I Can Compete for Ireland or How I Got an EU Passport As an American
If I were to somehow unlock some sort of athletic ability I did not know I had, I could do gymnastics for Ireland. Tragically, I lack any sort of hand eye coordination and reached a gymnastics plateau fifteen years ago but here’s a breakdown of the definitely long but not so arduous process of getting an EU passport as an American.
Roughly a year and a half ago, my sister informed me that she would be applying for Irish citizenship which would mean she could live and work in Europe. I didn’t know how that would work seeing as me and my sister and their parents are US citizens who were all born in the US and have only lived in the US. My sister informed me that we could become citizens through our maternal grandmother, who was born and raised in Ireland and still holds dual citizenship. I said, “Sounds cool. I’ll do it too.”
I spent quite a while researching the rules and laws for citizenship through descent to determine whether or not I would actually be entitled to citizenship and a passport. My grandmother was a full citizenship and a clear line of lineage between me and her grandmother exists so I was all set. I ordered official copies of my birth certificate, my grandmother’s birth certificate, my parent’s marriage certificate, and my parent’s divorce decree. While visiting my grandmother in Florida, I asked if I could borrow my grandmother’s birth certificate as well as a copy of her marriage certificate to my grandfather. I listened to my grandmother lecture me for roughly 20 minutes about not losing her birth certificate because it was the only copy she had. I assured my grandmother I would not lose the birth certificate.
With the line of lineage clearly established, I completed the online form, took passport photos with a passport app on my phone, which I printed for $.10 at CVS, and had my application witnessed by my mom’s friend’s husband, who is a police officer. The application and photos had to be signed by either a police officer, lawyer, or priest (Oh, Ireland). One Sunday afternoon I took the T to the terminus stop where I spent 45 minutes in my mom’s friend’s car catching up with my mom’s friend and my mom’s friend’s husband before he signed the application form and I headed back on my way.
I procured a money order required to accompany the application and headed to the Irish embassy where the woman informed me that I did not have the correct version of my grandmother’s birth certificate. I was confused because my grandmother claimed only one copy existed. The woman at the consulate said I could order the correct version online. I spent roughly $25 on a new version of my grandmother’s birth certificate and a few weeks later I returned to the consulate where the lady informed me that she would hear back from them in at least six months.
Three months later I set up mail forwarding to my mother’s address and left on my grand adventure. I bothered my mom every few weeks about mail from the Irish consulate and at the five month after application mark, I borderline harassed the Irish consulate by emailing every single address I could find on the consulate website, seeing as previous inquiries into the status of my application parroted that i would hear from them in six months. The next day I received an email saying they had already sent me a certificate of foreign birth and that I had been a citizen of Ireland since December 18. Huzzah, citizenship achieved! I looked back through my travel notes and had been a citizen since the day I had previously landed in Ireland and the first things I did as an Irish citizen were visit the Cliffs of Moher and go on a pub crawl. Sound.
The next day the Irish consulate then sent a message saying the certificate had been returned to them and they could forward it for a fee or I could pick it up in person. A month or so later, I picked up the form myself while I was in Boston and also picked up a passport application, which I promptly filled out and had signed by a nice police lady at the Cambridge Police Department. I then again got a money order and sent off the application. I was given a tracking number and I continually checked the website for an update on the passport. I emailed the consulate asking if my number was broken because I never saw any updates. The consulate informed me that the website would update when my passport had been processed. I did not understand the logic in this yet it mirrored my issues with no information on the foreign birth certificate so it did not surprise me.
A few months later my friend Meredith intercepted my brand spanking new Irish passport in the mail and forwarded it to my friend in Edinburgh. Huzzah, passport achieved! I can now stay in the Schengen Area for as long as I damn well pleases and earn some money while doing it.
I had only spent a few days in Ireland before getting citizenship which made me feel guilty seeing as so many people struggle for basic citizenship rights and that in countries such as the United States one must pass a test to become a citizen. Whatever, I don’t make the rules, I just takes advantage of them! Regardless, after receiving her brand spanking new Irish passport, I decided to head to Ireland to see more of the country that I can now claim as my (second) homeland.