EuropeSponsored Feature

Irish Citizenship by Descent, A Trend Gaining Momentum in the USA, For Good Reason

The term “Irish citizenship by descent” has been growing in popularity on Google in the United States in the past year. The North American nation, one which was partly built by Irish immigrants, is now seeing its own nationals inquiring about Irish citizenship. This reverse immigration may seem surprising at first, but not quite so after pondering why more Americans are looking into obtaining Irish citizenship.

Irish blood, American heart

In 1840 nearly half of all the immigrants flooding into America were Irish nationals. To this day about 9.7% of US nationals – approximately 32 million people – claim Irish ancestry. The ties to Ireland of the more recent generations may be weak, some only adorning their Irish heritage on St. Patrick’s day, but that trend seems to be buckling under the weight of the pandemic as more US citizens consider a contingency plan, and there is no better contingency than the only English speaking EU nation, with close ties to the UK.

US descendants of the Irish have been more active in researching how their ancestral roots can help them obtain Irish citizenship by descent. This activity is highlighted in Google Trends, a tool Google provides to look up the trend of any given keyword or phrase.

The screenshot below is taken directly from Google Trends for the phrase “Irish citizenship by descent”, highlighting its trend over the past five years in the USA. Notice the increase in 2020, indicating that more people from the US are becoming more inquisitive about the matter.

Even if we take the broader phrase of “Irish citizenship” you can see a similar pattern, with a noticeable increase in 2020. There is also a spike in the period between 7th-12th of November 2016, which coincides with the date of the US presidential election in which Donald Trump was elected to lead the country. It is apparent then, that the Irish descendants in the USA are now considering Irish citizenship when major issues arise in the US, and nothing has been as major as the Coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic highlights the need for a “Plan B” among US citizens

To single out USA nationals as the ones who need a plan B is folly; as every single country in the world has been direly affected by the pandemic. Global economies have floundered while governments all around the world are trying to get a grip on the raging pandemic. The main difference between Americans and nationals of developing countries is that the prior did not know they needed a contingency plan in the form of citizenship or residency prior to the pandemic. 

Rising coronavirus cases, skyrocketing unemployment rates throughout the initial months of the pandemic (see chart below), and an overall sense of unease drove more US nationals to look for more options. The idea of getting the citizenship of an English-speaking country that has an EU living standard and a passport that ranks one place higher than that of the US through descent must have seemed too good to be true. It wasn’t. The Irish government has a detailed guideline for those wishing to apply for Irish citizenship by descent, and now more people are looking into it.

Irish citizenship by descent; a simple process, but quite exclusive

The Irish government welcomes the descendants of its nationals to apply for citizenship, but only if they meet the outlined criteria. Here is where it gets a bit exclusive, a person can apply for Irish citizenship by descent if:

A message from our partners
Middle East Road Show Ad
  1. If a person was born in Ireland before 2005
  2. If one or both parents of a person were born in Ireland prior to 2005
  3. If a person was born outside of Ireland to an Irish parent
  4. If a person was born outside of Ireland but has an Irish grandparent who was born inside Ireland

It is quite simple if all the documentation can be collected, but it is quite exclusive as well. Out of the 32 million US citizens that claim Irish ancestry, how many fit the criteria, and how many have the documentation to prove it?

Irish residency can open the pathway to all

While getting Irish citizenship by descent may exclude many people who do not fit the exact criteria, getting an Irish residency that could lead to citizenship is a door open to all. The Irish government encourages it as well, as it has laid out multiple pathways for foreigners to gain residency on Irish shores, and no program suits the bill of a contingency plan for US citizens better than the Irish Immigrant Investor Program (IIP).

By investing in the EU nation investors can obtain residency in Ireland for themselves and their family members. What makes the IIP exceptionally elegant is that applicants need only reside one day a year in Ireland to maintain their residency permit. This makes it the ultimate plan B for western investors who are not yet ready to leave their homeland but are considering making Ireland their new one. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

The IIP’s structure is quite intriguing as well, as investors can add their spouse and dependent unmarried children below 24 years of age. It also provides investors with four different investment options which are:

  • Enterprise investment of 1 million Euro into a qualifying Irish enterprise.
  • Philanthropic donation of 500,000 Euro 
  • Investing 2 million Euro into a real estate investment fund
  • Or investing 1 million Euro into an approved investment fund

All of the investments have a swift holding period of only 3 years (except the donation of course) and the most popular among them has been the enterprise investment due to its ease and possibly high ROI. The IIP is a program designed to be efficient, elegant, and simple.

While Irish citizenship by descent continues to gain traction, the exclusivity and limitations make it a difficult venture for some to pursue. But that does not mean it is the end of the road, as the IIP provides them with a new and exciting pathway to Ireland. If you would like to know more about immigration to Ireland through the IIP contact Bartra Wealth Advisors Today.

Interested in contributing a sponsored feature? Email us on and see all our promotional options here.