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Applying for Irish Citizenship

I’ve recently done some investigation of applying for Irish citizenship. I’m excited about the idea of having stronger ties back to where most of my family comes from, getting to know the branch of my family that lives there, and possibly getting to live there for a while.

Anyone whose grandparent was born in Ireland is eligible for citizenship. The Irish Citizens Information Board has a page with an explanation of the rules. The U.S. allows dual citizenship, or as the U.S. State department calls it, dual nationality.

To apply, you have to get official, certified copies of documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. for a parent and grandparent. The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has an overview of the application process on their site.

You need to apply through the consulate for your area. For me on the West Coast, it is the Consulate of Ireland – San Francisco. Their site has another good overview document (“Guide to Applying for Citizenship Through Descent”).

To get birth, marriage, or death certificates from Ireland, you can contact the General Register Office and fill out the appropriate application forms.

I also had to contact New York City because my grandparents lived there after moving to the United States. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene handles applications for birth certificates and death certificates, while the City Clerk handles marriage certificates.

By the way, the marriage certificate page states that “for the certificate to be valid outside the United States” you must take the certificate to the City Clerk and the state government for an additional certification called an Apostille. I’ve checked with the consulate, and this is not necessary for an application for Irish citizenship.