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Monday, February 21, 2011

Citizenship Quandries, a Saga

For most of the past 31 years I have lived in the UK, in Southport. For 5 years from 1991 until 1996 my husband, children and I lived in Tutzing just outside of Munich, Germany. Until 1996, after returning to the UK from Germany I thought, erroneously, that if I became a citizen of the UK, I would have to renounce my American citizenship. Yes, indeed, I can have my cake and eat it too! But ho, ho, ho it would have been so much easier if I had known before we went to Germany.

This is because my husband was in the Royal Air Force and we were in Germany because of his job. If we had only known that my application for citizenship would have been expedited because he was been sent abroad -- but we didn't and so I must 'go with the flow', so to speak... I still have one advantage over normal applications in that I am only required to have been here for three years instead of five. Ahhh, you say, easy peasy you've been there for most of 31 years (minus 5 in Germany). But, ho, ho, hold it!

The rules are that I must have been present in the UK exactly three years prior to the date that my application is received. So I could not have applied until 3 years from the date of my return to the UK in 1996, which would have been July 1, 1999. In 1998 my husband and I bought a summer place in France. In the ensuing years we have spent anywhere from six weeks to 4 months there. And herein is some of the problem. Because you see to qualify for UK citizenship I must not have been out of the country for more than 450 days in the 3 years and in the 12 months prior to applying no more than 90 days. Ho, ho, ho!

There is more .... but wait for it ... I need to lie down!

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