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UK_Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 2452
Experience:  I am a qualified solicitor and an expert in UK law.
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I am a UK citizen (born here 1974). My wife is bulgarian and

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I am a UK citizen (born here 1974). My wife is bulgarian and has lived in the UK for nearly 5 years and has to children with her last husbdan who was Irish (the kids being 11 and 14 and carry Irish passports).
Their Irish passports runs out end of next year.

When can my wife and step children apply for a british passport? Note that the father is virtually uncontactable, has not had any contact with the children for 2 years and has never contributed any maintenance or ever sees them.

The csa told me they wouldn't even attempt to persue him as A, he's from southern ireland and B, because he's a clown (no really!) in a traveling circus (ironically currently in England and we know that he has no traceable bank accounts; its all cash in hand and squirralled under matresses!

Please advise as we would like to plan a trip abroad in 2015 as a family to visit some of my extended family. Is there something we need to get moving now?
Hi thank you for your question. Please remember to RATE my answer OK SERVICE, GOOD SERVICE OR EXCELLENT SERVICE so I can get credited for my time.

Just to clarify:

1. Has you wife been working or studying for the last 5 years?
2. Have the children been resident with her for the last 5 years?
3. Does she have comprehensive sickness insurance?

Kind regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

1 - She works for a couple of years as a self employed cleaner (she had to get permission to work) and then when we got married she was worked on and off as bar staff - note that we had a baby in december 2011 so there was a period of which she couldn't work at all.


2 - the kids came over with her from Ireland, so they have been resident here and completely dependent on her since that move. She was divorced from the clown shortly after they got here, before we got married obviously


3 - Im not sure about comprehensive sickness insurance? She pays NI and I have a life insurance policy on her. It doesn't cover sickness.

Thank you for your reply.

1. Regarding nationality, your family will become applicable for nationality provided they have been in the UK for 5 continuous years and your wife has been exercising treaty rights for 5 years.

Treaty rights can be exercised by either work, study or self sufficiently. By what you have stated it seems that she was working legally in the UK before she was given unrestricted permission and excess to the UK labour market.

EEA nationals who have been in the UK for 5 continuous years automatically obtain permanent residency in the UK and after they have held permanent residency in the UK for 1 year they can then apply for British Citizenship, so a total of 6 years residency in the UK.

However, because your wife is married to you a British Citizen, she is not required to wait the extra year and can apply for British Citizenship as soon as she has completed 5 years in the UK exercising treaty rights. ( Sorry if this is complicated)

In order for your wife to qualify for citizenship she needs to show she has been exercising treaty rights for 5 years in the UK, now there can be short gaps in her employment when she may not have been working , as long as she can show evidence that she was applying for employment during this period.

Because you have mentioned that your wife was on an off work, if you feel that there was a large gap in her employment, then she would need to wait until she has completed 5 years employment in the UK before applying for citizenship.

A citizen application is very expensive so I would suggest you may want to do the following:

1. Apply for permanent residency ( I know she has automatically obtained this if she has worked in the UK for 5 years) but this application is £50 pounds per applicant. If she fails to obtain this then at least you would know whether an application for citizenship would be accepted or not, it would save some money to apply for permanent residency first see if they meet the requirements and if they do, then apply for citizenship. Rather than apply for citizenship get told that there are gaps in her employment and she does not qualify you would loose a lot of money this way.

I hope the advice I have given has given you some idea of how this process works, if you need further clarification please do not hesitate to ask.

I hope this answers your question if so kindly rate my answer positively so I can get credited for my time. If however you feel that the answer does not cover all the points raised in your question please DO NOT rate my answer negatively I will be happy to answer further question until you are satisfied with my answer.

Kind regards
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thanks, XXXXX XXXXX about her 2 children, which was part of the original question? The point in case is that their irish passports expire and so we need to get the UK ones.

Thank you for your reply.

The children would need to apply with the mother because they have been in the UK on her basis. The only other way they may be able to obtain citizenship is under Section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act, please see the following link:

Because they do not qualify for citizenship on the basis of their mother, you may apply using the form MN1 :

You may apply using the above form and state the reason why you believe the child should be issued British citizenship. This would be their only option otherwise they will be issued residency in line with the mother.

I hope this clarifies the matter.

Kind regards
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