An Immigration and Social Services Provider
                                                               An Immigration and Social Services Provider     



There are three ways to become a U.S. citizen: by birth within the U.S.; by birth outside of the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent; and through naturalization.


Any person born within the United States or its territories is a U.S. citizen.

Birth Outside of the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent

You may be a U.S. citizen if one or both of your parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth or if one or both of your parents naturalized when you were under 18 years of age. Because the rules of acquisition or derivation of U.S. citizenship are complicated and depend on the year in which you were born, the legal status of your parents, and their marital status at the time of your birth, you should contact an immigration lawyer or accredited representative to discuss whether you could be a U.S. citizen.


There are 9 requirements to apply for U.S. citizenship:

  • Be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder),

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing,

  • Have resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years; or 3 years in the event you are married to a U.S. citizen,

  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing

  • Been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing,  

  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English,

  • Be able to pass a U.S. history and government (civics) test,

  • Be a person of good moral character, and

  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution and take an oath of loyalty to the U.S.

You will need to file a Form N-400 with the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services. To find the form, visit the USCIS website.  

Certain crimes and fraud in obtaining your green card may make you deportable. This does not mean that you should not consider naturalization if you have a criminal record, but if you have any concerns you should consult with an attorney or accredited representative before filing any application with the government.  




If you are U.S. citizen considering obtaining dual citizenship in Ireland, please read the Department of State advisory on dual nationality.

There are three ways to become an Irish citizen: by birth in Ireland to Irish or British citizen parents; entitlement through descent if one of his/her parents was an Irish citizen at the time of the person's

birth; through naturalization.


A person born in Ireland after January 1st, 2005 to at least one Irish or British citizen parent, or a parent entitled to reside in Ireland or Northern Ireland without any restrictions on his or her residence, is an Irish citizen. Otherwise, a person born in Ireland after January 1st, 2005 is entitled to Irish citizenship only if, during the four year period immediately preceding the person’s birth, one of the parents has been resident in the island of Ireland for a period of not less than three years and neither parent was entitled to diplomatic immunity in the State.

Entitlement through Descent

Generally, it at the time of your birth at least one of your parents was an Irish citizen (even if your parents were not married), you are an Irish citizen, regardless of where you were born.

However, if you were born outside of Ireland to an Irish citizen parent who was himself or herself born outside Ireland, then a few more conditions apply:

  • One of your grandparents needs to have been born in Ireland; and

  • You need to register your birth in the Foreign Births Register (FBR) maintained by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). There is a  new online system for FBR applications. In addition, a list of consulates and embassies is available on the DFA website at There is If you are entitled to register, your Irish citizenship is effective from the date of registration.

If neither your parents or grandparents were born in Ireland, then you still may be entitled to become an Irish citizen by having your birth registered in the FBR but only if the parent through whom you derive Irish citizenship had himself or herself become an Irish citizen by being registering in the FBR before you were born.

When seeking to register in the FBR, you will need to produce relevant documentation, such as birth and marriage certificates and other relevant records for yourself and those through whom you trace your Irish ancestry, to confirm your citizenship. Click here for a more detailed list.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) provides this summary:


If you are...

Then you are...



born in the island of Ireland to an Irish Citizen or to a non-Irish national who satisfied certain conditions at the time of your birth


an Irish citizen or entitled to Irish citizenship



a child of A, born outside the island of Ireland


an Irish citizen.



a child of B and a grandchild of A, born outside the island of Ireland


entitled to Irish citizenship, but you must first register in the Foreign Births Register.



a child of C and a great-grandchild of A, born outside the island of Ireland


entitled to Irish citizenship, by having your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register, but only if your parent C had registered by the time of your birth.


In order to apply for citizenship in Ireland, you must

  • Be of full age (i.e. eighteen years or older, or married if younger than eighteen),

  • Be of good character,

  • Have had a period of 1 year’s continuous reckonable residence in Ireland immediately before the date of the application and, during the 8 years preceding that, have had a total reckonable residence in Ireland amounting to 4 years,

  • Intend in good faith to continue to reside in Ireland after naturalization,  

  • Make a declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the state of Ireland and undertake to faithfully observe its laws and to respect its democratic values,

  • The Minister for Justice and Equality has power (in his or her absolute discretion) to waive one or more of the above conditions for naturalization in certain circumstances as follows:

    • Where the person is of Irish descent or of Irish associations, or is a parent or guardian applying on behalf of a minor child of Irish descent or Irish associations,

    • Where the person is the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen,

    • Where the person has been resident abroad in the public service,  

    • Where the person is recognized as a refugee or a stateless person.

If you are the non-European Union spouse or civil partner of an Irish national, some requirements are lessened. If you can show that you have been married to or the civil partner of the Irish person for not less than 3 years and are living together, you will need to show that you have lived in Ireland for a total of 2 years in the last 4 years.

For more information on Irish citizenship, visit the INIS website or the website of the nearest Irish consulate; if you live in the Midwest, visit the website of the Irish Embassy in Chicago.



Print Print | Sitemap
© Chicago Irish Immigrant Support