Irish Citizenship By Marriage or Civil Union


If you are married to and Irish citizen and live in Ireland, you might qualify for Irish citizenship. Since there is a residency requirement, it does fall under naturalization, though the amount of time needed in Ireland is much shorter than for standard naturalization.

What Is Irish Citizenship by Marriage?

If you are from a non-EEA country, you can gain Irish citizenship through marriage. It’s one of the more straightforward ways to become an Irish citizen, but it isn’t automatic. There are still a few steps you need to take to accomplish.

[Note: What is the EEA? This is a group of countries that make up the European Economic Area — including all EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.]

Those steps include:

  • Ensuring you meet the prerequisites for becoming an Irish citizen through marriage
  • Completed the necessary paperwork

It’s important to note here that you cannot get Irish citizenship immediately upon marriage — even if you fill out all the paperwork. Instead, you need to meet a residency requirement and have been married for three years. (We’ll go more into that below.)

Your application for citizenship is also based on several factors, some of which are clearer and others of which are judgment calls. For instance, you will need to state your purpose for residency and ties to Ireland and its citizens. However, your financial status and character will also weigh on the decision.

If you need to be granted Irish citizenship sooner than that and you have strong support from people in Ireland, you can have your time requirements significantly reduced. That requires going to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and providing letters of support and specific petitions from people from the government or clergy. While they won’t waive your requirements entirely, this could be a great way to expedite your wait.

Irish citizenship by marriage

Am I Eligible for Irish Citizenship through Marriage?

To be eligible for Irish citizenship through marriage, you must:

  • Be over 18: Minors under 18 are not eligible to become Irish citizens through marriage.
  • Be married or in a civil partnership: You must already be married to an Irish citizen when you submit your application and provide proof of this.
  • Be married to an Irish citizen for 3 years: This is calculated from the time your application is submitted.
  • Have 3 years of reckonable residence in Ireland: You will need to have gained these 3 years of residence within the past 5 years. (More on this below.)
  • Have 1 continuous year of residence: At least one of those 3 years of residence in the last 5 years should be continuous.
  • Be living with your spouse: Cohabitation is a major piece of evidence that you are in a real marriage or civil partnership.
  • Be planning to continue living in Ireland: Spending lengthy periods of time outside of Ireland (7 years) without telling the Irish government can lead to your citizenship being revoked.
  • Be of “good character”: To become an Irish citizen, you’ll need to pass a criminal background check and conduct yourself with integrity, being fully honest and transparent about the information you provide.
  • Be up-to-date with registration and immigration: Allowing gaps in your status can be grounds to deny your Irish citizenship through marriage.

What is Reckonable Residence?

“Reckonable residence” is legal residency on particular Stamps, including Stamp 1, Stamp 3, Stamp 4, and Stamp 5. Student visas (Stamp 2) do not count, for example. The Immigration Service Delivery has an online residency calculator you can use to assess your particular situation.

The three years of residency must be out of the past five years before the date of your application. This also includes one continuous year in Ireland before you submit your application. You must also be able to demonstrate “good character,” often through a lack of a criminal record.

Finally, you must also intend to remain in Ireland following citizenship recognition.

Meeting requirements is essential, but the Minister for Justice and Equality is the official in Ireland who ultimately decides who becomes a citizen and who does not.

How Long Does it Take to Apply for Irish Citizenship by Marriage?

After you apply, it can take 12 to 18 months to receive a response. If successful, you will then attend a citizenship ceremony to swear fidelity and loyalty to Ireland. Once you have paid for, and received, your naturalization certificate, you can then apply for an Irish passport.

Where to File the Marriage Application

Once you have collected all your documents, your application will be submitted online to the Immigration Service Delivery. Furthermore, you will have to pay a fee of €175 for the application and another fee of €950 for your certificate of naturalization.

Where to File the Marriage Application

Necessary Documents for Irish Marriage Applications

All of the following documents must be in English. If any are in another language, you must first get them professionally translated. All applicants will need the following:

  • A certified color copy of your passport
  • Certified copies of your and your spouse’s birth certificates
  • Marriage certificate

The documents for identification and residency need to meet 150 points each on a “scorecard system.” You can find out how many points each document is worth in this Citizenship Guidance.

What Can I Expect from the Application Process?

