How to apply for an Irish passport in time for St. Patrick’s Day
All you need to know and useful links for Americans with Irish grandparents
The Church disappears?
All sorts of things can complicate this process. Many 19th century births, for example, never got registered with any civil authority. If you run into that problem, your best bet is to find a church record.
Some genealogists, however, find that their grandparents' church burned years ago, destroying all birth and death records in the process.
If you do succeed in obtaining your required documents, you can expect to get your citizenship papers in approximately 18 months. Then, it’s time to do your application for the Irish passport application. With a passport fee of $98, and you should be able to get the passport in 12 to 16 weeks from application.
The rest of the family tree
Passing your Irish citizenship on to other members of your family is a lot more tricky.
Kids: If you've got American kids, you can't gain Irish citizenship and then pass it to them. However, if you get your Irish citizenship and then have children here in America, you will be able to pass it on to them.
Husbands and Wives: It used to be possible to pass your Irish citizenship on to a spouse, even if he or she had no Irish ancestry. Unfortunately, this is no longer allowed.
Great-Grandparents Born In Ireland: If a great-grandparent is your nearest relative born in Ireland, you can only get citizenship if one of your parents has already applied and obtained it.
Parents Born In Ireland: If you have a parent who was born in Ireland, reading this article hasn't been a good use of your time! You are already a citizen of Ireland. All you have to do is apply for your Irish passport.
US governmnent view
If you get your dual citizenship, you must still use your American passport to leave and reenter the United States.
The one potential downside for an American with a dual citizenship, the US State Department says, is that in some circumstances, the Irish government may view you only as a Irish citizen.
If you get arrested in Ireland, for instance, you may not be eligible to get help from the US Consulate there. For further information, visit www.travel.state.gov.