Irish citizenship law follows a rule of jus sanguinis, or right of blood, to acquire citizenship, though it is not unlimited or exhaustive. If you have a parent, grandparent, or, in some cases, great grandparent who was an Irish citizen, you may qualify for Irish citizenship by descent. 

The process is very thorough and requires collecting the necessary documents, and supporting documents, registering them online with the Foreign Births Register, and submitting a paper application to the relevant office.

How do you know if you qualify for Irish citizenship from grandparents? And what do you need to submit? We cover a summary of details you need to know below.

How to know if you qualify for Irish Citizenship through Grandparent or Parents?

The best place to start to know if you qualify for Irish citizenship through grandparents is by examining your family’s history. Determine all potential eligible family members (only up to great grandparents) and find out if they were born in Ireland or otherwise had Irish citizenship at the time you were born. You can apply equally easily through maternal and paternal lines.

It is important to know that you will need to be able to collect documentation to prove your claim for Irish citizenship through grandparent when it comes time for your application to be complete.

Applying for Irish Citizenship through Parents

As long as one or both of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you qualify for Irish dual citizenship yourself.

What if you were born in Ireland? This can be more complicated. If you were born in Ireland before January 1, 2005, you are an Irish citizen by birth, regardless of the citizenship status of your parents.

If, however, you were born in Ireland after January 1, 2005, your claim to citizenship does depend on the citizenship of your parents. If at least one parent was an Irish or UK citizen at the time of your birth, then you are an Irish citizen. If neither parent was an Irish or UK citizen though, at least one must have been legally living in Ireland or Northern Ireland during the three years before your birth.

Applying for Irish Citizenship through Grandparents

Can I get an Irish passport through my grandparents? Yes, if at least one of your grandparents was born in Ireland you may qualify for Irish citizenship from grandparents. You will need to compile all of the documents in full and submit a complete application to the Ireland Foreign Births Register.

Applying for Irish Citizenship through Great Grandparent

If instead you had at least one great grandparent born in Ireland, you might qualify for Irish citizenship, but not in all cases. Your parent on the Irish side must have registered his/her own Irish citizenship before your birth. If this is the case, all you will then need to do is send an application to the Foreign Births Register. 

There is also a possibility for you to apply for Irish citizenship through a great grandparent through an application by association. This has proven to be a path for many people with great grandparents born in Ireland to get Irish citizenship. Learn more about an Irish citizenship application through a great grandparent (by association) here.

Documents You Will Need to Obtain Irish Citizenship by Descent

In your Irish citizenship application, you will need the following vital records for everyone in your Irish line (including yourself):

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce certificate (if applicable)
  • Death certificate
  • Documentation demonstrating a legal name change (if applicable)
    Certified copy of photo ID (for yourself and any ancestor still living)
    Two proofs of address (for yourself only)

The physical application that you mail in after submitting your online application also needs to be witnessed. The witness cannot be related to the applicant and must be in a specific profession, including the following:

  • Medical doctor
  • Police officer
  • Member of the clergy
  • Notary public
  • Bank manager
  • School principal

Finally, if you live in the U.S./Great Britain/Canada/Australia, it is important to note that Irish consulates in these places do not process Ireland citizenship applications. You will have to mail your physical application to Dublin.

This page was last updated with help by Marco Permunian