In many ways, gaining Irish citizenship by marriage is not so different from naturalization. Both processes require the Form 8 Immigration Form, and this application will have to be approved by the Irish Minister for Justice and Equality.

But there are differences — these depend on where you currently have citizenship. Those living in EU countries just need to go to the Garda National Immigration Burea (GNIB) and present:

  • marriage certificate or proof of civil partnership
  • passport

If you are not from an EU country, things get much more complicated.

You will need to go through the steps and meet the requirements we outlined above. But you will be given an immigration consultant by the government.

Even with this help, you should understand that the process can be daunting. Reach out today for a free phone consultation to discuss your options.

What Documents Will I Need?

Before seeking Irish citizenship through marriage, it’s essential to make sure you have the documentation necessary. Like all naturalization processes, it requires documents that prove your identity and your country of origin. But in this case, you will also need to prove the legal validity of your marriage and the Irish citizenship of your partner.

To gain Irish citizenship by marriage, you will need to have ready:

  • Marriage/civil partnership certificate: This proves that you have been legally married to an Irish citizen for at least 3 years.
  • Passport: This gives your identity and current citizenship.
  • Birth Certificate: Like the passport, this gives your identity as well as your nation of origin.
  • Naturalization certificate or birth certificate for Irish spouse: Your spouse’s Irish citizenship is established with this document.

Can I pass the good character test?

The Minister for Justice and Equality passes judgment on the character of people applying for Irish citizenship, and they use several different tests to determine this.

  • Marriages of convenience: A major part of this is discerning whether or not your union is a marriage of convenience. This is when two people get married as a means for one partner to gain the benefits of citizenship in the other partner’s country, rather than a marriage based on the desire to be wedded together. If your union is suspected to be a marriage of convenience, you will be denied Irish citizenship.

  • Dishonesty: Likewise, if any information you give to the Minister for Justice and Equality turns out to be false, you will be denied citizenship. Honesty is a significant factor in the process, so every detail should be double-checked for accuracy before submission.

  • Poor immigration history: Your immigration history gives insight into how you treat countries you were not born in and shows how committed you are to the places you stay. It might also be used to ascertain whether or not you are a security risk. Poor immigration history is grounds for denial.

  • Criminal background: If you have a history of criminal activity, your application will be denied. This is the most straightforward test for good character that the Minister for Justice and Equality runs on your application.

Are You Looking for Irish Citizenship through Marriage?

If you are married to an Irish citizen, you might have a simpler time becoming a citizen yourself. That will open the doors to all the benefits of the Irish, as well as make working and traveling in Europe hassle-free. But most importantly of all, it will strengthen the bond you have with your partner — allowing you to share your life together without the struggles of managing visas and the headaches of sharing property without being citizens of the same country.

While the Irish government allows Irish citizenship through marriage, it’s necessary to do things the right way. Making mistakes can lead to denial of your application.

But luckily, there’s help! We work with married couples all the time, and we would love to hear from you!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is citizenship by marriage?

Most countries allow citizenship by marriage. If you are married to a citizen of a country other than your own, there is usually a formal process for you to apply for citizenship to your spouses country through a marriage application. Individual countries will typically have their own unique set of requirements and guidelines you must follow to successfully apply. Applications for citizenship through marriage are among the most common types of citizenship applications worldwide.

Yes. If you are both married to an Irish citizen and meet the residency requirements as outlined above, you can apply for Irish citizenship yourself. Upon a successful application, you can then apply for an Irish passport.

Yes, but you must meet both requirements. You must be both married to an Irish citizen, and meet the residency requirements for Irish citizenship through marriage. Once your application for Irish citizenship is approved you can apply and obtain your Irish passport.

You must be married to an Irish citizen for 3 years and have 3 years of reckonable residence in Ireland in order to apply for citizenship through marriage. Once those requirements are met, the marriage application will typically take between 12-24 months to complete.

You must have have 3 years of reckonable residence in Ireland in order to apply for citizenship through marriage. 

Yes, but you must meet Irelands citizenship by marriage requirements. Meaning you must be married for 3 years and and have 3 years of reckonable residence in Ireland before you would be able to apply for citizenship through marriage. 

You should notify the Garda within 7 days.

You cannot appeal the decision of an unsuccessful application, but you can choose to reapply, if you wish. You could also apply to the High Court for a judicial review, but we recommend seeking legal assistance before such a decision.

This page was last updated by Marco Permunian