Published Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 11:37 AM
Updated Thursday, June 27, 2013, 7:29 PM
“I am a native American. My wife and children are Irish citizens – the kids were born here, but got their Irish passports through their mother. I would like to become an Irish citizen, but was unaware that it is no longer possible for a spouse to do so while living in the U.S. Is the information I received correct? If so, are there any loopholes that could be used so I could receive citizenship? We had filled out papers a while back, but never pursued my case completely.”
The laws regarding the transmission of Irish citizenship through marriage changed significantly last November. People such as yourself used to be able to apply for Irish citizenship at an Irish consular post through a post-nuptial declaration that did not require a period of residency in Ireland.
Now, however, such declarations are no longer valid, and all Irish citizenship claims based on marriage must be applied for via the Irish Department of Justice in Ireland. Significantly, all such claims now require a lengthy period of residency in Ireland – three out of the previous five years – in order to be successful.
The information you received is correct. And there are definitely no loopholes that may help. The Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C. and its consular posts throughout the country put the word out about the changes in post-nuptial citizenship at least two years before they took effect, and urged all those who wanted to take advantage of current law at that time to do so as soon as possible.
The embassy’s Web site at www.irelandemb.org was continually updated about these facts, and ads about the upcoming regulations were also taken in the Irish newspapers, including the Irish Voice.
Your only option to pursue citizenship now would be to relocate to Ireland.