British citizens began frantically looking for ways to keep their European citizenship on Friday morning after a referendum on leaving the EU passed in a close vote.
Google search data showed a spike in searches for “getting an Irish passport” from the UK.
Citizens of European Union member states can travel freely across the continent right now. Any restrictions that may be placed on British travelers post-Brexit will be dependent on negotiations between London and Brussels.
Irish passport laws
British citizens with Irish parents are entitled to hold Irish passports, and those with Irish grandparents can also apply.
Anyone born before 2005 in Northern Ireland, the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another country, is entitled to Irish citizenship, though there are some restrictions for those born after that date.
Because of the increased number of inquiries, the Irish Passport Office in Dublin issued guidelines to those seeking information on Friday morning.
Rush for citizenship
Leon Ward, a 24-year-old from Cardiff in Wales, has an Irish dad.
“I am a citizen of the European Union, I voted to remain in the EU for peace, security, solidarity, unity, rights, free movement and prosperity,” he told CNN. “The UK has decided it is better off alone, a decision I fundamentally disagree with. I want to remain a citizen of the EU for all the benefits that come with it.”
Scott Edgar, a web developer who was born and raised in Northern Ireland but always held a British passport, said he picked up forms at his local post office in Belfast for himself, his brother, and his mother. He said that although he identifies culturally more with those in Northern Ireland than people in the Republic of Ireland, he is applying for an Irish passport to ensure he has the ability to travel and work abroad.
There were multiple reports on social media of post offices in Northern Ireland running out of Irish passport application forms.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however. Some Irish expats in London used the opportunity to let people know they were on the market.