Bringing the Diaspora Home to Ireland
April 17, 2023
By: Rachael Bermingham
Ireland recently welcomed President of the United States, Joseph Biden, with “céad míle fáilte” (“One Hundred Thousand Welcomes”). It was the longest visit by any sitting US President and marked the unique shared history that exists between Ireland the United States.
The President toured the sights of his ancestors’ hometown, including Carlingford Castle in County Louth, and met with his Irish cousins. During a historic speech in Leinster House, the President discussed the relationship between the US and Ireland and his own family history. The great, great grandson of a shoemaker from County Louth and the Blewitt’s of County Mayo, President Biden spoke about growing up and being reminded of this family history regularly, showcasing the enduring legacy of the Irish heritage and the call to eventually “go home.”
Ireland is a nation full of complex history, conflict and mass emigration. It is the story so many in the US and around the world will share: millions of Irish people who were forced to leave, in search for a better life in other areas of the world. More than 170 years later, the Irish diaspora spans the globe, including American presidents, athletes, scientists, artists and millions more who can claim Irish heritage.
While President Biden may not be able to claim Irish citizenship himself, thousands of people make applications to claim their Irish citizenship each year. In 2019, more than 19,000 people were able to claim Irish citizenship through the Foreign Birth Registration process. In 2022, the passport office issued more than 1.1 million Irish passports—a record number.
Foreign Birth Registration
The process of claiming Irish citizenship through descent is known as Foreign Birth Registration. This is the global register of all Irish citizens by birth born outside of Ireland.
In order to claim Irish citizenship through descent, an applicant must have either a parent, a grandparent or great-grandparent who was born in Ireland. If your parent was born in Ireland, you are automatically entitled to Irish citizenship and can apply directly for your Irish passport with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
If you are relying on a grandparent or great-grandparent, you must complete the foreign birth registration application form and submit the required documents. The application process involves proving the applicant’s link to Ireland with original birth, death and marriage certificates.
The application process can be lengthy and complex, but as experienced practitioners, we have helped many people to claim their Irish citizenship.
Benefits of Irish Citizenship
As an Irish citizen, you will be fully entitled to hold an Irish passport and to live and work in Ireland. You would also be a citizen of the European Union, giving you full rights to live, work and do business across the EU.
Irish citizens stand apart from other EU citizens as they also have the unique advantage of being entitled to live, work, and do business in the United Kingdom—a right not enjoyed by other EU nationals.
Depending on your situation, you may even be able to pass on these rights to future generations.
For those with a deep family connection to Ireland, becoming an Irish citizen will give them a chance to say, as President Biden did last week, “tá me sa bhaile - I am at home.”
Need to know more?
For further information on Foreign Birth Registration requirements, please contact the Irish Personal Immigration Services team at [email protected] or our Dublin team at [email protected].
This blog was published on 17 April 2023, and due to the circumstances, there are frequent changes. To keep up to date with all the latest updates on global immigration, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 site, subscribe to our alerts and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Explore more at Fragomen
Ana Bessa Santos outlines misconceptions surrounding Swiss immigration laws and provides guidance surrounding the correct nature of the rules.
Ziphozihle Ntlanganiso discusses the expected close of the Portuguese Golden Visa Programme.
Forbes reports on the allegation that Florida’s new law prevents Chinese citizens from purchasing real estate.
Uglobal Immigration Magazine recently published the Top 25 Global Migration Attorneys for 2022 and Fragomen is pleased to announce that Partners David Crawford and Nadine Goldfoot have been named to the list.
Spear's 500 ranks Partner Julia Onslow-Cole as one of the best immigration lawyers for high-net-worth individuals in their 2023 Legal Indices.
Partner Andrew Greenfield explains that employers must return to I-9 Form in-person verification.
Partner Marius Tollenaere testified before the Internal Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag during the hearing on the Skilled Immigration Act on Monday, 22nd of May.
Immigration Consultant Alessandra Rüede provides a recap of Swiss immigration quotas for the first quarter of 2023.
In April of 2023, the Presidents of Namibia and Botswana agreed to a reciprocal use of identity cards to enter the other country. This decision promotes compliant mobility, tourism, and trade in Southern Africa.
Reductions in office footprints across the U.S., as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, have a significant impact on foreign national employees. Part 2 of this series covers the impact of employer office closures on the Green Card process for employees.