Xan & Bob

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! I hope you are all enjoying everything green and Irish today. I thought today (because it seems fitting) that I would share a previous post with you. It tells the story of my journey to get my Irish passport.

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“The Wait is Over”

One hundred seventy-one days. 171! February 23 to August 14. This is how long it took for my Irish Passport Application to be processed. It took less time for me to receive my Irish citizenship.

Let me back up a bit. Back in June 2016 the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, commonly called Brexit. Bob and I stayed up in the U.S. watching it unfold in disbelief. We, like many others, still wonder why and how they could vote this way.

What struck Bob immediately was how this would affect the use of his E.U. passport. He depends on it to easily travel and work in Europe. What would this mean? When would it take effect? Questions that are still being asked today.

At that time we were seriously thinking of moving to Spain at the end of 2017. We knew if we moved here Bob could get residency with his E.U. passport. He would be able to work. Without an E.U. passport I would not be able to work for 14 months (if I remember correctly). At the time of the Brexit vote and still today, no one knows what the impact will be on E.U. passport holders that are living all  over Europe. We didn’t know if this would stop our plans.

The morning after the Brexit vote even with very little sleep Bob thought of a brilliant idea. Because my grandfather was born in Ireland, technically I am an Irish citizen. Yes, that is true. And with Irish Citizenship I could get an E.U. passport. Thus, I could get my residency here in Spain and be able to work not to mention travel throughout Europe a lot easier. So, we started researching what I would need to do to obtain my citizenship.

Because I was not born in Ireland the way you are granted citizenship is by a Foreign Birth Registration. I had to provide them with the required documentation to prove that my grandfather was born in Ireland.  These are the documents along with the application form that they needed (taken from their website so I didn’t have to retype them all):

Your details

  • Original Long form Civil Birth Certificate (plus photocopy)
  • Original Civil Marriage Certificate (if married) – Church certificates are NOT acceptable (plus photocopy)
  • Original Divorce Decree (final) if Divorced and Current Civil Marriage Certificate (if remarried) (plus photocopy)
  • Deed poll (if you’ve changed your name). Original must be submitted and must have been valid for at least two years (plus photocopy). Three documents showing proof of usage in the newly acquired name – e.g. Bank Statements, Utility Bills that are at least two years old – must also accompany the deed poll.
  • Certified/Notarized copy of the photograph page of current passport or state issued identity document (e.g. Driver’s Licence)
  • If over 18 years –Two separate documents showing proof of Residence e.g. phone bill, gas/electricity bill.

Your parent’s details (through whom you’re claiming citizenship)

  • Original Long form Civil Birth Certificate (plus photocopy)
  • Original Civil Marriage Certificate (if married) – Church certificates are NOT acceptable (plus photocopy)
  • Original Death Certificate if Deceased (plus photocopy)

Your Irish-born grandparent’s details

  • Original Long form Civil Birth Certificate (plus photocopy)
  • Original Civil Marriage Certificate (if married) – Church certificates are NOT acceptable (plus photocopy)
  • Original Death Certificate if Deceased (plus photocopy)

I have only listed what I needed to provide for my case so if you are interested in filing your own application please visit their website for all of the information required.

I had some of these documents but others I needed to send away for. This was an easy process thankfully.

So, on January 25th they granted me Irish citizenship. We celebrated by toasting (yes drinking…I am Irish!) to my grandfather and my mother who made it possible.

The next process was to apply for the Irish passport. This would turn out to be a much longer and frustrating process. I had to provide them with MORE documentation than they needed for the citizenship! They received my application and the documentation on February 23rd. Then the waiting began.

Because I lived in the U.S. at the time I started this process I had to send my application to the Irish Consulate in New York City. On the website there is an area to check the progress of the application but no matter how many times I checked  – it told me that my application number could not be found. ARGH! Really?! Over the past 6 months I have phoned the Consulate in NYC many times. Archaic processes don’t even begin to explain what this has been like. Voicemail boxes full. Leave your name and number and we will return your call. Never happened. The only thing that has been positive in this process was finding the Irish Passport Office on Twitter and guess what?! They respond! They respond very quickly! But of course since my application was filed in NYC they will not have anything in their system in Ireland until 10-15 days at the end of the process.

With so much at stake getting this passport I can say that the past 6 months has been extremely frustrating. Back in April they requested more documents. This involved me requesting documents from Australia and California and one of these requests had to be notarized which meant a trip to the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona.

Part of the application was that it had to be witnessed by someone of authority who knows me. In my case this was our bank manager. On one very frustrating day which I wrote about here and here –  I finally reached a human being at the Irish Consulate in NYC regarding my application. She said that the delay was them waiting to hear back from my witness, our bank manager. ARGH! She had sent emails but hadn’t heard anything. This all nearly sent me over the edge! Anyway, it did all get sorted…finally.

The lady from the consulate sounded so overwhelmed and I’m sure the applications have  piled up since the Brexit vote. She did phone back and tell me that she had spoken to our bank manager and verified that the notarizing he had  done as a witness was indeed true. Seriously?! My application was approved and finally on its way to Ireland to be processed. She did tell me that it would take 4-6 weeks. Again, seriously?!

Well, the wait is finally over. My passport arrived here yesterday (via our P.O. box in the U.S. since that is where this started from). Yes, we celebrated with a bottle of cava. I know it should have been a Guinness or Irish whiskey but it was all we had.

We have forwarded a copy to our immigration lawyer here and I will soon be getting my Spanish residency. WOOHOO!

To put this process in to perspective…remember that Bob was able to receive his United States passport in a mere 6 DAYS!

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