"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Letter from the mother of a British citizen

Below is a very slightly edited letter sent to us from American citizen Angie Smith, mother to and partner of British citizens. After an extremely protracted and difficult battle with the Home Office, Angie on Christmas Eve finally received confirmation of her right to stay with her daughter. Angie is firm in her belief that UK's family immigration rules are poor and Home Office behaviour questionable, when they would rather deport her, which would mean her British child would need to go into foster care, than have a non-British mother of a British citizen remain in the UK. 

Angie had to go to court to look out for her child's best interest, because the MPs paid to represent us are not doing their job, they're not upholding the law, nor are they abiding by their own party manifesto to respect families who they state are 'the bedrock of society'.  

Unfortunately, unlike Angie, many families cannot afford to take on the government in court. For them family break-ups and living in exile remain the only options until the government affords respect to families, and changes our immigration rules, regulations and practices, ensuring they reflect common sense and compassion.  

"2014 has been such a difficult year only because I have had a major fight with the Home Office to stay in the country with my daughter, Ceilidh and partner Matthew.  That fight came to a conclusion on 24 December when I finally received a five year residence card.  The fight should never have found its way to me.  I applied for the residence card in July 2013 as my previous VISA was due to expire in December 2013. The Home Office directed me to apply for a Derivative right of residence card as the mother of a British child so I dutifully did as they suggested.  I had already been living here and supporting my daughter for more than five years previously so fully qualified to remain under those guidelines. 

During the course of 2013, my application was sent back to me unprocessed, then after being returned, was lost by Home Office workers for several months, sent to the wrong processing department for an unknown amount of time and finally rejected for no logical reason.  In April 2014, after the application had been lost and four months behind on the promised processing time I received the very blunt response that I had to immediately abandon my daughter and leave the UK.  Scotland had been my home for six years and I was ordered to leave.  Worse yet, my daughter was not allowed to leave and would have had to go into foster care costing the taxpayer upwards of £75,000 per year for the remainder of her childhood.  That would have been a total bill of £ 375,000 paid by you. What a senseless decision this was!

Much of my fight has been made public but since August I have had to remain somewhat quiet as a court order specified that I not speak of my own court case.  I will continue to honour that order as I have no intention to share the details of court proceedings.  I can now tell you however that the case is finally resolved and we won.  Two separate judges agreed that the Home Office has to issue me with a residence card.  This after having to fight and waste a great deal of money and time.

Even after those orders were made, the Home Office still refused to obey the orders.  Thanks to the continued prodding of Cllr Donald Morrison and my solicitor, they finally issued my card on Christmas Eve.  It has been a very long, stressful and expensive battle which could not have been won solely on my own.  Therefore I would like to humbly and graciously thank everyone who has helped to win this battle.

My partner Matthew has paid for my lawyer, supported Ceilidh and I financially and has also offered an enormous amount of emotional support and unconditional love.  Without him, our fight would have been lost so it is impossible to articulate the intensity of my gratitude and love for him and also his family.  It is such a blessing to be part of this beautiful family.   I must mention my friend Kim who has also offered the sort of support and love which has kept me sane.  Kim set aside her own life in an instant back in April to help me and has continued with her selfless support throughout the year.  For that I am blessed. 

Ceilidh has shown such a great amount of dignity through this year’s stress which reinforces what I have always known; my daughter is the classiest woman I know and my pride shines knowing that she is mine. 

The amount of supportive letters I received when this began was positively overwhelming.  I have always known that my friends were brilliant but to have this personified in the past year has truly been an amazing experience.  I feel like the most loved person on earth.  The letters from all of you were indeed used in the court case so not only did they provide me with a sense of emotional support, they helped to articulate to the judge  the insanity of the Home Office’s attempt to deport me and the reason I should continue to live in Scotland. 

Along the same lines, the support offered from the local community in Arbroath, Tayside and many other places in Scotland, I was reminded how fortunate I am to have been adopted by such a lovely community.  The response from strangers and friends alike has warmed my heart.  Knowing that this support exists has kept me strong and positive. 

