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New easy path to British citizenship for Irish citizens

Irish citizens now have a simplified path to British citizenship. This new route streamlines the naturalisation process and may be particularly appealing to residents of Northern Ireland and their children.

On 24 May 2024, the UK Parliament passed the British Nationality (Irish Citizens) Act 2024, making it easier for Irish citizens living in the UK to become British citizens. This law updates the British Nationality Act 1981 by adding section 4AA, which creates a specific route to citizenship for Irish residents. 

Before this change, Irish citizens had to follow the same naturalisation rules as other foreigners to become British citizens. However, unlike others, they didn’t need indefinite leave to remain (ILR) because they could stay in the UK without any time restrictions.

Here’s a quick rundown of the new rules.

How Irish citizens can register for British citizenship 

To be eligible, an Irish citizen must:

  • Apply under the new section 4AA.
  • Have lived in the UK for the last five years.
  • Not have been out of the UK for more than 450 days in those five years or more than 90 days in the year before applying.
  • Have followed immigration laws during those five years.

This new section follows the same residency rules as the naturalisation process but skips the English language and Life in the UK tests. While becoming a British citizen through naturalisation is generally only for adults, under section 4AA children can also apply. This means that Irish children living in the UK can get British citizenship regardless of their parents' status.

Additionally, the fee for the application under this section is set to be lower than the £1,500 fee for adult naturalisation. The UK seems to be encouraging Irish citizens living there to become British citizens. We’ll have to see how many take up this offer since Irish citizens can already live and work freely in Ireland, the UK, and any EU country.

This new path will likely be most attractive to Irish citizens in Northern Ireland or those who want the travel perks of British citizenship. Those who get British citizenship this way will be considered to be British “otherwise by descent” which means that they can pass it on to their children born outside the UK.

These changes aren’t in effect yet, but we expect an implementation date soon. If you’re an Irish citizen thinking about naturalisation, it might be worth waiting for this Act, since it could save you money.

No matter how complex your case, our citizenship and immigration consultants can help you every step of the way. Contact our team on +44 (0) 20 7759 7581 or +27 (0) 21 657 2139. Alternatively, you can send an email to

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