EU and US citizen, no passport, considering move to UK - Considerations?
August 10, 2009 7:27 PM   Subscribe

U.S. citizen considering potential move to U.K. within next five years. Has E.U. citizenship but no passport (citizen of Ireland via FBR - can apply for passport). What are the challenges I need to consider?

Do not have job, UK boyfriend or other easy means of obtaining a visa. But, is it necessary with EU citizenship? Would everything be easier with an EU (Irish) passport? I understand it's illegal to use a tourist visa to search for a job, so I certainly don't want to get busted there. Any suggestions for this clearly long-term plan?
posted by MeetMegan to Law & Government (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you have an Irish passport you can work anywhere in the EU without a visa. It's great!
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:30 PM on August 10, 2009

Yeah, you're all set. You will need to actually enter the country on your Irish credentials, though. Getting that passport might be a good idea.
posted by kickingtheground at 7:35 PM on August 10, 2009

Would everything be easier with an EU (Irish) passport?

Yes. You'd also be entitled to NHS treatment in the UK -- possibly straight away as a temporary resident, but certainly after three months. You won't have the right to any unemployment benefits (for obvious reasons) while you're looking for a job, and you'll most likely need to register for National Insurance contributions, because while your passport may be green, you won't have the exemption that Irish residents can get.

So, get that passport.
posted by holgate at 7:43 PM on August 10, 2009

Well, a passport is a document proving that you are a citizen. If you don't get it, then for all intents and purposes you are not a citizen. So get it.
posted by jacalata at 8:58 PM on August 10, 2009

Just echoing that the EU passport is carte blanche. However - as someone going through an unexpectedly multi-year process with Italy (becoming a dual citizen thorugh showing a lot of documents to consulates, etc.) - I have to URGE you to start as soon as possible, even though I can't see how a country of four million people could take years to give you a passport you're entitled to.

America lets you have as many passports as you want, basically, as does Ireland. But setting a goal of having the passport by Christmas/next summer/etc is a good idea, because who knows what can happen to Irish immigration law in the next decade or so. It's also nice to be able to travel with it to save on visa costs. Head to Brazil or Turkey or Russia or something in the next couple of years and the new passport will have paid for itself.
posted by mdonley at 10:24 PM on August 10, 2009

The FBR process will be long and arduous so the long-term plan is to start now. It can take approximately forever in a country of 4 million people because of those 4 million, one is emplyed to do FBR applications, and he only does them on alternate Thursdays with a full moon and only as long as there is a budget for processing. There is also a small chance the law will change now that we're in a recession, so again: start now.

Your EU passport is a golden ticket. Once you have it, you can live and work anywhere in the EU. Bingo!
posted by DarlingBri at 12:12 AM on August 11, 2009

I can't imagine why you wouldn't just get the passport. For everything that your citizenship will allow you to do, you will need to prove that you're a citizen, and that's pretty much the point of the passport. Also that link you provide speaks of an "entitlement to Irish citizenship" -- in other words, it sounds like without the passport you are merely entitled to be a citizen but not yet a citizen. At this point it sounds like you have no documentation of your "citizenship" of any sort whatsoever. Showing customs your parents' passports will not impress.

No matter how long and complicated the FBR process is, I promise you that living in Europe without an EU passport will be even more long and complicated. Note: for ne as a "German" the FBR process took about an hour back in 1996.
posted by creasy boy at 1:02 AM on August 11, 2009

Has E.U. citizenship but no passport (citizen of Ireland via FBR - can apply for passport)...But, is it necessary with EU citizenship?

It seems to me that the confusion in this question arises from the belief that there is such a thing as an independent EU citizenship. There isn't. The EU does not issue passports.

When people say EU citizenship, they really mean citizenship of an EU member country. So, yes, the first step is to show you are a citizen of an EU country - in this case Ireland. Thus, the first step, before anything else, is to get that passport.
posted by vacapinta at 1:18 AM on August 11, 2009

Absolutely, get the passport, and pat yourself on the back for having avoided the tortuous, expensive and invasive process of becoming a citizen of an EU country any other way.

