Hi, I'm a British citizen currently contracting in Germany. I'm in the process of going through a divorce from my first wife, and have two children from this marriage aged 11 and 13yrs. I fly back to the UK every couple of weeks to see them, and I maintain full financial responsibility for all bills/mortgage etc for the family home where they live with my ex wife.I still use the house address for my post, as its possible I could have to move around Europe with work, and so not practicle to change everything to my current German address (I have an apartment here).I have been in a relationship with a Malaysian lady for the past 18months. Since May 2011, her and her two young daughters have been flying from Malaysia to Germany, 3months in Germany, then back to Malaysia for 3months to satisfy the Shengen visa requirments.As soon as my divorce is settled, we plan to marry, but I would appreciate advice on the best way to do this, and what freedom her and her girls would have to follow me around Europe if my work requires it.I expect my current contract to last atleast another 12months in Germany, so should we marry in Germany? If so, what happens if just after we are married, my job takes me back to the UK? What type of visa would we need to apply for, and could we face a situation where her and the girls would have to leave the UK for a period of time because such visa is only valid for a fixed period? Or would it be better to get married in the UK, even though I'm currently working/living in Germany, and other than the former family home which we of course couldnt live in, I have no other UK residency, and couldn't say that we plan to remain in the UK after our marriage.My girlfriend is also going through a divorce process from her first husband who is the father of her two children. He is also British, but has had little contact with the children over the last four years.Through decendency, I assume the children are entitled to UK passports/citizenship? Although the ex husband has made little effort to see the children, I believe it could be argued that it would be for the good of the children to have more regular contact with their biological father, but that isn't going to happen with their current visa/residency situation.Would it be worth asking the Home office if a UK passport could also be issued to their mother on compassionate grounds, to help facilitate the children seeing their father more regularly? Also making clear that we would be married and I would be fully supporting her and the children financially. Even if the girls have UK passports, they can't travel without their mother.The latter passport scenario would I guess solve all the issues of them moving around Europe with me, not needing additional visas etc.Sorry for so many questions.Thanks in advance.
Province/Country relating to question : U
Hi, I'm just drafting the bulk of your answer now, there is obviously quite a bit to get through and it will take me twenty minutes or so (barring interruptions). In the meantime can you confirm whether you are likely to be working in Germany or another EEA member state (apart from the UK) once you are married and that you intend for you all to settle there together?Kind regards,Tom
Hi Tom, thanks for your quick reply.
To be honest, I really don't know what's around the corner with work. Things are busy here in Germany right now, but certainly in 12months time, our industry is kicking off in Ireland, so there may be a need to move. But for the time being, I expect to be in Germany for at least a year, so my priority is to find the best way of allowing my girlfriend and her daughters to be with me permanently, so we can then look to get them into a local school here in germany (they're 5 and 6yrs old). So for that, they will have to apply for german residency anyway, which of course can only happen if they have the required visa/right etc. I'm thinking that the EEA family permit is the first thing to go for? At least that would give them 6months grace initially?
Hi Simon, I should have my answer ready in ten minutes. Kind regards,Tom
Hi Simon Thanks for your question. CITIZENSHIP - The Children and eligibility for a UK passport. This will depend upon they type of citizenship their father holds. Provided the father holds UK citizenship otherwise than by descent (eg. Because he was born in the UK to british born parents), then they will be eligible for British Citizenship by descent. This being the case then they can apply for a UK passport straight away, there is no need to register for UK citizenshipPlease let me know if this is not the case and provide further details so that I can clarify my advice.ONCE MARRIED IF YOU ARE WORKING IN AN EEA STATE OTHER THAN THE UK – You are correct in that your fiancé would have to apply for the equivalent of a Family Permit. This is effectively her permission to travel to the EEA country where you are as the non-eea spouse of any EEA national. If the children hold UK passports at this time then they will not need to apply because they themselves would have EEA treaty rights in the same way you do. If the children do not hold UK passport at that time then they will have to join your fiancé’s application as her dependents.Once in the EEA country she should apply for that country’s equivalent of a Residence Card, which is a vignette in her passport which confirms her right to reside in that country for a period of 5 years and means that she can leave/enter without applying for further family permits. You would have to check the individual EEA countries specific arrangements with respect to family permits/residence cards because there is some variation but your wife will be entitled to make the application in any event because she is afforded treaty rights derived from you. If after this time you move to another EEA country to work then she would have to apply again for the second country’s equivalent of a family permit/residence card.ONCE MARRIED IF YOU ARE TO SETTLE IN THE UK – She would need to apply for a spouses visa (ie. Settlement) if she is to come here to settle with you permanently.If the application is well prepared and you meet the following eligibility criteria then it will make the application easy and quick to decide upon for the UKBA. To be eligible, you must show:- • 1. That you