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Being an Irish citizen means that you are formally recognised as a national of Ireland and a citizen of the European Union. It gives you certain rights, including the right to carry an Irish passport, live and work in Ireland and the EU, and receive consular help from Irish embassies and consulates abroad.

The Minister for Justice and Equality is responsible for deciding who is entitled to Irish citizenship and all applications and questions about citizenships are dealt with by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of the Department of Justice and Equality.

In this Department, we only process applications for citizenship through Foreign Births Registration.

Foreign Birth Registration

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade processes applications for Foreign Birth Registration (citizenship by descent).

Foreign Birth Registration, by its nature, can be a detailed and complex process often involving official documentation related to three generations and issued by several jurisdictions. Along with an increase in the number of applications received, an increase of incomplete applications has also been seen. Applications requiring clarification or further documents take longer to process. In addition, these incomplete applications delay the processing of the complete applications.

Applications generally take between 6 and 12 months to process from the time all the required documentation has been submitted to the Foreign Births Registration team. In 2018, 88% of applications for Foreign Birth Registration were processed within six months.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has responded to increased demand by creating a new, dedicated Foreign Birth Registration team, by reviewing and streamlining our processes, introducing improvements for efficiency and security. The new processes being introduced will create efficiencies to allow us to manage the increased volume of applications. These improvements will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently established a centralised Customer Service Hub to manage all queries related to foreign birth registration/ citizenship by descent, and passport applications. To improve our service to our customers, and to ensure that we are compliant with GDPR and Data Protection legislation, communication with our customers is now by phone only.

Our Embassy in London and Consulate General in Edinburgh no longer process Foreign Birth Registration, as these have been centralised to the Foreign Birth Registration team in Dublin. Queries regarding applications for Foreign Birth Registration should be directed to our Customer Service Hub, where they will be handled by telephone.