I'm a UK national with an Irish grandparent who was born in Ireland. To the best of my understanding, this means I can become an Irish citizen through the Foreign Births Register. The documents required include an "Original civil birth certificate (showing parent’s details)". Unfortunately, I don't know where my original birth certificate is. I can order a copy of a birth certificate from the UK government website.

My question is does this copy count as "Original" (i.e., can I use this to apply to the Irish Foreign Births Register)? If not, does this mean I'm ineligible to become an Irish citizen?

  • @StillJustJames : I'm about to begin this process, myself, and on the list of things that I need to include is my parent's information--in this case, my mother, who's father was born in Ireland. Since I am including this information with my application, will they register my mother's birth in the process, or will she need to do this separately? I don't want to put a huge burden on her with all this paperwork. :(
    – Eileen
    Sep 29, 2020 at 23:44

2 Answers 2


People live for many years. In our early decades, we don't know or care about paperwork. Throughout our lives, paperwork is mislaid and destroyed.

If governments construed "original documents" to mean the actual physical paper created at the time of the occurrence, then a great proportion of applicants would be unable to proceed with many governmental processes, including transfers of real estate and applications for citizenship and passports.

Thus, "original documents" is in reality construed to mean a document issued by the official register or recorder which a) states certain facts, and b) is an official (i.e., accurate and issued by that register or recorder) copy of whatever document was earlier issued or processed by that register or recorder when those certain facts occurred. The most common examples are real estate documents and birth certificates.

Thus: obtain a copy of your birth certificate from the UK authorities, and use it to apply for Irish citizenship.

  • Thank you! I would upvote if I had the reputation to do so :)
    – Henry
    Sep 14, 2020 at 9:34
  • Yes, original is in the sense you can't use a photocopy or similarly reproduced copy because the risk of forgery is much, much higher.
    – chx
    Sep 15, 2020 at 1:43

Yes, a government certified copy works.

If you are going through your grandmother’s citizen status, you will first have to get your parent (grandmother’s child) made a citizen of Ireland by filing his or her foreign birth, and then you can file a record of your foreign birth and then file for a passport. This was the procedure that I had to go through when I was living in the US. It took me 2 years from start to finish. And, just a note: my father was already deceased when I registered his foreign birth in order to get my citizenship.

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