IRISH NATIONALITY AND CITIZENSHIP ACT, 1986*
AN ACT TO AMEND AND EXTEND THE IRISH NATIONALITY AND CITIZENSHIP ACT,
1956 [1st July 1986]
BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:
1.-In this Act "the Act of 1956" means the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956.
2.-In this Act-
"the Act of 1935" means the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1935 (No.13 of 1935);
"alien" means a person who is not an Irish citizen;
"consular office" includes a consulate-general, consulate or vice-consulate, whether in charge
of a career or honorary consular officir;
"diplomatic officer" means an ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, envoy
extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, chargé d'affaires, counsellor or embassy or legation,
"foreign aircraft" means an aircraft which is not an Irish aircraft";
"foreign ship" means a ship which is not an Irish ship;
"full age" means the age of twenty-one years, and upwards;
"Ireland" means the national territory as defined in Article 2 of the Constitution;
"Irish citizen" means a citizen of Ireland;
"Irish aircraft" means an aircraft registered in the State;
"Irish ship" means a ship registered in the State or a ship which, if not registered in the State or
under the law of any other country, is wholly owned by a person qualified to own a ship
registered in the State or by persons all of whom are so qualified;
"the Minister" means the Minister for Justice";
"naturalised Irish citizen" means a person who acquires Irish citizenship by naturalisation,
whether under this or any other enactment;
"prescribed" means prescribed by regulation made by the Minister;
"public service" when used in relation to the employment of a person, refers to employment in
the service of the Government, whether or not in the civil service, or in the service of any public
corporation or authority maintained wholly or partly out of public funds or in respect of which
a Minister of State is responsible.
3.-(1)The Minister may make regulations in relation to any matter or thing referred to in this Act
as prescribed or to be prescribed, but no such regulation shall be made in relation to the
amount or collection of fees without the consent of the Minister for Finance.
(2)Every regulation made by the Minister under this section shall be laid before each House of
the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made, and if a resolution annulling the regulation is
passed by either House within the next subsequent twenty-one days on wich that House has sat
after the regulation is laid before it, the regulation shall be annulled accordingly, but without
prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.
4.-All expenses incurred by the Minister or by the Minister for Expenses. External Affairs in
carrying this Act into effect shall, to such extent as may be santioned by the Minister for
Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
Repeals and saving for existing citizenship
5.-(1)The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1935 (No.13 of 1935), and the Irish Nationality
and Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1937 (No.39 of 1937), are hereby repealed.
(2)Every person who, immediately before the passing of this Act, was a citizen of Ireland shall
remain an Irish citizen, notwithstanding the foregoing repeals.
Irish citizenship by birth or descent
6.-Every person born in Ireland is an Irish citizen from birth.
(2)Every person is an Irish citizen if his father or mother was an Irish citizen at the time of that
person's birth or becomes an Irish citizen under subsection (1) or would be an citizen under that
subsection if alive at the passing of this Act.
(3)In the case of a person born before the passing of this Act, subsection (2) applies from the date
of its passing. In every other case, it applies from birth.
(4)A person born before the passing of this Act whose father of mother is an Irish citizen under
subsection (2), or would be if alive at its passing, shall be an Irish citizen from the date of its
(5)Subsection (1) shall not confer Irish citizenship on the child of an alien who, at the time of the
child's birth, is entitled to diplomatic immunity in the State.
Formalities to be complied with in certain cases
7.-(1)Pending the re-integration of the national territory, subsection (1) of section 6 shall not
apply to a person, not otherwise an Irish citizen, born in Northern Ireland on or after the 6th
December 1922, unless, in the prescribed manner, that person, if of full age, declares himself to
be an Irish citizen or, if he is not of full age, his parent or gardian declares him to be an Irisch
citizen. In any such case, the subsection shall be deemed to apply to him from birth.
(2)Neither subsection (2) nor (4) of section 6 shall confer Irish citizenship on a person born
outside Ireland if the father of mother through whom he derives citizenship was also born
outside Ireland, unless-
(a) that person's birth is registered under section 27, or
(b) his father of mother, as the case may be, was at the time of his birth resident
abroad in the public service.
"Provided that the citizenship of a person who, after the passing of the Irish Nationality
and Citizenship Act, 1986, is registered under section 27 shall commence only as on
and from the date of such registration".
