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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7661
Experience:  UK Lawyer holding practising certficate for England & Wales.
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Hi I have a friend who has been in the UK for twenty years

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Hi I have a friend who has been in the UK for twenty years with no papers. She was born in Rhodesia, fled to South Africa, went to Europe, is married to a Frenchman but he is in France. She is in london and has two children under age six. She is Adrain to apply for uk citizenship as she fears being sent back to South Africa. Will she be ok? She has a marriage certificate and a xerox copy of her Rhodesian birth certificate . Will she be able to get uk citizenship?

Thanks for your question.

Do you mean that your friend is in the UK without leave to remain (ie. that they are illegal in the UK)?

What nationality are the children?

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi tom both children are uk born with birth certificates and the right to a uk passport father is British.
She is thinking because she is an eu spouse she thinks that she doesn't need leave to remain but she is unsure and hasn't left the uk for twenty years she has no papers apart from the marriage certificate
She has not lived in France so the French embassy says she should apply for a British passport
Thank you

Hi Joanna,

Do the children hold UK passports due to their UK father?

Is she in a relationship with the UK father?

Does the UK father live in the UK and have access/contact with the children?

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi tom, yes. Their claim to uk citizenship is on the father's side. They don't have their passports yet but I thought it would be wiser for them to get the passports for the children before applying for her uk citizenship she is doing that now.

The father visits twice a week to see the kids. The mum and father are in good terms but they stopped living together three yrs ago he has since remarried. He would be very supportive in helping her get her citizenship if he can do anything.

Thank you Joanne
Thanks, Joanne.

Drafting your answer now. 5 mins please.

Kind regards

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you tom

Hi Joanne

Thank you for your question and patience, I’m Tom and I’ll try to help you.

I have assumed that by stating that she has no papers you mean that she does not have leave to remain in the UK.

She needs to obtain leave to remain. The fact that she is married to a French citizen does give her a right to stay in the UK if he is outside the UK. Only if they were in a relationship and he were in the UK with her would it mean that she did not leave leave to remain (in these circumstances she would have to apply for a residence card).

If she does not have leave to remain then she is at risk and she must regularise her stay.

At the moment, the most apparent category that she might apply for would be as a Parent with a Right of Access to a child in the UK. In order to be eligible for this visa she would have to show that the children are UK citizens and that their UK citizen has contact/access with them. She would also have to show that she can support/accommodate herself and the children without needing to access public funds.

The fact that she does not have leave to remain is a problem. It is a general ground on which the Home Office could attempt to refuse the visa and require her to make the application from outside the UK. However, there are human rights elements to her circumstances under Article 8 (right to a family and private life) which assist her to an extent and make deportation less likely). Because she does not have leave to remain it will involve getting the Home Office to exercise an element of discretion, this means it will take a long time to sort out.

Once the children are 7 years old her position is much improved and the case for giving her leave to remain is made even stronger, because of the time spent in the UK by the children.

In summary she needs to make an application and because it’s a complicated one she needs a solicitor to do it for her. She needs to shop around and find one that will agree to make the application for her for a fixed fee , then go with the one that is the cheapest but in which she still has confidence.

My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up issues specifically relating to your question.

Kind regards,


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