are legally married to each other • 2. You are present and settled in the UK • 3. You intend to live permanently together here in the UK as husband and wife • 4. You can support each other without the need for public funds• 5. You have suitable accommodation which is owned or lived in only by you or your household and where you and your dependents can live without any help from public funds You have to produce to the UKBA documentation that proves the above. This would be some of the following:-• Bank statements from both you and your wife going back 6 months showing the income/capital you have available• Payslips (6 month of) and a letter from your employer stating that you have a permanent job, contract of employment• Documentary evidence of any other assets you hold (eg. Shares, evidence of ISAs or bonds)• Marriage certificate, Birth Certificate, passport• Evidence of correspondence between you and your wife showing that the relationship is credible and genuine (eg. Emails, letters, evidence of previous trips, photos showing you together, phone records• Evidence of the accommodation where you will live (ie. land registry officials copies of the property that you own, mortgage documentation, copy tenancy agreement if you rent, council tax statements, house report by a solicitor, letter from landlord confirm he is happy to give you a further tenancy agreement• You should also include job adverts showing jobs available that your wife could do when she comes here and show, via your wife’s CV, that she has the qualifications and work experience that she would be a viable candidate for those rolesFurther information here:-http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/partners-families/citizens-settled/spouse-cp/documents/maintenance/She woud also need to pass an English language test showing she has basic English skills :-http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/partners-families/citizens-settled/spouse-cp/documents/english-language/She would need to apply for settlement (ie. spouses visa) by using form VAF4 Settlement, available for download from UKBA's website. It would be best for either a solicitor in the UK to prepare it in consultation with both you and your wife before submitting it to ensure the best possible chance of success upon determination by the UKBA. You can find Uk immigration solicitors through the following Law Society Website search engine:-http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law The visa will be granted for a period of 27 months. She can apply for indefinite leave to remain once he has been here for 24 months. 12 months later she can apply to be naturalised as a UK citizen provided she has not spent a lot of time outside the UK during the 36 months total. SUNDRIESProvided your marriage is according to the law in the relevant country and you obtain a marriage certificate then it will be legally binding for the purpose of the application of the above. The father of the children could conceivably commence an action to have the residency of the children but this is complicated because it contains elements of interntional law. His lack of involvement would likely prejudice him considerably in this regard. The UKBA would not issue a passport on compassionate grounds. They may consider an application for leave to remain on a discretionary basis based upon the father wishing to see the children more, but it would probably require that she intended to remain permanently in the UK and in any event if she were minded to do this then presumably you would also intend to settle in the UK with her, in which case it would be more uncomplicated for her to apply for a spouse visa.If you wish for me to provide you with further guidance on any question you may have in the future then please submit a further question to the board requesting me either by my profile or by marking your question. “FAO Tom”. Kind regards,Tom
Many thanks for your answers Tom. That clears up a lot for me.
Concerning the EEA family permit/residence visa, if granted a residence permit for Germany, then I needed to work somewhere like France for example (still in Shengen and no border checks), would there be any legal reason why they couldn't join me for a period of time, possible more than 90days at a time?
Isn't the EEA family permit only valid for 6months, within which time you need to apply for a residence card. So assuming my wife has a residence card for Germany, but the EEA family permit has expired, if we then need to go to France for 4 or 5 months, do we need to apply for the EEA family permit again in order to then apply for a residence card? I'm thinking about Shengen countries right now, but I guess the same for Ireland. I work in the semiconductor industry, and things are kicking off in Ireland in 12months time. If we already have a german residence card, do we then apply directly for and Irish residence card, with an EEA family permit?
Hi, They would probably need to apply for a visitor's visa I expect. Unless they still had a schengen visa. They would not be able to work there obviously. I can only speak with regard to a UK family permit, which she would not apply for (ie. she would have to apply for a spouse visa), but there is technically no requirement to apply for a residence card once you are in the UK after having travelled on a family permit - it's just convenient to do so because it gets around any immigration enquiries and if she left the UK for a period of time then she would not have to apply again for a UK family permit. The rules relating to other countries depend on their laws, but I would expect that she would have to apply for a family permit (eg. to leave germany to go to france for a long period of time), but family permits and residence cards are more for person wishing to settle permanently, so it may be more convenient to apply for a visitor's visa depending on the individual country's rules. There are a bit to many imponderables at the momment, it will become clear what you have to do once your working plans firm themselves up. There will always be a way. Trust this clarifies. Kind regards,Tom
BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
Many thanks for your reply Tom. It has really helped a lot.
Thanks and regards,
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