One thing to note, while the US and EU countries do not restrict the numbers of passports you can hold, they do not recognise them, so you must always enter a country you are a citizen of on the passport of that country. If you have American and Irish citizenship, you enter and leave the US on a US passport, and enter and leave Ireland on your Irish passport. Anywhere else, use whichever is more convenient (i.e. many countries require visas for US citizens, but not Irish, and vice versa, so use whichever seems the best bet).

But yes, to emphasise again, get in touch with your local Irish consulate and get the FBR process started as soon as you can, as there's not telling how long it might take or what you'll need to produce. It will, however, be very worth it, as you'll suddenly have the ability to live and work pretty much unrestricted in every EU member state and most EEA member states too.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:48 AM on August 11, 2009

Echoing everyone to get the passport, as soon as possible. You will find it much easier to work in the UK as an Irish citizen than as a US citizen. The application process for a work permit is tortuous, and it seems as though the goal of the Home Office is to ensure that as few applications as possible are successful (they will decline your application for any error, no matter how trivial - including answering nationality as 'India' rather than 'Indian').

You will also be able to travel round Europe more easily, taking advantage of the EU citizens queue at customs/immigration, rather than queuing with the rest of us foreigners.

(One warning: you might be advised to mention your dual nationality on any job applications, especially government ones. A friend of mine was marched out of her government office by security. She hadn't mentioned that she held dual Irish nationality, and was therefore considered a security risk, because it implied she had something to hide. This was a while back, when the IRA was still bombing London, so things may have changed. But I wouldn't risk it - there's no harm in mentioning it).
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:30 AM on August 11, 2009

OP says she has FBR --- assuming she does, with the official cert and everything, then she should lready have the necessary docs for the passport. When I applied it took about six weeks, as I recall.
posted by Diablevert at 5:56 AM on August 11, 2009

Response by poster: OK, I already have gone through the FBR process, so all I have to do is apply for a passport. I just was unclear on the "rules" or benefits of using my Irish passport in the UK. Thanks to all who have replied.
posted by MeetMegan at 7:54 AM on August 11, 2009

Just in case people search on this thread later (because it sounds like you should get your passport ASAP, given your desire to move soon), immigration laws don't change in a heartbeat. In fact, Ireland recently tightened up their citizenship eligibility, but mostly it affected individuals born after 2005 or 2006, or around then. And they gave advance notice about this for several years beforehand.

Also, as far as I know, you don't need a passport to validate your citizenship, nor does owning a passport change your status. You either are a citizen or you're not. Whether or not you actually own a passport is beside the point.

Having said that, it's always wise to keep up with this sort of thing in case the laws do change again. As I said, though, you will almost certainly have years to make plans if they do.
posted by hiteleven at 4:50 PM on August 11, 2009

you don't need a passport to validate your citizenship, nor does owning a passport change your status

Technically true, perhaps, but for immigration purposes you don't travel as a citizen of anywhere, you travel as a passport holder. That's why people care when they lose them.

One other reason to do things in advance is that in some cases, your status at the time your children are born will affect their eligibility for things.
posted by jacalata at 5:52 PM on August 11, 2009

You either are a citizen or you're not. Whether or not you actually own a passport is beside the point.

Well, it's often a kind of back-referencing when it's citizenship by descent, in that the passport indicates a citizenship that you've technically held since birth but just haven't known about. Identity exists in a space defined by networks of trust and collections of tokens.
posted by holgate at 8:06 PM on August 11, 2009

Also, as far as I know, you don't need a passport to validate your citizenship, nor does owning a passport change your status. You either are a citizen or you're not. Whether or not you actually own a passport is beside the point.

It may be beside the point on an intellectual basis, but on a practical one, if the OP wants to move around the EU, work in the UK and easily access the many priviledges of being an EU citizen, a passport is a must, as for nearly every purpose, limits on stay, right to work and everything else relies on how you present yourself at the point of entry into the country, not how you assert yourself once in the country. If the OP only had a US passport, she would be allowed entry as a US citizen, with all the restrictions that apply, even if she had other evidence of Irish citizenship. If entering on an Irish passport however, she'd have no restrictions on stay in Ireland, and very little to address if she wanted to work and live in the UK (many EU countries ask you to apply for a residence permit if you plan to stay for a long time, but it's a formality). Doing all of these things will be vastly easier with an Irish passport.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:07 AM on August 12, 2009

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