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Would I Be Able to Apply For an Irish Passport?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 8 Dec 2020 | 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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Both my parents were born in Ireland they are both now deceased how can I apply for an Irish passport as I don't have a copy of their death certificates
Winnie - 8-Dec-20 @ 9:15 AM
I was born in uk to two Irish parents and adopted by an English couple. I would like to apply for an Irish passport. What do I need to do?
Smg - 24-Jul-20 @ 4:47 PM
I was born in 1946 to a British father and a mother who was born in Belfast in 1923. I do not know whether or not she was registered as an Irish citizen. Do I qualify for an Irish passport?
TimD - 18-Jul-20 @ 7:42 PM
@None - you cannot be eligible for an Irish passport based on residency in Northern Ireland. Only British citizens born in Northern Ireland qualify for Irish passports
TJ. - 23-Jun-20 @ 11:54 PM
I have been a resident in Northern Ireland for 35years but born in Scotland can I apply for an Irish passport .was married to an Irishman for 29 years and have 5 who were here
None - 23-Jun-20 @ 11:01 AM
My husband has an Irish passport as his mother was Irish, and both my sons now have Irish passports.Can I get one too? None of us live in Ireland.
fred - 12-Jun-20 @ 4:56 PM
Hello, I was born to Irish parents in uk with only mother mentioned on birth certificate. I was adopted by uk couple in London shortly after birth. Am I eligible for Irish citizenship? Many thanks
CFLT - 23-Feb-20 @ 10:25 PM
Both my biological parents are citizens of Ireland and were born there. I was born in England and adopted by an English couple. The name of my Irish, biological mother is recorded on my birth certificate. Can I also apply for Irish citizenship?
Bez - 17-Jan-20 @ 8:18 PM
My mother was born in Country Armargh in 1920. Her father was Irish her mother was Scottish, they moved to Scotland when she was about 6 years old. Would I qualify to have an Irish passport?
Ginajo - 28-Dec-19 @ 12:51 AM
Hi i moved to the republic when i was about 20 about 1980 from Scotlandgot married to a girl with british passport in Portloise after being in Ireland , we have a son born in Dundalk in 1990 and we moved to Northern ireland 25 years ago so all in all i have lived in North and south and worked paid taxes and been self employed in both North and south for about 38 years ,would myself and my wife have a chance of getting Irish passports or naturalisation? My son has an Irish passport , my wife and i have UK passports buthave no intention of leaving here . Hope that makes sense i can't find any answers anywhere .
skippy - 13-Dec-19 @ 3:47 PM
My dad parents both Irish and born in Ireland, I have tried to register a foreign birth but it won’t let me proceed as it requires my dad foreign birth registration certificate. It also says if you have a parent born in Ireland then you don’t need a foreign birth registration (like my dad) it contradicts itself... anyone seen this before
Jayno7 - 20-Nov-19 @ 9:56 PM
I was born in uk to two Irish parents and adopted by an English couple. I would like to apply for an Irish passport. What do I need to do?
White horse - 18-Nov-19 @ 8:53 PM
I am an Irish citizen living in Northern Ireland. My Wife of 24 years has lived in Northern Ireland since our marriage. Is she entitled to an Irish passport?
Jim - 11-Oct-19 @ 12:36 PM
I'm being living in North of Ireland 37 year and married to a girl from the North of Ireland for 35 year and have 2 children born here all have Irish passport. Am I Entitled to apply for a Irish passport.
Scotty - 10-Oct-19 @ 8:41 PM
BUD - 29-Aug-19 @ 12:48 PM
Hi I am married to a girl born in Northern Ireland , we have been living together for 15 years in Northern Ireland, we have 2 children . Are we all entitled to apply for Irish passports? Many thanks
Sparx - 17-Aug-19 @ 9:49 PM
Hi, I was born in Northern Ireland in 1973 - my parents are both from Northern Ireland and I now live in Scotland. Can I apply for an Irish passport? Thanks Jaykay
Jaykay - 13-Aug-19 @ 11:08 AM
Hi. I was adopted in England by my Irish father. We have remained in England.I thought that I have the same rights as my siblings (all born of my Irish father) but when filling out an Irish passport application the options in section 3 are confusing. Do I declare myself as born abroad to an Irish parent or born abroad and adopted, in which case the adoption must be under Irish law?
