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Would I Be Able to Apply For an Irish Passport?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 9 May 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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@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
Hi Can 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
Kate - 19-Apr-18 @ 3:12 PM
Hi , I’m Irish from cork moved to England when 17 & married a English man ! His mother was born in Northern Ireland & I have 3 children ! Is my children & husband entitled to a Irish passport ? Thanks jemma
Jemma - 18-Apr-18 @ 10:18 PM
Hi, My Grandad was born in London but had Irish parents and has Irish citizenship. Is it possible for me to get Irish citizenship due to this or is it too far removed? Thanks
tape - 11-Apr-18 @ 12:43 PM
My father was born in Belfast in 1921, came to the mainland 1937 until his death in 1987. 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. I would greatly appreciate any advice on this.
JTR - 8-Apr-18 @ 10:56 AM
I am 75. My grandfather was born somewhere in Ireland in 1887 and brought up in an Irish orphanage. Am I entitled to apply for an Irish passport
BT - 6-Apr-18 @ 10:27 AM
@maz - NI is part if the UK not Ireland so you will not be eligible for an irish citizenship or passport by living there
TJ. - 30-Mar-18 @ 8:08 AM
I've been living in NImore than 3 years and I'm a refugee.can I apply for Irish passport?
maz - 29-Mar-18 @ 4:48 PM
@nrg - unless at least one of your parents or grandparents was born in Ireland or Northern Ireland you do not have any claim to Irish citizenship and therefore there would be no way for you to get an Irish passport. Northern Ireland is part of the UK so you are simply a British citizen as it says on your passport.
TJ. - 25-Mar-18 @ 7:44 AM
Hi, I am a Northern Irish citizen. I was born in Scotland and was moved over when I was 8 weeks old (I'm now mid 20s). My parents are English but my two brothers were born here and have Irish passports. My family is of Irish ancestry and my father has applied for naturalisation. Is there any way for me to get a passport?
nrg - 24-Mar-18 @ 6:12 PM
@Helen - You do not qualify for Irish citizenship. Only British citizens born in NorthernIreland can qualify for Irish citizenship.
TJ. - 19-Mar-18 @ 10:25 PM
I'm a Russian citizen, living in northern Ireland over 6 years and have an UK permanent residents card. I'm married an EU citizen. Can I apply and get an Irish passport, living in northern Ireland? Thank you!
Helen - 19-Mar-18 @ 11:40 AM
@Ciara - Assuming that your father was born in NI before 2005 then you are definitely an Irish citizen and can apply for an Irish passport.
TJ. - 19-Mar-18 @ 6:05 AM
Could I apply for an Irish passport? I was born in England but my father was born and lived in Northern Ireland? I am unsure whether I could have an Irish passport as my father was born in NI
Ciara - 18-Mar-18 @ 10:35 PM
Hey I am a Southafrican with a south-africa passport and Im also a UK residence for upto 6 Years because Im a British Soldier... I live In northern Ireland.my question,can I apply for Irish citizenship ?
JP - 14-Mar-18 @ 9:10 PM
@Tara - If your husband's grandfather was born in Ireland he is not an Irish citizen but he is able to apply for Irish citizenship by registering his birth with the Irish Foreign births register. He will become an Irish citizen on the date of the registration. Unless one of your parents or grandparents were born in Ireland or Northern Ireland you have no claim to Irish citizenship.
TJ. - 11-Mar-18 @ 12:58 PM
Hi My father wasn’t born in Notthern Ireland. My husband’s grandfather was born in the Irish Republic. We were both born and brought up in England. Can either / both of us apply for an Irish passport? Tara
tara - 11-Mar-18 @ 9:29 AM
Hi, I was born in London. I have lived in Northern Ireland for 24years. My dad was born in Northern Ireland. My Granddad from my mums side was born in Cork Can I get an Irish passport ?? Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you
Sumeg - 20-Feb-18 @ 12:25 PM
@Tina - you will only qualify for Irish citizenship if you live in Ireland with your husband. Time spent in Northern Ireland does not count for Irish citizenship purposes.
TJ. - 12-Feb-18 @ 7:25 AM
Hi ,I'm married to Irish citizen and we living in Northern Ireland,when I can apply for Irish passport ? Thanks
Tina - 11-Feb-18 @ 2:52 PM
@Lively Clive - If you were not born in NI or Ireland and neither of your parents or grandparents were Irish citizens then you are not entitled to Irish citizenship.
TJ. - 6-Feb-18 @ 7:28 PM
@Caro54 - If you were born in NI before 2005 you are an Irish citizen regardless of the status of your parents.
TJ. - 6-Feb-18 @ 7:26 PM
I was born in 1947, my wife 1949, we both hold UK passports and live in the UK. My wife's grandmother was Irish, so presumably my wife can apply for an Irish passport. Can I apply also as her husband?
Lively Clive - 6-Feb-18 @ 5:43 PM
Can I apply for Irish citizenship online? I was born in NI as we’re both of my parents.
Caro54 - 3-Feb-18 @ 5:31 PM
@Lee - Anyone born on the Island of Ireland before 2005 (Including NI) is an Irish citizen by birth. A child born to a parent who is an Irish citizen by birth is also an Irish citizen regardless of where they are born. You are most likely eligible for an Irish passport. Your father's birth certificate will be a crucial document however you can check citizens information website for more info.
TJ. - 31-Dec-17 @ 1:42 AM
Hi my father and grandparents were both born in NI then moved to UK they have all passed away in the last 10 years or so do I qualify to apply for an irish passport and if so what documents would I need to provide ? Any help would be welcome Lee
Lee - 30-Dec-17 @ 10:13 AM
@William - you should check if he had a change of name deed poll of some kind which is legal documentation needed for one to officially change their name. It is unlikely that he would have been able to operate his new name without this document.
TJ. - 27-Dec-17 @ 11:11 AM
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