LONDON — The surge of UK citizens applying for Irish passports ahead of Brexit shows no sign of slowing down.
The number of British citizens applying for Irish passports rose 22% in 2018, Ireland’s foreign office says, meaning the rate of applications has more than doubled since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016.
Almost 100,000 eligible Britons applied, up from 81,000 last year and 46,000 in 2015.
That’s because acquiring a passport from the Republic of Ireland allows British citizens to retain their EU citizenship, leaving them free to travel and work on the continent after Brexit without visa restrictions.
For those British citizens who are interested in doing the same, Business Insider has taken a look at what you need to do to become an Irish citizen, leaving you free to get hold of your very own Irish passport.
Check you’re not already an Irish citizen.
If you were born on the island of Ireland (that includes Northern Ireland) before 31 December 2004, you are already an Irish citizen, and you’re eligible for a passport.
From 2005 the criteria were tightened.
If you were born on the island of Ireland after 1 January 2005, then you are only an Irish citizen if your parents are Irish citizens, or they lived in Ireland for three years of the four prior to your birth.
Check your parents’ ancestry.
If one of your parents is Irish, you are also eligible to become a citizen (keep reading for how to apply.)
Failing that, check your grandparents’ ancestry.
Your grandparents can come in handy too. If one of them is an Irish citizen who was born on the island of Ireland (that includes Northern Ireland), you are entitled to citizenship – regardless of where your parents were born.
Eligible through birth or ancestry? Sign up to the Foreign Births Register.
If you’re going down the ancestry route, you’ll need to sign up to the Foreign Births Register, more details of which can be found on the Republic of Ireland’s Foreign Affairs website.
That involves providing a number of documents, including your parents’ or grandparents’ longform birth certificates, and a current form of I.D.
Marry an Irish person.
You are also entitled to Irish citizenship if you are married to an Irish citizen. There are a few conditions:
• You must be married to an Irish citizen for at least three years • You must have had a period of one year’s continuous “reckonable residence” in the island of Ireland immediately before the date of your application (that includes Northern Ireland.) • You must also have been living on the island of Ireland for at least two of the four years before that year of continuous residence
Become a naturalised citizen (as long as you are of “good character”).
If you’ve lived in the Republic of Ireland permanently for five of the previous nine years, you can apply to become a “naturalised” citizen. You need to be over 18 and have “good character.” Mostly, this involves not having a criminal record.
Ireland has a “naturalisation residency calculator” which helps you work out whether you’ve spent enough time in the country over the last five years to qualify.
Crack into your savings
The application process for to become an Irish citizen isn’t cheap. It costs £150 ($US190) to apply, and £835 ($US1060) for the full certificate. Given all the benefits of EU citizenship, however, that might seem like a small price to pay.
Last but not least… check out “Special Circumstances.” Check whether you were born in Irish sea or Irish airspace (seriously)
Any person who was born in Irish airspace is automatically entitled to full Irish citizenship, regardless of their parents’ nationality. According to the Irish Citizens’ Information Bureau, “A person born in Irish sea or air space to a foreign national on a foreign ship or in a foreign aircraft” is entitled to citizenship.
Now you wait. The application process to become a citizen can take 18 months to complete.
Apply for that passport
Once you’ve done that, you can apply for a passport, which usually takes six weeks. You can get a passport application form from your nearest Irish embassy or consulate.
The embassy in London is in Grosvenor Square, and a list of others can be found here.
The Irish Foreign Office provides a step-by-step guide to applying for a passport on its website.
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