Irish citizenship for adopted children

Generally speaking, if you were born outside of Ireland and your parent (who was also born outside of Ireland) was an Irish citizen or entitled to be an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, then you are entitled to become an Irish citizen. To claim Irish citizenship in these circumstances, you must have your birth registered in the Foreign Births Register, and your Irish citizenship will be effective from the date of registration.

However, if you are an adopted child in the exact same circumstances, you are automatically an Irish citizen, provided that your adoption is recognised in Ireland.

Section 11 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956 (as amended) by section 175 (d) of the Adoption Act 2010 states:

“Upon an adoption order being made within the meaning of section 3 (1) of the Adoption Act 2010 or an intercountry adoption effected outside the State being recognised within the meaning of that Act, 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”.

Considering the above provision, if you fit such criteria, you will be entitled under section 11 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, to apply directly for an Irish passport through the category of “Born Abroad and Adopted Under Irish Law”.

McGrath McGrane LLP was recently instructed by an UK client who had a grandparent born in Ireland. He was adopted by his father in the 1960s and his adoption was recognised in Ireland this year (2021). He applied for an Irish passport and his application was successful.

If you wish to speak to someone about your entitlement to Irish citizenship, including queries around adoption and citizenship entitlements, feel free to contact our team at McGrath McGrane LLP at

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