Skip to main content

Cookies on the DFA website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site while also complying with Data Protection requirements. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Born Abroad: Citizenship by Descent - Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Foreign Births Registration?
  • General Queries
  • Application Form
  • Documentation Required
  • Other Questions

You are automatically an Irish citizen if one of your parents was an Irish citizen and was born in Ireland. You don’t need to apply to become an Irish citizen in this case.

If you were born outside of Ireland, you can become an Irish citizen if:

  1. One of your grandparents was born on the island of Ireland, or;
  2. One of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, even though they were not born on the island of Ireland

In these cases, you can become an Irish citizen through Foreign Birth Registration.

Once a person is entered onto the Foreign Births Register they are an Irish citizen and entitled to apply for an Irish passport.

Who can apply for Foreign Birth Registration?

People with a grandparent born on the island of Ireland

If your grandparent was born on the island of Ireland, your parent was born outside Ireland, and you were born outside Ireland, you can apply for entry on to the Foreign Births Register.

People with a grandparent born outside Ireland, but with a parent who is an Irish citizen.

If your parent became an Irish citizen through Foreign Birth Registration or Naturalisation prior to your birth and you were born outside Ireland, you can apply for Foreign Birth Registration.

More detailed information on how to apply and what is required can be found on our Registering a Foreign Birth page.

How long does it take to process my application?

At present it takes approximately 6 months to process a completed Foreign Birth Registration application. However, due to the complex nature of the Foreign Birth Registration, it may take up to 12 months to process an application. If you are an expectant parent applying to be entered on the Foreign Birth Register, you should mark this clearly on your application.

Have you received my application and documentation? 

We advise you to send your application by recorded post so that you can track its delivery, as we do not acknowledge receipt of post.

What is the current status of my application?

At present it takes approximately 6 months to process a completed Foreign Birth Registration application. However, due to the complex nature of the Foreign Birth Registration, it may take up to 12 months to process an application. If we require further documentation we will contact you.

Do you return all of my certificates?

Yes. At the end of the process we will return all your original certificates to the address on your application form.

Should I send a prepaid envelope for return of my documentation?

No, all your documentation will be returned by recorded mail – you will have to sign for the package.

Can I bring my application to your office in person?

No, we do not have a public office. Applications must be sent by post to the address given on your printed application form.

Can I apply for an Irish passport at the same time as applying for Foreign Birth Registration?

No, you cannot apply for an Irish passport until you are an Irish citizen.

Can I get any name entered on the FBR cert?

The name included on each FBR certificate will be the same as the one entered on your birth certificate, Irish Adoption certificate or Gender Recognition cert. Name changes by Deed Poll are not recognised.

Where can I get an application form?

The application form is online only - there is no physical application form.

How much does it cost to apply?

The fees are €278.00 Euros for over 18s and €153 Euros for under 18s – these fees include postage for return of your certificates. The fee is paid online when you are completing your application form.

Who can witness my application?

A list of the professions which can witness an application is included on the application form.

Which documents do I need to submit with my application?

A list of the documentation that you would need to submit with your application can be found on our Registering a Foreign Birth page.

My Grandparent was born before 1864, when Irish civil birth registrations began – what other documents can I supply?

We can accept your grandparent’s Baptismal certificate in this instance.

My parent/grandparent was adopted – which additional documents do I need to supply?

For an Irish-born person who was adopted: we will require an adoption certificate, issued by the central authority in the country in which the adoption took place along with the other required documents (including the original longform Irish birth certificate).

If you are applying through an adoptive grandparent or parent, and not through a biological link, you may wish to contact us directly. 

What is a certified document?

A certified document is one that has been signed and dated by a recognised person or organisation as a true copy or translation of the original.

The following may qualify to make a certified copy of your document:

  • Organisation or authority that issued your original document
  • Solicitor/Barrister
  • Notary
  • Commissioner of Oaths
  • Post Office Service

A document will be considered certified/notarised where the following procedure has been adhered to:

  • Ask the person or organisation you have contacted to create a copy or translation of your document.

Then ask them to:

  • Write 'Certified to be a true copy/translation of the original seen by me' on the document.
  • Sign and date the document.
  • Print their name under the signature.
  • Add their occupation, address and telephone number.
  • Attach their stamp/seal, business card, or include their professional register reference number.

My Grandfather was born in Ireland but neither of my parents have Irish Passports. Am I entitled to apply for Irish citizenship?

Yes. An application for Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration can be submitted by any person with a grandparent born on the island of Ireland.

I have Irish citizenship through Foreign Births Registration. Can my children now also be registered as Irish citizens?

If your children were born after your entry onto the Foreign Births Register then they too are eligible to apply for entry on the register.

If your children were born before you were registered, they are not eligible to apply as you were not an Irish citizen at the time of their birth.

I am an Irish citizen who lives abroad. Can I obtain proof of Irish citizenship?

An Irish passport is proof of your Irish citizenship. Details of how to obtain a passport living abroad are available here - https://www.dfa.ie/passports-citizenship/how-to-apply-for-a-passport. If you are a Foreign Birth Registration applicant you will require your Foreign Birth Certificate before you apply for a passport.

Can my sibling and I apply for Foreign Birth Registration jointly?

Yes, you can use the same set of papers and supporting documents for both applications. Just enclose the two separate application forms in one envelope and send it to us with a letter saying that some of the documents apply to both applications. This only applies if you are resident in the same country when applying.

I already am a citizen through FBR. Can I now apply for FBR in my preferred gender?

Yes, this is now facilitated under the Gender Recognition of Foreign Births Regulations 2017. If you have already been registered, you can apply in your preferred gender (on the Register of Gender Recognition of Foreign Births) as long as you have a valid Irish Gender Recognition certificate. Please see the Gender Recognition page for more information.

I have amended my birth certificate – will you accept this?

Yes. You can apply as normal with an amended birth certificate, as long as it is issued by the state authority.

Can I check if someone has registered under a new gender?

Members of the public are not entitled to determine if someone has been entered in the Register of Gender Recognition of Foreign Births – only specific individuals with a familial link to the person entered on the register under the Gender Recognition of Foreign Births Regulations 2017, will be allowed to request an extract of the register.