I was born in Northern Ireland in 1949, adopted in 1950 and I hold a British Passport. Can I apply for an Irish passport in my original unadopted name?
(C.T, 25 June 2009)
The ordinary rules for entitlement to Irish citizenship are that anyone born on the island of Ireland before 1 January 2005 is entitled to be an Irish citizen. An individual born outside of Ireland may be an Irish citizen by descent if one of their parents was born in Ireland and was an Irish citizen. British passport holders can generally hold dual nationality and are not required – under UK law – to give up their British nationality when they acquire the nationality of another country. However, some other countries do not permit their citizens to hold two nationalities.
Under the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement – often referred to as the Good Friday Agreement – those born in Northern Ireland have the right to be citizens of both the United Kingdom and Ireland. This right is recognised by the governments of both countries and the right will exist regardless of any future change in the status of Northern Ireland. This right is not, however, solely dependent on an individual having been born in Northern Ireland – or the island of Ireland. To have the right to hold the citizenship of both the United Kingdom and Ireland an individual must – at the time of their birth – have had at least one parent who was Irish, British or who had the right to live permanently in Northern Ireland.
Applications for an Irish passport are made using form APS1 or APS2 depending on whether the applicant is in or outside Ireland at the time of the application. Those who are not resident in Ireland at the time of their application should apply using form APS2. A copy of the form may be obtained from your local Irish Embassy or Consulate. In addition to sending in the completed form, which must be witnessed by an appropriate person, applicants for a first Irish passport must also provide the full version of their original Irish birth certificate, showing their parents’ names. The basic fee for an Irish passport application is €80.
If the application is successful, it should take between 4 and 6 weeks to obtain the passport. An express service is available, at an additional fee, for those applicants in Ireland, Northern Ireland or Great Britain. If applying by the express service, applicants not resident in Ireland should use form APS2E/G. Applicants resident outside Ireland may return their completed application to their local Embassy or Consulate.
An Irish passport issued under this procedure will generally be in the name that appears on the Irish birth certificate. In order to obtain a passport in a different name you would have to provide documentation explaining the change – such as an adoption or marriage certificate. As this website deals primarily with immigration to the United Kingdom, and because you are considering obtaining a passport in your pre-adoption name, it may be wise to obtain specific legal advice before making your application.