Acquisition of citizenship on marriage
8.-(1) A person who is an alien at the date of that person's marriage to a person who is, or who
after the marriage becomes, an Irish citizen (otherwise than by naturalisation or by virtue of
this section or section 12) shall not become an Irish citizen merely by virtue of the marriage,
but may do so by lodging, not earlier than three years from the date of the marriage or from the
date on which the person last mentioned became an Irisch citizen (otherwise than as aforesaid),
whichever is the later, a declaration in the prescribed manner with the Minister, or with any
Irish diplomatic mission or consular office, accepting Irish citizenship as post-nuptial
citizenship: provided that-
(a) the marriage is subsisting at the date of lodgment of the declaration, and
(b) the couple are living together as husband and wife and the spouse who is an Irish
citizen submits an affidavit to that effect when the declaration is being lodged.
(2)A person who lodges a declaration under subsection (1) shall be an Irish citizen from the
date of lodgment.
(3)A person who, before the passing of this Act, married a person who was an Irish citizen
(otherwise than by naturalisation) and became a naturalised Irish citizen shall be deemed to
have lodged a declaration under subsection (1) on the passing of this Act and thereafter shall be
an Irish citizen by virtue thereof and not by naturalisation".
Citizenship of posthumous children
9.-A child born posthumously whose father was on the date of his death an Irish citizen shall
acquire Irish citizenship under this Act on the same conditions as if his father were alive when
he was born.
Citizenship of foundlings
10.-Every deserted infant first found in the State shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to
have been born in Ireland.
Citizenship of adopted children
11.-(1)Upon an adoption order being made, under the Adoption Act, 1952 (No.25 of 1952), in a
case in which the adopter or, where the adoption is by a married couple, either spouse is an
Irish citizen, the adopted child, if not already an Irish citizen, shall be an Irish citizen.
(2) Section 25 of the Adoption Act, 1952 is hereby repealed.
Grant of citizenship as token of honour
12.-(1) The President may grant Irish citizenship as a token of honour to a person or to the child or
grandchild of a person who, in the opinion of the Government, has done signal honour or
rendered distinguished service to the nation.
(2) A certificate of Irish citizenship shall be issued to the person to whom Irish citizenship is so
granted and he shall, from the date of the certificate, be an Irish citizen.
(3) Notice of the issue of the certificate of citizenship shall be published as soon as may be in
Citizenship of persons born on ships and aircraft
13.-(1) A person born in an Irish ship or an Irish aircraft wherever it may be is deemed to be born
(2) A person who is born the child of aliens in a foreign ship or in a foreign aircraft while the
ship or aircraft is within Ireland or its territorial seas is deemed not to be born in Ireland, if at
the birth the child acquired the citizenship of another country.
Certificates of naturalisation
14.-Irish citizenship may be conferred on a alien by means of a certificate of naturalisation granted
by the Minister.
Conditions for issue of certificate
15.-(1) Upon receipt of an application for a certificate of naturalisation, the Minister may, in his
absolute discretion, grant the application, if satisfied that the applicant-
(a) is of full age;
(b) is of good character;
(c) has had a periode of one year's continuous residence in the State immediately before
the date of the application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that
period, has had a total residence in the State amounting to four years;
(d) intends in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation; and
(e) has made, either before a Justice of the District Court in open court or in such
manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows, a declaration in the prescribed
manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.
(2) The conditions specified in paragraphs (a) to (e) of subsection (1) are referred to in this Act
conditions for naturalisation.
Power to dispence with conditions of naturalisation in certain cases
16.-The Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of
naturalisation in the following cases, although the conditions for naturalisation (or any of them)
are not complied with:
(a) where the applicant is of Irish descent or Irish associations;
(b) where the applicant is a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a minor or Irish
descent or Irish associations;
(c) where the applicant is a naturalised Irish citizen acting on behalf of a minor child of
(d) where the applicant is married to a naturalised Irish citizen;
(e) where the applicant is married to a person who is an Irish citizen (otherwise than by
(f) where the applicant is or has been resident abroad in the public service;
(g) where the applicant is a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the United
Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of the 28th day of July,1951,
and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of the 31st day of January, 1967,
or is a Stateless person within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating
to the Stateless Persons of the 28th day of September, 1954.
Form of application
17.-(1) An application for a certificate of naturalisation shall-
(a) be in the prescribed form, and
(b) be accompanied by such evidence (including statutory declarations) to vouch the
application as the Minister may require.
