Can I Have Dual Irish and British Citizenship?

by | Nov 28, 2022 | Travelling

Many UK citizens have been seeking Irish passports in recent years to get freer access to EU member countries, specifically in the wake of Brexit.

If you are wondering whether you could lose your British citizenship when opting for an Irish passport, stick around to find out.

When Applying for Irish Citizenship, Do I Lose My British Citizenship?

You won’t have to forfeit your British citizenship upon acquiring Irish nationality, as both Ireland and the UK allow their citizens to hold multiple nationalities and passports simultaneously.

Naturally, you’d still have to prove that you’re eligible to become an Irish national before obtaining your Irish passport.

Why Should I Apply for Irish Passport as a UK Citizen?

In a nutshell, these are some of the benefits you get when you obtain an Irish passport as a British national:

  • You’re considered a European Union citizen, meaning you’re allowed to live, work, and study in any of the 28 member states without having to jump through tedious legal hoops
  • Your children can obtain both Irish and EU citizenships and may therefore enjoy all the low-cost educational opportunities that EU countries offer
  • You don’t have to endure long non-EU citizen queues in EU airports

The Irish passport currently holds fifth place in the ranking of the most powerful passports globally. With an Irish passport in your possession, you have virtually unrestricted access to over 189 countries worldwide.

In the past, both passports had virtually the same benefits, so there was no incentive for getting both or preferring one over the other. However, the UK’s exit from the European Union left many British citizens with heavy limitations they didn’t have before, such as visa requirements for long-term residency in EU/EEA countries.

How Can I Obtain Irish dual Citizenship as a UK National?

According to existing Irish nationality laws, there are different eligibility rules depending on the date of birth and your background, among other factors.

If You Were Born in Ireland or Northern Ireland Before 1 January 2005

You are considered an Irish citizen by birth. If you were born in Northern Ireland, you could claim Irish citizenship if you wish, though you won’t attain citizen status automatically.

If You Were Born in Ireland or Northern Ireland After 31 December 2004

You can no longer assert Irish nationality just by that very fact.

The Irish Constitution was amended to eliminate automatic entitlement to Irish citizenship for those born on the island. Since 1 January 2005, a candidate’s eligibility would also hinge upon the immigration history and nationality of their parents.

With that said, if you were born in Ireland to someone who was already an Irish or UK citizen, you are automatically an Irish citizen (if your birthplace were Northern Ireland, you could request to be recognised as one.)

Irish Citizenship By Descent

You can claim Irish citizenship by descent if you show that a qualifying family member possessed an Irish passport.

One of the following situations must be true:

  • At least one of your parents was an Irish or British citizen but died before your birth
  • One of your parents had the right to live in Ireland or Northern Ireland with no restrictions
  • Either one of your parents had legal residence in Ireland for at least three years within the four years prior to your birth unless they were on a student visa or awaiting asylum.

If You Were Born Outside Ireland

You could still qualify for Irish citizenhood if you were born outside Ireland and the following apply:

  • One of your parents was born in Ireland and had the right to claim Irish citizenship
  • One of your grandparents was born in Ireland, and you were registered in the Foreign Births Register
  • One of your parents was naturalised Irish or entered into the Foreign Births Register at the moment you were born

In this scenario, you should register your birth at the Foreign Births Register before you can claim Irish citizenship.

The registration fee will depend on the age of the applicant. An adult “registration plus Certificate” costs €270, while applicants under 18 must pay €145. In both cases, an €8 postage and handling fee applies.

Irish Passport Application

If you’re eligible to claim Irish citizenship, you can apply for Irish passport online through the Passport Online service.

For your passport application, you ought to provide the following documents:

  • A valid passport or travel document
  • A digital passport photo
  • Your full birth certificate
  • Proof of identity and residency address
  • Evidence of at least one of your parent’s or grandparent’s Irish citizenship, whenever applicable

Typically, you’d have to wait around 20 working days for your application to get processed, though it could be longer, depending on the current demand. However, if you’re applying from the UK, you could expect to wait up to a year (365 days), so it’s advisable to apply as soon as possible.

The cost of the passport varies according to the number of pages you request. If you wish to receive a 10-year 66-page book, you could pay approximately €105, while the smaller 34-page book costs roughly €75 (not including postage expenses).

Irish Passport Renewal

Adult passports are valid for ten years, and you can renew yours via Passport Online, Passport Express (by post) or personally through the Passport Office’s counter service (ideal for emergencies).

The easiest way to renew your Irish passport is via the Passport Online service. You’d only have to upload a digital photo of yourself (no selfie or zoomed-in photo) which can be taken with a smartphone, digital camera, or by a qualified photo provider.

Irish Passport for Northern Irish Citizens

As mentioned before, Northern Irish citizens are entitled to claim Irish citizenship upon request. They can choose either a British or Irish passport (or both). This privilege was established in the 1997 Good Friday Agreement, which is still valid to this day.

Over 200,000 Northern Irish residents filed their Irish passport application since Britain effectively left the EU on 1 January 2021 in order to secure their free movement across the EU/EEA.

Read through our useful guide for more information

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