There are commonly 4 categories in which to qualify for Irish citizenship by ancestry:
- If you or your parent were born on the island of Ireland before 2005, you are an Irish citizen. You can apply for an Irish passport without applying for citizenship.
- If your Irish parent was born outside of Ireland, you will need to register via the Foreign Birth Registration.
- If one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, but neither of your parents was born in Ireland, you may become an Irish citizen. You’ll need to have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register.
- If one of your great-grandparents was born in Ireland, but none of their descendants were, you can apply for fast-track naturalization after 3 years of residence.
In category 1, you are legally an Irish citizen and can simply visit the nearest Irish consulate to apply for an Irish passport.
Under categories 2 and 3, you will need to register in the Foreign Births Register with the correct documents and wait approximately 12 to 18 months.
Under category 4, you will need to first obtain a resident permit and hold one for at least 3 years to be deemed to have a strong enough connection with Ireland. It takes up to 30 months for a decision through this process. To obtain a resident permit, you are recommended to apply to the Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme (a.k.a. Golden Visa) to gain a 5-year resident permit. This will allow the applicant to further his claim of a strong connection with Ireland and enable less physical presence in Ireland. It’s at the discretion of the Minister to determine whether your physical presence is sufficient relative to your status. The Investor Visa only requires 1 day of residence a year to maintain your residence status, but to apply for naturalization you must spend at least a few months a year in Ireland. To qualify for the Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme, you will need to invest at least €500,000 in the country.