Angus Council has been very understanding so my thanks must go to them as well.  My co-workers , associates and managers have had to accommodate changing schedules and confusion whilst the Home Office took such a long time to confirm my work eligibility.  Thank you for your patience and help in sorting this.

Thanks to my solicitor Jamie Kerr for all of your hard work and guidance. It certainly has not been a straight forward case so thanks for all the research you have done.

Finally to Cllr Donald Morrison and the other wonderful folk in the SNP branch.  Thanks for keeping on top of all of the correspondence and helping to decipher confusing Home Office nonsense.  You are the reason I won my fight in 2009, 2010 and 2014.  You are Fabulous!

In conclusion, I would like to remind everyone that although my small battle with the Home Office has been won, there still rages a war which many people don’t even know exists.  During my own struggle to remain in the UK legally, I learned that thousands of other legal immigrants have been deported already and thousands more are going through the same process at the moment. 

The Home Office has succeeded in deporting hard working family members of British citizens, bankrupting thousands of innocent people and wasting billions in taxes.

The rules which govern immigration in the UK are unjust and insane.  Even for those of us who qualify to remain within these extremely difficult family immigration rules, the Home Office use underhanded tactics and actually violate their own guidelines in an effort to cull the population of immigrants.  They have no consideration for the lives that are being ruined and the vast amount of money wasted just so that they can boast that a few more immigrants have been deported.

What they fail to report to you is that the sort of immigrants being targeted are the ones who contribute the most to the UK society and who are less likely to ever become a burden. Basically, they go for the “easy targets”.   In fact, after these fine people are deported, the gap left in society actually harms the communities who relied on these particular immigrants.

You have all been lied to about the negative impact of immigration.  Without immigrants, the NHS would crumble, the UK would lose billions in revenue and taxes, the education system would suffer enormously, hundreds of Universities would be forced to close and utter chaos would consume every community.  This is a nation built upon the positive influence from various cultures.  Immigration is the foundation of the UK society and economy.  Just as individual Brits are welcomed in all nations of the world, so should the UK welcome the cultural influence from these other nations.

British families will continue to suffer and communities will feel the impact left every time anther family and/or individual has been devastated.  I have spoken with the victims and cried with the families and individuals who have been negatively affected.  Please, before you decide to judge someone based on their origin of birth and/or reason for residing in the UK, do your research.  There are several wonderful organisations which work to raises awareness of Home Office practices. 

BritCits and Right to Remain (addresses copied below) are just two of many which help to highlight the plight of immigrants in the UK.  The volunteers working for these organisations contribute a great deal of time researching the facts.  They also offer support and guidance to those of us affected by Home Office's unjust rules and their questionable application.  In short, they know what they are talking about so please take a look at their sites and support the great work that they do.  These pages are not only for helping but also for informing.  They speak the truth.

Right to Remain   http://righttoremain.org.uk/

When my personal battle erupted in April, my beautiful friend Kim set up a facebook page to help inform and gather support.  The appropriately named “Dinnae deport oor Arbroath angie”  https://www.facebook.com/helpangiefayefighttostay?fref=ts   has certainly accomplished a short term goal.  This page will remain alive and active because although I have won my case, I vow to continue to highlight the thousands of cases of Home Office abuse and corruption.  This raging war found me and my goal is to continue to campaign, share the truth and support other victims until the Home Office decides to see sense.  Please continue to support the cause.  We all want to live in a better Britain and this is one step towards that.

Thank you all again for everything.  I am truly blessed.

Angela Faye Smith"

More on Angie's plight here.


