One in five applicants for Irish passports based in UK

One in five applicants for new passports in 2017 were made by Irish citizens in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, the Department of Foreign Affairs has revealed.

Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said while Brexit is “undoubtedly partly linked” with the increased demand, it is not the sole reason for the rise in those based in the UK seeking an Irish passport.

There has also been a significant increase in applications for Citizenship by Descent from Great Britain, Mr Coveney said.

The number of passport applications received in 2017 from applicants in Northern Ireland has risen by almost 20% to 81,752 when compared to 2016.

The number of applications from the rest of Great Britain went up to 81,287, an increase of over 28% compared to 2016.

“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,” Mr Coveney said.

“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,” he said.

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%.

The Department said over 47% of these first-time 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.

The numbers 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 in 2017, the Department said, 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 in 2017.

The biggest increase was seen in applications from people born in Great Britain, which grew by 95% on 2016’s figures. The numbers of applicants from the United States (up 33%) and South Africa (up 30%) were also notable.

The department also said the Passport Online Renewal Service has issued passports to over 100,000 citizens without the need for paper forms or photos since it launched last March.

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