Northern Irish woman’s husband wins appeal for visa after she refused to identify as British
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Northern Irish woman’s husband wins appeal for visa after she refused to identify as British

A NORTHERN Irish woman and her American husband have won their appeal for a visa.

Derry woman Emma DeSouza and her husband Jake got married in July 2015 but his application for a residence visa was denied when his spouse noted her identity as Irish on his application.

Speaking to The Irish Post in July of this year, Emma said "The Home Office refused the application because we applied for a resident’s card as I identify as Irish only so I classify as an EEA national. They said that I’m British by birth because I was born in Northern Ireland, but I’ve never ticked anything as British, I’ve never applied for anything as British, I’ve only ever travelled on my Irish passport and introduced myself as Irish. It’s very frustrating.

"They gave us an option in the refusal letter that said if you want to be Irish only you have to renounce the birthright to British citizenship that you have, which isn’t too much of an issue but the first line of the piece of paper says, ‘I am a British citizen’.

"So first you have to declare your citizenship as British – then denounce it. For me it was a conflict of interest, why should I have to say that I’m something I’m not in order to get through this process?"

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The couple were previously waiting for a tribunal to complain about the retention of Mr DeSouza's passport, preventing him from leaving Northern Ireland and thus making him extremely homesick,

However, after two years of waiting, the couple have received confirmation that the judge overseeing their case had granted the couple's appeal and found that Mr DeSouza was legible for a residence card.

Speaking to The Irish Times,  Mrs DeSouza spoke of her relief at the decision.

"It felt like the visa and immigration department were implying my choice to identify as Irish was merely a lesser or partial identity.

"We understood that British Nationality laws were not changed to align with citizens rights post the Good Friday Agreement but felt that a peace keeping international treaty carried more weight...We have stayed the course because we feel like choosing a life here should not mean compromising who we are."