(2) If any person, for the purposes of or in relation to an application for a certificate of
naturalisation, gives or makes to the Minister any statement or information which is to his
knowledge false or misleading in any material respect, he shall be guilty of an offence and shall
be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds or, at the
discretion of the court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months or to both such
fine and imprisonment.
Effect and operation of certificate of naturalisation
18.-(1) Every person to whom a certificate of naturalisation is granted shall, from the date of issue
and so long as the certificate remains unrevoked, be an Irish citizen.
(2) A certificate of naturalisation shall be in the prescribed form and be issued on payment of
the prescribed fee, and notice of issue shall be published in the prescribed manner in Iris
Revocation of certificates of naturalisation
19.-(1) The Minister may revoke a certificate of naturalisation if he is satisfied-
(a) that the issue of the certificate was procured by fraud, misrepresentation whether
innocent or fraudulent, or concealment of material facts or circumstances, or
(b) that the person to whom it was granted has, by any overt act, shown himself to
have failed in his duty of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, or
(c) that (except in the case of a certificate of naturalisation which is issued to a person
of Irish descent or associations) the person to whom it is granted has been ordinarily
resident outside Ireland (otherwise than in the public service) for a continuous period
of seven years and without reasonable excuse has not during that period registered
annually in the prescribed manner his name and a declaration of his intention to retain
Irish citizenship with a diplomatic mission or consular office or with the Minister, or
(d) that the person to whom it is granted is also, under the law of a country at war with
the State, a citizen of that country, or
(e) that the person to whom it is granted has by any voluntary act other than marriage
acquired another citizenship.
(2)Before revocation of a certificate of naturalisation the Minister shall give such notice
as may be prescribed to the person to whom the certificate was granted of his intention
to revoke the certificate, stating the grounds therefore and the right of that person to
apply to the Minister for an inquiry as to the reasons for the revocation.
(3)On application being made in the prescribed manner for an inquiry under subsection
(2) the Minister shall refer the case to a Committee of Inquiry appointed by the
Minister consisting of a chairman having judicial experience and such other persons as
the Minister may think fit, and the Committee shall report their findings to the
(4)Where there is entered in a certificate of naturalisation granted to a person under the
Act of 1935 the name of any child of that person, such entry shall for the purposes of
this Act be deemed to be a certificate of naturalisation under the Act of 1935.
(5)A Certificate of naturalisation granted or deemed under subsection (4) to have been
granted under the Act of 1935 may be revoked in accordance with the provisions of
this section and, upon such revocation, the person concerned shall cease to be an Irish
(6)Notice of the revocation of a certificate of naturalisation shall be published in Iris
Acquisition of citizenship by one of married couple
20.-Acquisition of Irish citizenship by a person shall not of itself confer Irish citizenship on his or
Loss of Citizenship
Renunciation of citizenship
21.-(1) If an Irish citizen of full age is or is about to become a citizen of another coutry and for that
reason desires to renounce citizenship, he or she may do so, if ordinarily resident outside the
State, by lodging with the Minister a declaration of alienage in the prescribed manner, and,
upon lodgment of the declaration or, if not then a citizen of that country, upon becoming such,
shall cease be an Irish citizen.
(2) An Irish citizen may not, except with the consent of the Minister, renounce Irish citizenship
under this section during a time of war as defined in Article 28.3.3.o of the Constitution.
Non-effect of spouse's death or loss of citizenship on other spouse or children
22.-(1) The death of an Irish citizen shall not affect the citizenship of his or her serviving spouse or
(2) Loss of Irish citizenship by a person shall not of itself affect the citizenship of his or her
spouse or children.
Marriage not to effect loss of citizenship
23.A person who marries an alien shall not, merely by virtue of the marriage, cease to be an Irish
citizen, whether or not he or she acquires the nationality of the alien.
Loss of citizenship by operation of foreign law under section 21 of Act of 1935
24.-No person shall be deemed ever to have lost Irish citizenship under section 21 of the Act of
1935 merely by operation of the law of another country whereby citizenship of that country is
conferred on that person without any voluntary act on his part.
Preservation of obligations on cesser of citizenship
25.-If a person ceases to be an Irish citizen the cesser of his citizenship shall not of itself operate to
discharge any obligation, duty or liability undertaken, imposed or incurred before the cesser.
