Applying for residence card as spouse of Irish Citizen?

  • My partner and I are currently in the UK on her ancestry visa, with me as her 'dependent'.

    As we are now past the 4yr mark we will soon be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, however, the fees are so prohibitive (around £4,600), and we are not planning to stay in the UK for the long-term, that we have started looking at other options.

    To extend the Ancestry visa would cost around £4,000 (£2000 + £2000 health surcharge), so this makes no sense either (as we would then just stump up the additional £600 and get ILR).

    Another option is for her to apply for registration on the Irish Foreign Births Register (her grandfather is an Irish citizen). This would be substantially cheaper and my understanding is that as an Irish citizen she would then be allowed to continue working in the UK.

    If I'm not mistaken, I would then be able to continue-on in the UK as a non-EEA spouse of an EEA citizen and, as such, could apply for a Residence Card? (Though who knows what the Brexit implications will be.)

    So the questions boil down to:

    1. Does the Irish citizenship route make sense for my wife? Will she be able to transition from the ancestry visa to Irish citizen without having to leave the UK or meet some other requirements?
    2. Similarly, does the Residence Card for non-EEA spouses make sense for me? Will I similarly be able to transition from the dependents visa to the non-EEA spouse of an EU citizen status without jumping through hoops or leaving the UK?
    3. Will Brexit be throwing some obvious curveballs that we should consider at this point?
    4. Are there any timeline sensitivities? Our ancestry visa covers us until mid-August 2018. Whereas registration on the Irish Foreign Births Register will likely come through around June. Is EU citizen status / non EEA spouse status automatic at this point, or are there other factors that will take additional time that could place our mid-August deadline in jeopardy? My understanding is that the Residents Card is a formality and so I don't necessarily need to be in receipt of the card prior to mid-August?


  • Immigration Adviser

    Good morning @shongololo

    I will answer your questions in turn:

    1. If your wife does obtain Irish citizenship then this would absolutely be a viable option for you. You would be able to reside in the UK as the family member of an EEA national. You would need to contact the Irish authorities to find out whether you can do this from inside the UK or whether you need to physically be in Ireland. Please do note, however, that you must leave the UK if your UK ancestry visas expire before your wife has a right to be in the UK as an EEA national.

    2. Again, you must contact the Irish authorities to see if your wife is required to apply in Ireland and you must leave the UK if your UK ancestry visas expire before your wife has Irish citizenship.

    3. If your wife carries out this process and you are both in the UK on the basis of her being an EEA national then you will be fine, as EEA nationals in the UK will be protected.

    4. As you would be the direct family member of an EEA national, you don't technically need an EEA residence card, however, we would always recommend obtaining one as this avoids any complications you may have with employment or travel. As per my previous points, as long as your wife holds Irish citizenship before your ancestry visa expires you will be classed as the direct family member of an EEA national.

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