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Would I Be Able to Apply For an Irish Passport?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 10 Aug 2018 | comments*Discuss
Irish Citizenship Passport Ireland


I was born in Northern Ireland in 1949, adopted in 1950 and I hold a British Passport. Can I apply for an Irish passport in my original unadopted name?

(C.T, 25 June 2009)


The ordinary rules for entitlement to Irish citizenship are that anyone born on the island of Ireland before 1 January 2005 is entitled to be an Irish citizen. An individual born outside of Ireland may be an Irish citizen by descent if one of their parents was born in Ireland and was an Irish citizen. British passport holders can generally hold dual nationality and are not required – under UK law – to give up their British nationality when they acquire the nationality of another country. However, some other countries do not permit their citizens to hold two nationalities.

Under the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement – often referred to as the Good Friday Agreement – those born in Northern Ireland have the right to be citizens of both the United Kingdom and Ireland. This right is recognised by the governments of both countries and the right will exist regardless of any future change in the status of Northern Ireland. This right is not, however, solely dependent on an individual having been born in Northern Ireland – or the island of Ireland. To have the right to hold the citizenship of both the United Kingdom and Ireland an individual must – at the time of their birth – have had at least one parent who was Irish, British or who had the right to live permanently in Northern Ireland.

Applications for an Irish passport are made using form APS1 or APS2 depending on whether the applicant is in or outside Ireland at the time of the application. Those who are not resident in Ireland at the time of their application should apply using form APS2. A copy of the form may be obtained from your local Irish Embassy or Consulate. In addition to sending in the completed form, which must be witnessed by an appropriate person, applicants for a first Irish passport must also provide the full version of their original Irish birth certificate, showing their parents’ names. The basic fee for an Irish passport application is €80.

If the application is successful, it should take between 4 and 6 weeks to obtain the passport. An express service is available, at an additional fee, for those applicants in Ireland, Northern Ireland or Great Britain. If applying by the express service, applicants not resident in Ireland should use form APS2E/G. Applicants resident outside Ireland may return their completed application to their local Embassy or Consulate.

An Irish passport issued under this procedure will generally be in the name that appears on the Irish birth certificate. In order to obtain a passport in a different name you would have to provide documentation explaining the change – such as an adoption or marriage certificate. As this website deals primarily with immigration to the United Kingdom, and because you are considering obtaining a passport in your pre-adoption name, it may be wise to obtain specific legal advice before making your application.

