- Parent’s current official photo ID (if living) or death certificate (if deceased)
Document’s relating to you, the applicant
- Your full, long form birth certificate (showing all names, ages and places of birth)
- Your marriage license or certificate (if applicable) and any document related to change of name
- Two recent passport type photographs signed and dated by witness (same witness as application)
- Notarized copy of current US passport (if held)
- Notarized copies of three proofs of identity including at least one photo ID
- Copy of bank statement or utility bill with your present address
If the applicant is under 18, the applicant’s parent or legal guardian must provide passport photos, notarized copy of US passport and the three proofs of identity in the same manner as the applicant.
Bring all of those documents, and the registration fee, to the nearest Irish Diplomatic or Consular Mission. Details about current fee and acceptable forms of payment can be obtained from the Foreign Birth Register.
Sent to the Foreign Births Register, you’ll receive a certificate confirming that your birth has been recorded. This certificate can be used as proof of Irish citizenship when applying for an Irish passport. The process can take up to a year and a half so plan ahead and be patient. Applying for an Irish passport requires additional time, depending on the amount of passport applications at the consulate.
Official documents must be original, or official copies from the issuing authority. All supporting documents must be original or notarized copies (spend time considering this as some of your documents should be sent as notarized copies and not the originals: passport, driver’s licenses, and important IDs). Send a copy of all the documents and an ample sized self addressed envelope for the return of the originals.
People are easily troubled by the process and the prospect of obtaining a copy of their grandparent’s Irish documentation. Not only is the entire process prone to change, again, make sure you check with your embassy, consulate, and Ireland’s Foreign Births Registration and don’t consider this concrete direction, but your genealogy can be cumbersome. Head to our forums to get some support for everyone else and possibly connect with a genealogist who can help. Otherwise, contact your state or local historical society for a referral to such support.