Thursday 4 October 2012

Foreign Births Registration system updated

Genealogy and citizenship come together in the Foreign Births Registration (FBR) system, which has just been updated.

Anyone who has gone the FBR route (essentially claiming citizenship – and with it the right to an Irish passport – through a grandparent born in Ireland) will know that the procedure was very expensive and very, very slow.

To use the official speak: A person born to a parent who, although not born in Ireland, was otherwise an Irish citizen at the time of the parent's birth, can become an Irish citizen by applying for Foreign Births Registration. In other words, if your Irish grandparent left Ireland before your parent was born, you are entitled to claim Irish citizenship.

To do so, you have to have your name added to the Foreign Births Register.

For the last five weeks or so the old manual application system has been suspended while an online procedure was put in place on the Department of Foreign Affairs website. This is now live.

However, the procedure is still far from automated. Basically, you fill in the form online, print it off, complete with your application number, and then spend a few weeks getting together all the documents you need.

A typical application has to follow the familiar genealogical trail, so would involve submission of the following documents:

  • Birth certificate of Ireland-born grandparent
  • Marriage certificate of Ireland-born grandparent
  • Copy of passport, identity document or death certificate of Ireland-born grandparent
  • Birth certificate of applicant's parent (child of Ireland-born grandparent)
  • Marriage certificate of applicant's parents (if appropriate)
  • Copy of passport, identity document or death certificate of applicant's parent (child of Ireland-born grandparent)
  • Birth certificate of applicant
  • Copy passport of applicant (or other identity document)
Needless to say, these certificates cannot be photocopies. So there's a fair expenditure involved in getting these together.

And then there's the cost of the application. For adults, the fee is €137, including an FBR certificate, which is needed for a subsequent passport application. For minors, it's €52.

Local embassies will set their own equivalents in their currencies.

The application, complete with all supporting documents and fee, is then submitted to the local embassy/mission.

Whether or not this speeds up the FBR process (I can't see much difference to the old system, except that an application number is allocated when the application form is submitted online) remains to be seen.

Department of Foreign Affairs/FBR applications: Official website.