Jules - 22-Jul-19 @ 12:39 PM
I was born in England. No live in NI, Co Down for five years. My Grandparents were born in Tipperary, but passed away many years ago, I only have some photo copies of a marriage cert and a death cert. Can I apply for an Irish Passport as I now live in NI? As I'm led to believe, that any other way is complexed and possibly long winded. Regards
Tel - 16-Jul-19 @ 11:02 PM
@Catweazle - If you were legally adopted in Ireland, then you are an Irish citizen and can apply for an Irish passport. If you were adopted in the UK, you are an Irish citizen but before you can apply for an Irish passport your adoption needs to be confirmed by the Adoption Authority of Ireland
TJ. - 14-May-19 @ 11:57 AM
@Bones - You are not eligible for UK citizenship since neither you or your parent was born or has lived in the UK. You are eligible for Irish citizenship but before you can apply for an Irish passport you will need to apply to be included in the Irish foreign births register. Any children you have will not be entitled to Irish citizenship if they are born before you apply to be on the foreign births register.
TJ. - 14-May-19 @ 11:50 AM
I was born in Scotland and adopted at 6 months. My adoptive Father was born in Co Down and I was raised by him and my Scottish mother as their only child. I found out by accident many years after their deaths about my adoption. Given that he was essentially my Dad and Irish does that a)make me an Irish citizen? and b)Can I apply for an Irish passport?
Catweazle - 13-May-19 @ 5:14 PM
Grandparents were born and married in Northern Ireland - Parents born and married in New Zealand - Son born in New Zealand and resides in Australia - and has both New Zealand and Australian passports - can he apply for either an Irish Passport or a UK passport..?
Bones - 13-May-19 @ 2:26 AM
@Jerry - You have no claim to Irish citizenship.
TJ. - 1-Apr-19 @ 4:56 PM
Hi, I was born in the UK to British parents my mother moved to Ireland when I was 3.5 and remarried an Irishman. I grew up in Ireland completed my leaving and then moved back and forth over the years until spending the last 14 years in the UK. Is there a pathway to claim dual Irish and British citizenship?
Jerry - 1-Apr-19 @ 10:11 AM
@KS1805 - Your father is an Irish citizen by birth and you are an Irish citizen by descent hence you are entitled to an Irish passport.
TJ. - 1-Apr-19 @ 8:53 AM
Hi Guy's Great advice on this site :) I was born to two Irish parents in 1974 and then adopted to an English couple in 1975. I have been brought up British , live in England and hold an British passport. Am i able to apply for an Irish passport ? if so , would it be ordinary application or something else ? I have the details of my Irish parents names , DOB cet Regards Jason
jase - 31-Mar-19 @ 9:10 PM
Although born to English parents, my dad was born in Derry. The family lived there for a short time before returning to Manchester. Would I be entitled to Irish citizenship?
KS1805 - 27-Mar-19 @ 9:54 AM
@Jjay - You should have applied for permanent residency and Irish citizenship while you were still living in the Republic of Ireland. Since you have been outside Ireland for more than two years it is likely that you have lost this opportunity. Residency in Northern Ireland does not count as this is part of the United Kingdom.
TJ. - 26-Mar-19 @ 2:28 PM
Hi there, I'm a British citizen, but worked in the Republic of Ireland from 2008-2014 on a continuous basis, living there. I then moved to Northern Ireland to work and have done so, from 2014-present day. Does that entitle me to apply for an Irish passport? I'm not sure if my time in Northern Ireland counts towards my time considered resident in Ireland. Thank you
Jjay - 26-Mar-19 @ 12:38 PM
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