Becoming Irish if UK leaves the EU?

If Britain chooses to leave the European Union, could I become an Irish citizen to avoid complications? I have been told it is easy to do this. PH

A QUARTER of Britons claim to have Irish ancestry but the figure of those eligible for Irish citizenship because of family links is around six million (almost the current population of Ireland).

As to whether becoming Irish could help you avoid problems: It is true that you would remain a ‘European’ should Britain leave the EU and Britons were considered ‘foreigners’ in France instead of Europeans.

While it would depend on what was agreed between the UK and the rest of the EU and any treaty between the UK and France, it is certainly likely that it could simplify life and avoid uncertainties.

One thing to bear in mind is that the citizenship laws of the Republic of Ireland are based on the whole island so people with parents or grandparents who were born in Northern Ireland are eligible to apply for Irish citizenship, even if those relatives were British nationals.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has published a helpful table to check your eligibility 

The process can be done in France, via the Irish Embassy in Paris or online. (However as the online application also demands a hardcopy version to be posted or handed over, there does not seem to be much advantage).

It does involve a number of documents to prove your eligibility but there are no further cultural or language tests.

The first step is get on the Irish Foreign Births Register.

You will need, your birth certificate, and birth certificates of those through whom you are claiming citizenship (and any relevant marriage certificates).

For a full breakdown of the process you should visit the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Once you are registered you can then apply for an Irish passport. A standard 10-year passport costs €80.

Photo: Ottawa AC / Wikimedia Commons

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