Garreth Westwood: What is Your Citizenship Strategy?
Given the recent amendments to the Irish Nationality & Citizenship Act [INCA] which change the Irish Citizenship by Marriage facility, it makes sense to review your strategy to pass on your Irish citizenship to your children and ensure that your family inherits this priceless legacy.
As readers of the DualCitizen.net Blog are aware, Irish citizens (or US citizens with an Irish-born parent) are no longer able to simply transmit Irish Citizenship by declaration after three years of marriage and cohabitation. This Post-Nuptial Declaration facility closed permanently on 30 November 2005 so that from this moment forward, any Irish citizen who wishes to transmit citizenship to his/her spouse, now has to cohabitate with the spouse within the Irish state.
This change to INCA is all part of a trend of tightening rules brought about--perhaps--by European pressure on the Irish Government. Previously, the Republic of Ireland had very generous derivative citizenship laws. Because of very specific changes to INCA since 1986, Irish-Americans (and indeed, the Irish diaspora around the English-speaking world) need to develop a Citizenship Strategy.
In 1986, the major change to INCA was that an applicant for Irish citizenship based upon a grandparent would no longer be considered an Irish citizen from birth but would only be deemed to become an Irish citizen at the moment the application was approved. Previously, those applicants with an Irish great-grandparent could first have their parent apply for Irish citizenship based upon their grandparent and then apply based upon their parent after that first application was approved. Now, those applicants with an Irish-born great-grandparent have no claim to Irish citizenship now.
Furthermore, those applicants with an Irish grandparent are no longer considered Irish citizens until their application is approved by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. That means, any individual with an Irish grandparent needs to take action now to apply for Irish citizenship before they have any children. If an applicant with an Irish grandparent wishes to pass on Irish citizenship to future generations, he/she must do so before having any children. Children born before the acquisition of Irish citizenship will not be able to inherit your Irish citizenship.