Ireland: The Land of Poets, Pints, and Easy Passports

The smell of chocolate and churros wafts through your open window. The soft murmur of early morning shoppers gently rouses you from a good night’s sleep. You open your eyes to find yourself in a villa above a bustling street market in Barcelona, Spain.

It sounds like a dream, but this is reality for one of my clients, Chris.

When I first met Chris, he had just retired from a successful career as a real estate developer and wanted to simplify his life. Chris had spent his career building financial freedom. Now he wanted to enjoy it…and have an adventure in the process. He sold his house, bought a sailboat, and decided to split his time between the sea and the ports of Spain, Portugal, and Italy.

That’s what made him visit me in the first place. His grandfather had been born in Ireland, a land of poets, pints (of Guinness), and passports. Ireland allows anyone with an Irish parent or grandparent to automatically claim citizenship and the valuable passport that comes with it.

And a valuable one it is. Irish citizens have the right to live and work in any other EU country…from Estonia to Austria, or in Chris’ case, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. No need to deal with the bureaucratic hassles of trying to gain a visa or permanent residence (similar to a green card here in the U.S.) to any of these countries.

Chris claimed his Irish citizenship and started sailing. When not aboard his boat, he now spends time in his dream home in Spain.

An Irish passport also gives the holder the right to travel visa-free to approximately 170 countries, including the U.S. and Canada.

While other countries offer citizenship in this way (i.e., to grandchildren of individuals who were Irish citizens; Italy and Poland are two others), Ireland is the only one that does it in English.

To apply, you’ll pay a small fee and provide proof that your parent or grandparent was Irish. A birth or baptismal record is fairly common. But bear in mind, even if your parent or grandparent was born in Ireland, you may not be eligible if they formally renounced their citizenship in the past.

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