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Buachaill
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 13998
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Neither of our children are on the foreign births register,

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neither of our children are on the foreign births register, can they apply for an Irish passport if their great grandmother was born in Ireland?

Hello, and thank you for your question. I am your Expert and I will provide the answer you require.

1. Dear Nick, essentially, it is necessary that the births of your children's parent and grandparent were registered in the Irish Foreign Births Register with the birth of the relevant parent registered in the Foreign Births Register at the time of their birth. Essentially a person is deemed a citizen of Ireland from the date of their registration in the Foreign Births Register. Additionally, a person can only claim Irish citizenship if their parent is an Irish citizen or their grandparent was born on the island of Ireland or as here, if their great grandmother was born on the island of Ireland but your childrens' parent (grandson/daughter of their great grandmother) was registered in the Irish Foreign Births Register at the time of their birth. So the key is not the registration of your children's births in the Foreign Births Register today but whether their parent descended from the great grandmother was registered in the Irish Foreign Births Register at the time of their birth.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm confused now, let me give you some more information:
Great grandmother born in Ireland now deceased.
Grandfather born in UK 1920s has applied successfully for an Irish passport
Mother born in UK 1978 not on foreign birth register but is applying, and will apply for an Irish passport.
Children born 2016 & 2018 not on foreign birth register, can they apply for an Irish passport? Do they have to wait until the mother has her passport? Do they stand no chance of applying for an Irish passport?

3. Dear Nick, I regret to say that your two children born in 2016 & 2018 do not qualify for an Irish passport as their mother's foreign birth in the UK was not registered in the Irish Foreign Births Register at the time of their birth. It is key to obtaining citizenship from a great grandparent that each line of the chain should have had their birth registered in the Foreign Births Register and this should be done before the great grandchild is born. So here, the failure of the mother to register her birth in the Foreign Birth Register is fatal to the children getting an Irish passport based on their great grandparent's birth on the island of Ireland. The mother born in 1978 can still get an Irish passport based on her grandmother being born on the island of Ireland, but the two children cannot retroactively get Irish citizenship based on their mother's registration in the Irish Foreign Births Register after their birth. The registration of the mother born in 1978 in the Irish Foreign Births Register would have needed to have been done before the birth of her two children in 2016 & 2018 in order to confer Irish citizenship on the two of them.

4. Here is the link to the page in the Irish Immigration and Naturalisation Service which deals with the issue of obtaining Irish citizenship from a great grandparent http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/citizenship-greatgrandparent-born-ireland. You will see the relevant piece is as follows:-

Your answers indicate that you may be entitled to Irish citizenship because one of your great-grandparents was born on the island of Ireland. This entitlement is not affected by where you were born.

To become an Irish citizen, your great-grandparent's grandchild (ie your parent) who is of Irish descent must have registered in the Foreign Births Register between the years 1956 and 1986, or if you were born after 1986 they registered before you were born. The Foreign Births Register is managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

5. Sorry about the confusion. I appreciate it is quite complicated and technical. It is really only clear with a worked example looking at the four generations. But this has been the law since 1986 in Ireland.

6. Please Rate the answer.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Now that the chain is broken, once my wife (the children's mother) gets her Irish passport, is there any way you know how the children could obtain an Irish passport/citizenship? If their children (our grandchildren) are put on the foreign births register before their birth would the chain bere-formed? And would our grandchildren be able to apply for an Irish passport/citizenship?

7. I regret to say that once the chain has been broken there is no way to "cure" it. Essentially, Irish citizenship is only given where a parent is an Irish citizen or a grandparent is born on the island of Ireland. The great grandparent rule is exceptional to the general rule of Irish citizenship. Here, once the mother didn't register her birth on the Foreign Births Register before her children were born, the children don't get Irish citizenship and there is no way back whereby this situation can be "cured". Be aware that there is no rule whereby great great grandchildren of a person born on the island of Ireland can get Irish citizenship. So, I regret to say it will only be if the mother registers her birth on the Irish Foreign Births register that any children born subsequent to that registration can claim Irish citizenship. But there is no way back or no way to "cure" the defect for the two children born in 2016 & 2018. The die has been cast for them.

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