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British citizenship
for Irish citizens

The process of an Irish citizen becoming a British citizen through a period of qualifying residency in the UK is distinct from the process that applies to other EU nationals.

Experienced consultants assist you with obtaining a British passport

Immigration law dating back to the 1970s and pre-dating the current European Union (EU) legislation means that Irish citizens are treated differently in the UK. Upon entry into the UK, you are considered settled for immigration and nationality purposes.

After a period of five years in the UK, and if you meet the other set criteria (including the good character requirement), you can naturalise as a British citizen.

Unlike other EU nationals, as an Irish citizen, you:

  • Don’t have to be exercising EU treaty rights to reside legally in the UK
  • Don’t have to obtain a permanent residence card in order to naturalise

Given the recent Brexit vote and the likelihood that the UK will exit the EU over the coming years, the status of Irish citizens living in the UK is unclear.

While we think that Irish citizens will continue to have a special status in the UK, it is important to secure your rights to live and work in the UK sooner rather than later.

Good character

The good character requirement goes beyond the scope of simply being free from criminal convictions and includes (but is not limited to):

  • Traffic offences
  • Not being up-to-date with tax returns and tax payments
  • Bankruptcy
  • County Court Judgements (CCJ) or an overseas equivalent
  • Overstaying your visa (even by a single day)
  • Working when your visa did not permit it

Any person affected by the above should seek professional advice before attempting an application.

Find out more about children under 18 resident in the UK. 


Contact our citizenship team

Phone us (SA): +27 (0) 21 657 2139

Phone us (UK): +44 (0) 20 7759 7581

South Africa

Regent Square
Doncaster Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town
t: +27 (0) 21 657 2120

United Kingdom

Castlewood House
77/91 New Oxford Street
t: +44 (0) 20 7759 7514


Suite 8.06
9 Yarra Street
South Yarra
Melbourne VIC 3141
t: +613 (0) 86 514 500

Hong Kong

Level 1102
The Lee Gardens
33 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
t: +852 3959 8681

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