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I was adopted in the England in 1963 by English parents, ive since found out my natural father was of Irish decent, which im delighted to know)). with this information on my adoption certificate could I n
Mark - 10-Aug-18 @ 2:37 PM
@Kaii - both you and your daughter are entitled to apply for Irish passports and all you will need is your mother's and her father's birth certificates in addition to your birth certificates. Irish passports cost less than 100 Euros each.
TJ. - 9-Aug-18 @ 2:28 AM
Hello. Can I apply for an Irish passport? My mum, sadly passed, was born in Ireland. I was born in 1961 in England. And how much will it cost please. My daughter born in 1981 in England, has a Northern Irish by birth father, can she apply please also? Thank you
Kaii - 8-Aug-18 @ 2:45 PM
Is it possible to become an Irish Citizen by association if you have never lived in Ireland? My grandparents were Irish, my mother was born in the USA. I was born in the USA but obtained citizenship via descent. Unfortunately, it was after my own child was born. We are hoping to get her naturalized via association and know that the Minister can waive the residency requirement at his descretion. (The rules changed as to when I would be considered Irish - from retro to birth to the date I registered in the Foreign Births - literally a month before my daughter was born.) I would like to retire to Ireland but cannot go if she cannot accompany me, so it would seem that citizenship via association is the only option (if it even is one).
Mom - 1-Aug-18 @ 12:21 AM
@Olja - You are not eligible for Irish citizenship because you have never lived in the Republic of Ireland with your husband
TJ. - 26-Jul-18 @ 7:27 PM
I am a non EU citizen married to an Irish from January 2016. We have been living in the UK and living togeteher from 2010. I have first obtained EEU family member card through durable relationship. This was leter renewed to permanent UK residence as EEU family member. Am I aligable to apply for Irish citizenship? Also, I am currently citizen of two countries where I am from. Would I have to give up one of those if apply for Irish citizenship?
Olja - 26-Jul-18 @ 6:24 AM
@Thomas - Your children are automatic Irish citizens and do not need to be registered on the foreign birth register.
TJ. - 23-Jul-18 @ 12:24 PM
I was born in northern Ireland in 1976 but only lived in the country as a very small child. Otherwise I've been living in England and have a UK passport. Are my children eligible for Irish passports? And if so, do they have to be registered on the foreign births register before they can gain them? Thanks for the help Thomas
Thomas - 22-Jul-18 @ 3:02 PM
Hello. Both my parents were Irish {mum from Ireland, dad from Northern Ireland). They moved to the UK and I was adopted as a baby by English parents. Can I still apply for a Irish citizenship/passport? Thanks for any advice. G
Gmiler - 19-Jul-18 @ 8:44 PM
Ive found my Irish father and 2 half brothers through DNA testing (but father deceased) Can I still apply for an Irish passport even though he is not the name on my birth certificate? I can have a copy of his birth certificate.
LindaC - 16-Jul-18 @ 3:39 PM
@Darryl - You are an Irish citizen if either one of your parents was born on the Island of Ireland before 2005 and this includes NI
TJ. - 6-Jul-18 @ 2:08 PM
@TJ. Hi. Its my mother not father that was born in northern Ireland. Sorry if unclear. Does that make any difference? Father is english
Darryl - 6-Jul-18 @ 12:07 PM
@crazymaze - You or your children do not need to claim Irish citizenship. You all are already automatic Irish citizens as you have parents born on the Island before 2005. You all can apply for Irish passports directly. Documentation required is parent's birth certificate and applicant's birth certificate. No need for parent's marriage certificates.
TJ. - 2-Jul-18 @ 12:27 PM
@Darryl - If your father was born on the Island of Ireland before 2005 then you are an automatic Irish citizen and entitled to an Irish passport. You do not need to apply for Irish citizenship first.
TJ. - 2-Jul-18 @ 12:15 PM
@RBW - If any of your parents were born on the Island of Ireland before 2005 then you are automatically an Irish citizen and you can apply for an Irish passport. Your son however is not an Irish citizen because you were born outside Ireland. He is however entitled to apply for Irish citizenship after he is added to the foreign births register.
TJ. - 2-Jul-18 @ 12:12 PM
My mother was born in Belfast 1943 Can I claim Irish citizenship? If I can what paperwork do I need to ask the Irish Embassy to send me. I know I will need my mother's birth certificate and her marriage line and my birth certificate. Is there anything else I would need? Also I have children their father was born in the Republic of Ireland they are born in the United States. What application do I need to request from the Irish Embassy so that they can claim Irish citizenship? Thank you very much for all and any help it is much appreciated-CM
Crazymaze - 1-Jul-18 @ 5:04 PM
I am english as my dad but my mum was born in NI (1939). My grandma in the republic and grandad in NI. I think im entitled to an irish passport but what is the route please? Do I or my mum need to apply for citizenship first? Thanks
Darryl - 30-Jun-18 @ 9:07 AM
My father was born in Belfast but eventually lived in Scotland. As his son, would I be allowed to apply for an Irish passport as dual citizenship with my UK passport. Also would my son also be able to apply also for an Irish passport as dual citizenship. Thanks
RBW - 30-Jun-18 @ 8:08 AM
I’ve just found out that my mother and father weren’t married butvthstcmy father had earlier married but never divorced an Irish girl. I’m desperate to stay European! Any slim hope?
Colin - 30-Jun-18 @ 7:38 AM
Hi, my Nan was born in Belfast in 1947 and lived there for at least a decade and now resides in England. My Mom was born in England. Am I entitled for Irish citizenship? I can't find solid information because the rules between 1922/1935 and the Good Friday agreement give slightly conflicting answers. Based on the Good Friday agreement, my Nan is entitled to Irish citizenship - but does this mean she is automatically a citizen and I am entitled to be a citizen through FBR? Thanks
JohnTT - 25-Jun-18 @ 6:25 PM
Me and my wife both have been living Northern Ireland since feb 2010. We both are now naturalised British citizens. We have 2 daughters. Younger one was born after 4 years of reckonable stay but the elder daughter was born after 1.5 years of stay in Northern Ireland. The elder Daughter since born will be 7 years living and go No to school in Northern Ireland. Can she get Irish passport as she is born in Northern Ireland and going to school here since 7 years. What form needs to be filled to get her Irish passport.
Amit - 22-Jun-18 @ 9:49 AM
@Carl - If your sister was not born in Ireland and does not have Irish parents or grandparents then she is not entitled to Irish citizenship. The only way for her to obtain Irish citizenship is if either you or your sister formally adopt her.
TJ. - 7-Jun-18 @ 10:59 AM
My older sister and I are Irish citizens and have oived in irekand fir the last 5 years. My little sister has a different father who is not Irish (my father is irish, my mother is american) and has lived in america with just my mother. My mother just passed away and my little sister had no-one but us.I am now in America organizing the funeral and trying to fight for her custody. If i manage to bring her to Ireland is there any way she will be able to get an Irish citizenship or the right to live with us? Any help would mean the world to me. Kind regards, Carl
Carl - 7-Jun-18 @ 3:17 AM
@Flo - You are not entitled to an Irish passport. Northern Ireland is part of the UK and not part of the Republic of Ireland. Only British citizens born in Northern Ireland qualify for Irish passports.
TJ. - 24-May-18 @ 9:48 AM
I was born in london, have no irish parents, lived & married to a northern ireland man for 30 years, can i get an irish passport
Flo - 23-May-18 @ 7:55 AM
I don't have irish parents, Im married to a man from northern ireland and have lived in northern ireland for 30 years, can i apply for and irish passport?
Flo - 23-May-18 @ 7:53 AM
@Steve - Your son is eligible for Irish citizenship if both a parent and grandparent are Irish citizens regardless of where he was born. To your question, it does not matter what passports you or your son travel on, as long as each one's passport is valid when travelling.
TJ. - 9-May-18 @ 1:45 PM
My father was born in Ireland and I qualify for Irish Citizenship and an Irish passport which I am thinking about applying for in light of Brexit. My son, however, was born in the UK and so would not qualify so would retain his UK passport. Would this give me issues if travelling with him or can I retain my UK passport to use when travelling with him but use my Irish one when travelling alone?
Steve - 2-May-18 @ 7:00 PM
@Jemma - you are all Irish citizens entitled to Irish passports.
TJ. - 20-Apr-18 @ 7:44 PM
Kate - Your Question:
HiCan my 18 year old Australian residing son who does not have a driving licence take his test in the UK? He holds a UK passport.Thanks,Kate

Our Response:
He must have lived in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland for at least 185 days in the previous 12 months before the day he takes his test.
AboutImmigration - 20-Apr-18 @ 10:09 AM
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