Citizenship Eligibility

"I AM eligible for Irish citizenship because my grandparents were born in Ireland. My mother was not born in Ireland but she has become an Irish citizen and I am planning on doing the same. Are my children eligible for Irish citizenship because their grandmother is an Irish citizen? Will it make any difference once I am granted Irish citizenship?"

ACCORDING to a spokesperson at the Irish Consulate in New York, a person with a great-grandparent born in Ireland - as is the case with your children - could be eligible for Irish citizenship if this person's parent (in this case, yourself), acquired Irish citizenship before the person was born.

However, if said person's parent completes the process after the person was born, citizenship is not entitled to be passed on.

In your question you say that you are eligible for Irish citizenship, which you certainly are as you have the required grandparent birth link. It's a shame that you didn't complete the process of obtaining citizenship before the birth of your children, as they would have been entitled as well.

Once you become an Irish citizen, any children you may have after that time will be able to apply for Irish citizenship.

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts are fairly complex, especially when it comes to the passage of citizenship to those with great-grandparents.

Those born abroad to an Irish-born parents are automatically considered to be Irish citizens at birth. Those with at least one Irish-born grandparent are also entitled to apply for Irish citizenship, though the process is more complex because the applicant's birth has to first be noted in what's known as the Irish Foreign Births Register.

Those without the Irish birth link can obtain citizenship in other ways, either through marriage to an Irish citizen or by residing in Ireland. Both of these avenues require a lengthy period of residence in Ireland.

There are also instances where the Irish minister for justice can grant Irish citizenship to an applicant "of Irish descent or Irish associations," if the aforementioned residency periods are not met. Needless to say, this provision would be used very sparingly.

There are several websites that can provide further information on Irish citizenship law and how to acquire Irish citizenship. The Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C. maintains a useful site at wwww.irelandemb.org. The Irish Department of Justice can be accessed at www.justice.ie.

Another helpful site is www.citizensinformation.ie.

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