Increase in Irish Passport applications from Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, T.D., has confirmed that 2017 has seen a high volume of applications for passports received from Northern Ireland and Great Britain. There has also been a significant increase in applications for Citizenship by Descent from Great Britain.

  • The number of passport applications received this year from applicants in Northern Ireland has risen to 81,752, an increase of almost 20% compared to 2016, with applications from the rest of Great Britain rising to 81,287, an increase of over 28% compared to 2016.
  • First-time applicants represented approximately half of all applications from Northern Ireland. The respective figure for first-time applicants from Great Britain was approximately 39%.
  • Over 47% of these GB applicants for passports were Irish citizens by birth in Ireland; while another 37% were Irish citizens born abroad to an Irish-born parent. Less than 7% of applicants from Great Britain in 2017 were Irish citizens following Foreign Birth Registration (“FBR”).  The relevant totals for 2016 applications from Great Britain were Irish born 55%, Irish-born parents 38%, FBR approx. 4%.
  • The number of persons applying for Foreign Births Registration has more than tripled in four years and the number of people successfully obtaining citizenship by descent more than doubled this year, with over 17,500 people entered on the Foreign Births Register to date.
  • The overall number of applications for citizenship through Foreign Births Registration rose above 22,000 this year, with increases across all regions. The biggest regional rise was seen in applications from people born in Great Britain, which grew by 95% on 2016.  There were also significant increases in the numbers of applicants from the United States (up 33%) and South Africa (up 30%).


The Tánaiste stated:

“There was continued strong growth in demand for Irish passports from Northern Ireland and Great Britain in 2017. While the increase in passport applications from Northern Ireland and Great Britain is undoubtedly partly linked to the ongoing process of the UK’s departure from the European Union, the increase is not solely due to Brexit.  Other factors such as increased mobility and population growth are also relevant.”

“It is particularly notable that, of the over 80,000 applications from Great Britain this year, almost half were from persons born in Ireland and another approximately 37% were from Irish citizens born abroad to an Irish-born parent.”



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