How to get an Irish passport in the UK

Zorica Lončar
28.10.20
5 minute read

Since the UK voted to leave the European Union, Brits have been applying for Irish passports in ever increasing numbers. 40,000 Britons were given Irish passports in 2018, and 50,000 in 2019 - an 8x increase on the number of British people being granted Irish citizenship just a few years ago in 2015.¹

If you think you may be eligible for an Irish passport - or if you simply want to replace a lapsed, lost or damaged Irish passport, this guide has you covered. We’ll also take a look at how you can cut the costs of applying for your Irish passport with TransferWise.

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The benefits of having an Irish passport

If you hold an Irish passport, you’re entitled to live and work in Ireland and the EU, and access help from Irish consulates and embassies when you’re abroad.

You can enter 185 countries without a visa using your Irish passport, making it a handy document for any traveller. In fact, the Irish passport was ranked as the 7th most powerful passport in the world in 2020 - ahead of the British passport.²

An Irish passport also means you can vote in Irish elections, stand for public office in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU, and enjoy all the rights and freedoms of other citizens of Ireland.³

Eligibility - can you get an Irish passport?

You can apply for an Irish passport from the UK if you’re an Irish citizen. This could be a replacement for your existing passport which has expired, been lost, damaged or stolen - or a first Irish passport.⁴

You might be an Irish citizen automatically if you or a parent were born in Ireland before 2005, or you might be eligible for Irish citizenship through another route, such as naturalisation⁵ or based on the citizenship of your parents or grandparents.

Ireland also recognises dual citizenship, so you could be able to apply for an Irish passport even if you already hold a passport from another country.

The cost of Irish passport

The fees you’ll pay for your passport depend on the application route you choose, and the passport type you want. You might find you need to make a payment in British pounds - or you may be asked to pay in euros instead.

Don’t forget that paying in a foreign currency can mean you pay bank charges and extra fees hidden in the exchange rate used by your bank. More on how to avoid this, and cut your costs, in just a moment.

Here are the costs for the most common situations.

Application routePayment by passport type
Apply online⁶Adult passport - EUR75 - 130 Child passport - EUR20 - 75 Passport cost varies according to the passport type or bundle you select. There is also an extra EUR5 - 15 charge for returning documents
Apply by post⁴Adult passport - EUR80 - 110 Child passport - EUR30
Urgent counter application in the UK⁴Same day emergency passport - GBP109 (eligibility criteria apply) 5 day processing:Adult passport - GBP144 - 170Child passport -GBP72 6 - 40 day processing:Adult passport - GBP83 - 109Child passport -GBP39

If you need to make a payment in euros to cover the cost of your application, you could save by using TransferWise, or the TransferWise multi-currency account.

TransferWise international payments use the mid-market exchange rate with no markup. That means you get the rate you’ll find on Google, and just pay a low, transparent fee - which can work out cheaper than sending the money using your normal bank.

Your transaction is set up and securely processed online or via your mobile device for convenience, allowing you to pay for your Irish passport simply and quickly. And with your TransferWise multi-currency account, you can also get a linked debit card, to make online transactions even easier.

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How long does it take to get an Irish passport?

Naturally, one of the key questions new applicants have is how long does it take to get an Irish passport?

How long you’ll wait for your Irish passport depends on your personal situation, and your claim to Irish citizenship.

Firstly, it’s important to note that you’ll need to establish a claim to Irish citizenship before you can apply for an Irish passport. If you or one of your parents were born in Ireland before 2005 this is simple as your claim is automatic.

However, if you have a claim to citizenship based on any other eligibility route, you’ll need to have your name entered onto the Foreign Birth Registration, or become an Irish citizen by naturalisation. These processes can take a significant amount of time - with wait times for Foreign Birth registration running to 12 - 18 months⁷, and naturalisation taking at least 12 months.⁸

If your claim to Irish citizenship is already established, or if you’re applying for a passport renewal, you’ll be able to choose different application processes, which all come with different wait times.

This is intended to mean that people with an urgent need to get their passport can pay extra for an expedited process. Here are your options:

  • Apply online - lowest fees, but could have a wait time of a few days to a few weeks, depending on the application type and demand at the time
  • UK counter applications - urgent travel applications have a wait of 5 days
  • UK regular counter applications take 6 to 40 days, with lower fees than the urgent service
  • Emergency applications - such as in the case of a family death - can be processed on the same day

Services are severely disrupted at the time of writing due to Covid restrictions, which means not all application routes are open, and wait times are increased - check out the latest details before you apply.

How to apply for an Irish passport from the UK?

You’ll be able to apply online, by mail, or in person at the passport offices and agents in London, Liverpool or Glasgow.

The documents you need to submit vary widely depending on the situation. If you are replacing an Irish passport which expired within the last 5 years, for example, you may not require any supporting documents.

However, if you’re a first time applicant, you can expect to need a set of documents including your birth certificate, proof of identity, address and name, and paperwork proving your eligibility. This may include a birth certificate for your parent if claiming under their citizenship, or your Foreign Births Registration certificate. The full details are available on the Irish government website, including a checklist of documents to make the process simpler.⁴

If you’re considering applying for an Irish passport, don’t forget to look through the eligibility criteria and processes carefully before you get started. You could also find you save both time and money by paying your application fees using TransferWise.

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Sources:

  1. Economist - Brits seeking EU passports
  2. Irish Central - Irish passport rank
  3. Citizens Information - Irish citizenship rights
  4. Dfa.ie - how to apply
  5. Dfa.ie - citizenship
  6. Dfa.ie - fees
  7. Dfa.ie - turnaround times
  8. Irish Immigration - naturalisation

All sources checked on October 28, 2020


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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