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Got Grandparents? You could become an Irish citizen.

March 15, 2012
Santiago, Chile

In advance of St. Patrick’s day coming up this weekend, I thought I’d spend some time today talking about the second best thing to come out of Ireland– its nationality law.

There’s no insurance policy quite like having a second citizenship. Sure, it would be great if we could roam around the world without having to brand ourselves by arbitrary political boundaries. I’m Mexican. You’re Canadian. He’s British. Big deal.  They’re irrelevant lines on a map that change with every war.

However, since we can’t really exist in the world without citizenship, the better option is to have as many of them as possible. If you are beholden to a single country, then your entire livelihood is tied to that government. You literally have all of your eggs in one basket.

Think about it. Are you comfortable being completely tied to your government?

Now… there are a number of ways to obtain second citizenship. If you include bribery and coercion, the opportunities are boundless. The simplest, easiest, most cost effective way, though, is for a fortunate group of folks who are part of the lucky sperm club.

Certain countries– Ireland, Italy, Poland, etc. grant citizenship to descendants of their natural born citizens, and the process is pretty painless. Let’s explore Ireland:

First of all, Ireland is a great travel document. You can live anywhere in the European Union, come and go from the United States and Canada without a visa, and travel to dozens of other countries around the world with very little hassle.

At the moment, non-resident Irish citizens have very little burden. There is no compulsory military service to worry about, no worldwide taxation, and dual nationality is allowed.

According to Ireland’s most recent nationality law, a person is an Irish citizen at birth if “either parent was an Irish citizen, or would, if alive, have been an Irish citizen.” This is where it gets a little bit tricky.

Ireland’s old nationality law used to grant citizenship to anyone born within Ireland. Therefore, if you have at least one parent who was born in Ireland, s/he was automatically an Irish citizen at birth. As such, you would also be an Irish citizen, no matter where you were born.

If this is the case, you can apply for citizenship directly to the Passport Office at your nearest consulate.

So what about grandparents?

Well, the same logic follows. If you have at least one grandparent who was born in Ireland, s/he would have been a citizen. Moreover, his/her children (i.e. one of your parents) would have been automatically entitled to Irish citizenship regardless of where they were born… and so would you.

The process works a bit differently in this case– you would have to go through something called a Foreign Birth Registration. There are a few hoops to jump through, but it’s all doable.

Every applicant for Foreign Births Registration must provide certain documentation about the grandparent from whom the citizenship is being claimed. Specifically:

1) Birth certificate including place of birth, date of birth, full name
2) Marriage certificate, if applicable
3) Copy of passport (if alive) or death certificate (if deceased)

Then you’ll need some documentation on your parent through whom the citizenship is being claimed. Specifically:

1) Birth certificate (indicating details of his/her parents)
2) Marriage certificate, if applicable
3) Copy of passport (if alive) or death certificate (if deceased)

And finally you’ll need some documents for yourself, including:

1) Birth certificate (including the details of your parents)
2) Marriage certificate, if applicable
3) Passport copy
4) Two photographs
5) Proof of address (bank statement, utility bill)
6) Application form (which you can download here)

All of the documentation, together with the application, must be submitted to your nearest Irish consular mission.

And what if you have children of your own? If you’re claiming citizenship through your grandparents, your children can only become citizens if you registered with the Irish government before their birth. In other words, once you become a citizen through your grandparents, future children can also claim citizenship.

If you’re claiming citizenship through your parents, however, all of your children can claim citizenship.

So where can you obtain all of these records? Well, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer and you have enough information, you can contact the Government Records Office (www.groireland.ie) directly. They have records of births, deaths, and marriages since 1864.

There are also services out there like RootsIireland.ie and Irish-Certificates.ie that do most of the heavy lifting for you in accessing the records.

Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

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About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Wealthmaker247

    Does the same work for Switzerland?  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XECV6OYERGNJKFKR372BMIARWQ JR

    If I’m not able to do the process on my own and want to pay for an expert to complete the research and provide the documents so I can go to the consulate…who do you recommend?   I heard a few folk on your Panama cd’s/dvd’s that do this, but want to know which one you like best.
    (I’m nearest Los Angeles consulate for Italian ancestry.)

    • JRT

      Google “italian citizenship services” and shop around. There are quite a few organizations that will help with this, but be careful; some are very costly. You could save money by getting any documents required from the U.S. yourself. And be aware that it may take some time. I know the Italian consulate here in San Francisco has a backlog of a couple of years just to process the people applying. But it’s worth. I got my Italian passport a little over 2 years ago and feel much better having the second passport – it’s a better one to travel on than the American one.

  • http://justen.us Justen Robertson

    What about further generational removal? Or does the line stop at grandparents?

    • Gavin

      I am wondering the same thing.

  • CommonSense

    Sign me up for the country that stole money from retirees.. I mean borrow..

    And Italy? Out of the frying pan and into the fire. I think a European country for 2nd citizenship, unless free, isn’t worth the trouble.

  • RJ

    Cinco de Mayo?

    Obtaining a Mexican Passport is also easy.

    If you have a your parents immigrated from Mexico, you can walk out of your local Mexican consulate with a Mexican Passport. Dual citizenship is no problem.

    Like wise if you have a Mexican grandparent.

    However the problem here is the local consulate says that that issue has to be handled in Mexico and cannot be done in the Mexican consulate.

    Who knows a Mexican lawyer that would handle this?

    Now here is what makes me a little angry.

    Obviously in the states of from California to Texas, former Mexican territory, there are scores of millions of American citizens who could take advantage of this.

    Does Simon Black, or any of the others, ever talk about this?

    No, he would rather cater to the one in a thousand subscribers of Estonian ancestry.

    Scores of millions of Americans are within a two hour drive of Mexico.

    Estonia is half way around the world.

    There must be some kind of advantage to this.

    Why doesn’t ‘Sovereign Man’ spend on sentence of text on the subject once in a while.

    Talk about Singapore and such.

    How about this?

    According to Mexican law there is no tax on stock market transactions.

    Sell your stock, no capital gains taxes, the gains are tax free.

    Receive dividends, no dividend taxes, the income is tax free.

    Are these things not worth at least one sentence of comment from Sovereign Man?


    • John

       It’s Mexico for fucks sake. No, it is not worth one sentence.

  • Atfsux

    My Grandmother was Polish, so that seems my best option. Tell us about the situation there.

  • http://twitter.com/jdev789 John Devereaux

    what about great-grandparents being born in Ireland? 

    • StuckInUK4Now

      The right to claim Irish citizenship through great-grandparentage was withdrawn in 1986.

      I would have qualified through a great-grandparent on my mother’s side – except I was 14 in 1986 and wouldn’t have known or cared about such things then, and nor would my parents (“What would you want with an Irish passport anyway? Do you want people to think you’re a terrorist?”). How things change.

      Moral of story is: if you do qualify for any free-for-the-asking passports on ancestry – don’t lose any time in acquiring it. Your rights could be withdrawn at any time.

  • http://twitter.com/answerisliberty Alan Brown

    I did this several years ago.  Mom is from County Clare.

    Irish citizenship actually gives you EU citizenship and you can live, work and own property anywhere in the EU.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OAQ25QG5MNMGUNXFO3JQW4TKBE jake garciaparra

    Similar in Canada. Just go here: 
    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/rules/index.asp if you have a mother or father who was born in Canada. Answer their little 5-question questionnaire and they will tell you if you are a citizen or not. You merely need to claim your citizenship, not apply for it. 

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