On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, everyone wants to be Irish … at least to celebrate the day.
“We are all Irish today” is a ritual saying American politicians repeat, identifying with the nearly 40 million U.S. citizens, nearly 12% of the total, who trace their ancestry to Ireland.
But in the United Kingdom these days, so many thousands of Brits are clamoring to become Irish citizens that the demand volume has overwhelmed the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.
The number of Irish passports issued in 2016 increased by almost 10%. In January of this year, Irish passport requests from Great Britain went up 74% from the same month in 2016. The Irish Passport Office had to hire hundreds of temporary staff to deal with the flood of applications.
In my popular The Passport Book, now in a new 12th edition, I explain the real advantages that come with holding dual citizenship and having a second passport. These benefits can include greater safety, ease of travel and even lower taxes. Now there is also an added Irish benefit.
And that explains the very practical reason for this sudden surge in Brits demanding Irish passports.
The Brexit Conundrum
Thanks to the June 2016 United Kingdom Brexit referendum to quit European Union membership, many British residents have a serious need to acquire a second passport, especially an Irish passport — a country that will continue as an EU member state.
When Brexit becomes final in a year or two, U.K. residents probably will lose many of the benefits they have enjoyed as dual U.K./EU citizens. That includes the right to travel, work and live anywhere within the 27 remaining EU countries, plus access to an EU-wide student-exchange program and free health care when traveling within the EU.
British Labor MP Gisela Stuart, who favors Brexit, says there are “more people living in the mainland United Kingdom who have the right to Irish citizenship than there are currently Irish citizens living in Ireland.”
That automatic right to claim Irish citizenship is based on ancestry.
Tracing Your Bloodline
Under Irish nationality law, bloodlines determine a birthright to citizenship — even without ever having lived in the country. The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts of 1956 and 1986 confer Irish nationality on those born in Ireland, on anyone with an Irish parent or grandparent, or on those who marry an Irish citizen.
This right operates under the legal principle of jus sanguinis (Latin for “right of blood”), a right to citizenship descending from ancestors. Indeed, as many as 40 million U.S. citizens are eligible to become dual citizens based on past family ties to Ireland.
Ireland also has an extensive immigration program allowing foreign investors and their families to buy immediate residence and eventual citizenship. But for U.K. citizens with blood ties across the Irish Sea, it’s so much easier to shake the family tree.
Ireland permits dual citizenship, as does the U.S. It does not require an oath of exclusive allegiance, nor does it notify the country of origin of new passport holders.
Contact the nearest Irish Consulate or Embassy for application forms and assistance.
As I explain in my new edition of The Passport Book, other EU countries that issue passports based on ancestry are Hungary, Italy, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Greece. Germany grants citizenship to descendants of ancestors persecuted by the Nazis.
Perhaps your ancestry may entitle you to your second passport.
Yours for liberty,
Bob Bauman JD
Chairman, Freedom Alliance
P.S. Millions of people who are sick and tired of obnoxiously high taxes, useless laws and bureaucrats, and the loss of their personal privacy already have their second passports. They’re free to live and work anywhere in the world … and you can be too. The latest edition of The Passport Book has dozens of powerful and life-changing secrets, making it an essential guide for traveling internationally or establishing a part- or full-time offshore residence. Click here to get your copy today.