What is the change? A recent surge in applications for Irish passports by U.K. citizens following the Brexit vote two weeks ago is causing delays in their issuance.

What does the change mean? Irish citizens applying to renew their passports should plan for the delays and apply two to three months or more in advance. Individuals applying for a passport for the first time should plan to apply two to three months in advance if residing in Ireland and at least three to four months in advance if residing abroad.

U.K. citizens who are eligible to apply for an Irish passport based on birthright, Irish heritage or residency in Ireland are reminded that there is no immediate need to obtain an Irish passport. Brexit procedures are expected to take at least two years to accomplish from the start of negotiations, which will not begin until a new British prime minister takes office and officially invokes EU exit procedures. During this time, U.K. citizens retain all rights as EU citizens, and Irish and U.K. citizens have special rights of free movement between each other’s countries based on membership in the Common Travel Area.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Republic of Ireland passports.
  • Who is affected: Individuals applying for Irish passports (first time or renewal).
  • Impact on processing times: Those applying to renew their passports should allow at least two months. Those applying for their first passport require additional screening and should allow at least one month if they reside in Ireland and at least two months if applying from outside.
  • Business impact: Irish citizens planning to travel are advised to check the validity of their passports well in advance and leave plenty of time to renew their passports if needed.

Background: Individuals are eligible for Irish citizenship if they were born on the island of Ireland (Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland) before Jan. 1, 2005 (or born after Jan. 1, 2005, depending on parents’ citizenship and residency). Those who were not born on the island of Ireland may be eligible based on a parent’s Irish citizenship or grandparent’s birthright. U.K. citizens living in Ireland may also be eligible for Irish citizenship through naturalization.

BAL Analysis: Irish citizens should factor in the increased demand, as well as the peak summer season, if needing to apply for a passport. While there is no urgent need for U.K. citizens to rush to apply for Irish passports, they may wish to review their eligibility. BAL can assist in the process.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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