Anyone who’s read our blog over the years will be familiar with Barry’s Spousal Sponsored Visa/UK citizenship/British Passport journey. Well, finally, nine years after the first successful Visa application at the end of September 2013, Barry has a British passport.
It’s been a long, complex, costly and time-consuming quagmire. We’d imagined having achieved UK citizenship and had the ceremony, applying for a British Passport would’ve been relatively straightforward.
Not at all! Admittedly it should’ve happened in 2020 …
How Long Is The Application Wait?
We initially intended to apply for his passport in 2020 and had planned to be in Liverpool for the potential ‘interview’. Then COVID struck. And our Liverpool docks booking was postponed.
So we put it on the back burner. He had his British citizenship certificate, and we headed to NZ for a year in August 2020.
Barry wasn’t in the least impatient. I was. Having gotten so far, I wanted the end result safely in our hands before heading back to NZ at the end of November this year to meet our new grandson. Having read about lengthy delays of up to 10 weeks in the spring, I thought time was of the essence. Barry completed the application form, got it checked at the Post Office (thankfully, as there were some errors and omissions), and sent it away. It took fourteen weeks and a couple of phone calls to get his NZ passport and British citizenship certificate back. But no British passport. When you make the first passport application, you may have to have a one-on-one interview. On a positive note, since covid, this has been online rather than in person.
He’d known this from the citizenship paperwork. However, had he been able to apply in 2020, he wouldn’t have had to!
“If we have enough information from identity checks, we will not interview an adult customer applying for their first British passport when they:
… were naturalised within the last 12 months and UK Visa and Immigration service’s records confirm the customer’s photo identity and personal details (unless there have been changes to their name since they were naturalised)”https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/interviews-overview-of-the-interview-process/interviews-overview-of-the-interview-process-accessible-version
He was warned there was to be no referring to notes. And he must be alone. No calling a friend if he got stuck on a question.
Add to the complexity the fact that we live on a boat, with my daughter’s address as our mailing/’home’ address. An additional complication, possibly, was the death of Queen Elizabeth II. However, if you reframe this, it meant he’d either get one of the first passports from King Charles III, or one of the last from Queen Elizabeth II.
On the interview day, Barry was in the lounge, and I was in the bedroom. I could hear the questions and responses, and was afraid to cough in case I was overheard, and the interviewee thought I was cribbing Barry! No phoning a friend or asking the audience – and definitely no coughing in strategic places like the 2001 ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ scenario 🙂
It was VERY intense. The questions included:
- Where do you live?
- What landmarks would you see walking from the house to the bus stop (despite Barry informing them that we live on a narrowboat and our physical/mailing address is my daughter’s)?
- Why is your wife called Walsh while you’re called Teutenberg?
- What are your (deceased) parents’ full names
- Did you live with them while growing up?
And many more for about half an hour. Barry did incredibly well. Because he’s honest, and he’s eligible!
Thank You, Queen Elizabeth II
The interviewee wasn’t able to tell Barry he’d passed or failed, but he did receive an email a couple of days later to say his British passport was in the post.
Phew! It turned out to be by appointment of her Majesty, not his …
There must be hundreds, possibly thousands, of British people who would love to live in the UK with their spouse, but due to the mindblowing complexity and cost, they may never do so.
Our hearts go out to you.
We’re grateful we had the time and money to successfully get Barry’s British passport. Now we can spend time in each hemisphere with our children and grandchildren – health and wealth permitting.