26.-(1) Where the Government are satisfied that under the law of another country (whether by
virtue of a convention between that country and the State or otherwise) Irish citizenship enjoy
in that country some or all of the rights and privileges of a citizen of that country, the
Government may by order (in this section referred to as a citizenship rights order) declare that
citizens of that country shall enjoy in the State similar citizenship rights and privileges to those
enjoyed by Irish citizens in that country, but subject to such conditions (if any) as the
Government may think fit to impose.
(2) Every citizenship rights order shall have effect in accordance with its terms.
(3) The Government may by order revoke or amend an order under this section.
(4) The Government shall not, by a citizenship rights order, confer upon a citizen of another
country any right or privilege reserved by law to any class or group of persons, howsoever
defined, of which he is, at the relevant time, not a member.
(5) Every order under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as
may be after it is made, and if a resolution annulling the order is passed by either House within
the next twenty-one days after that House has sat after the order was laid before it, the order
shall be annulled accordingly but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done
(6) Every order made before the passing of this Act under section 23 of the Act of 1935
conferring citizenship rights on the citizen of another country shall continue in full force and
effect until revoked or amended by an order made under this section.
Registry of births abroad
27.-(1) A foreign births entry book shall be kept in every Irish diplomatic mission and consular
office and a foreign births register shall be kept in the Department of External Affairs in
(2) The birth outside Ireland of a person deriving citizenship through a father or mother born
outside Ireland may be registered, in accordance with the foreign births regulations, either in
any foreign births entry book or in the foreign births register, at the option of the person
registering the birth.
(3) Particulars of all births entered in a foreign births entry book shall be transmitted, from
time to time, in accordance with the foreign births regulations, to the Department of External
Affairs for entry in the foreign births register.
(4) A document purporting to be a copy of an entry in a foreign births entry book or in the
foreign births register, and to be duly authenticated, shall be admitted in evidence without proof
of the signature or seal whereby it is authenticated or of the authority of the person whose
signature or seal appears thereon and shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed a true copy
of the entry and accepted as proof of the fact and term thereof.
(5) The Minister for External Affairs may make regulations (in this Act referred to as the
foreign births regulations) respecting the form and manner of keeping of foreign births entry
books and the foreign births register, the registration of births therein, the transmission of
particulars of births from foreign births entry books for entry in the foreign births register, the
inspection of the books and register by the public, the furnishing of extracts therefrom, and
(with the consent of the Minister for Finance) the fees (if any) to be charged for registration of
births in the books and register, for the inspection thereof and for furnishing extracts therefrom.
Certificates of nationality
28.-(1) Any person who claims to be an Irish citizen, other than a naturalised Irish citizen, may
apply to the Minister or, if resident outside Ireland, to any Irish diplomatic officer or consular
officer for a certificate of nationality stating that the applicant is, at the date of the certificate,
an Irish citizen: and the Minister or officer, if satisfied that-
(a) the applicant is an Irish citizen, and
(b( the issue of the certificate is necessary in all the circumstances of the case.
may issue a certificate of nationality to him accordingly.
(2) A document purporting to be a certificate of nationality, duly authenticated by the seal of
the Minister or of a diplomatic of consular officer shall, until the contrary is proved, be
evidence that the person named therein was, at the date thereof, an Irish citizen.
Extension to all citizens of statutory rights conferred on persons born in Ireland
29.-An Irish citizen, wherever born, shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges conferred by the
terms of any enactment on persons born in Ireland.
Fees payable on declaration
30.-Whenever any person is by this Act required or empowered to make a declaration for the
purposes of this Act, regulations made under this Act may require that such person shall pay,
on the making of such declaration, such fee as may be prescribed.
Collection and disposal of fees
31.-(1) All fees payable under this Act shall be collected and taken in such manner as the Minister
for Finance shall, from time to time, direct and shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit
of the Exchequer in accordance with the directions of the said Minister.
(2) The Public Offices Fees Act 1879, shall not apply in respect of any fess payable under this
For the period of six months commencing on the passing of this Act, any person who but for
this Act could become an Irish citizen may continue to do so.
(1) This Act may be cited as the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1986.
(2) The Act of 1956 and this Act may be cited together as the Irish Nationality and Citizenship
Acts, 1956 and 1986.
(3) The Act of 1956 and this Act shall be construed together as one Act.