  1. Hi, I am into a similar situation. I am married to a brit citizen and we live together in London.
    We have no children yet and we love each other so much. She is not currently earning £18600 but we have enough money to support ourselves here in the Uk...
    Also, she went back into full time studies in September 2014 to become a qualified teacher ( 4 months left) . And before my visa ran out, in October 2014 I applied for a UK residence permit.
    They say it should take no more than 8 weeks to process but mine has been in their cupboards for more than 11 weeks now.
    I am looking forward to take a job offer now but I can't cause they still have my passport.
    I don't know what to do given that it's more than 8 weeks now since then.
    Please help

  2. Presumably you mean a settlement visa? Who told you it would take no more than 8 weeks? Perhaps contact them to follow up.

  3. Yeap I meant a settlement visa also called spouse visa.
    On the ukba website it says that they normally take 8 weeks to process applications and this info has been u

    1. This info was updatee on the 31 /December /2014.
      Also, I rang them a couple of times but they say that my application has been processed by 85%.

      I am abit worried.

    2. Hi Phineas - the estimates on the website can vary enornously. I think my wife was past the 95% point when we got our initial entry visa!

      It depends on the station, the time of year, and many other factors. It's nerve-wracking for sure but in and of itself you should bear that in mind.

    3. Thanks Steven, it's been 11 weeks now since I applied for a spouse visa.
      I know of someone who received his biometric card in 8 weeks.
      May be it's because my wife does not earn exactly £18,600
      In this case I am abit worried that they will put my application on hold and refuse it later as I have heard from some people.
      My question is should I write to them asking them why it's taking long.

  4. I've just found out that my wife , an American, has been refused entry to come and settle with me and our three kids. All girls aged 10,7,4. This is an absolute nightmare.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that, but as you'll see from this site, its the position of many families. What was the reason for the refusal?

  5. Hi Phineas, you lose nothing by politely asking them for an update, given the mismatch between your application processing and their estimated timescales. However just heard of a citizenship application taking 6+ months....part of it could be linked to keeping numbers down pre election, or over burdened staff. Keep us updated and best of luck.

    1. My application has been refused , reasons being that my spouse do not earn 18,600.
      I am so disappointed, on the letter of decision a paragraph outlines the fact that I and my wife claim that we are an exempt to meeting the threshold income.
      We have applied for PIP formely called DLA but our application is still pending with them and non of their staff knows when my wife will be booked for an interview.
      Also I have decided to appeal but but with no supporting documents from PIP I will have to just feel the appeal form, pay the fee and let them know that I am still waiting for our application to PIP TO BE fully processed.
      I decided to appeal by writing, given that I believe it's just a letter from PIP that will bring us through.

      Please let me know if I am on the right route and any suggestion is highly welcomed.

      Contact ; davlan.pd@gmail.com

  6. Hi Phineas..it seems like ti may have been better to wait for that letter confirming the DLA before applying; not sure on appeal how a judge will view 'new' information. Good luck with the appeal, and if appeal is not successful by then at least you should hopefully have the DLA letter and re-applying will be a smooth process. if in any doubt, please do seek specialist legal/immigration advice.

  7. Hi Brit cits. I have a similar story with the mother. I am also a mother of a british 1 year old baby. im currently breastfeeding him and my husband who is a british citizen got stage 4 chronic renal disease. we already went to the tribunal and we won the case. unfortunately home office has sent another appeal to the higher court they want to deport me and make a fresh application back home. for what??? im already here in the uk by the way. when we go back home we cant afford to live there because we have no job in there. my husbands condition is another thing. if something we dont want to happen, happen we have no money to pay for the medications and treatment. and the fact that my baby depends on me is another hindrance of me to be deported. Our schedule of appeal to court qill bw on 21 of January. I am really terrified as as to what will be the result of the hearing. still hoping for them to approve my spouse visa as we already spent thousands of money for this case. Can anyone give me advise regarding my situation. or anybody has the same situatiin with me that visa has been granted.??

  8. Hi there, I'm writing to you in desperation. My partner and I are facing a tough time appealing for him to remain in the UK. Our back story- we met in the USA in November 2013, I visited three times for short stays during 2014 and in October 2014 he came here on a visitor visa (he is a U.S. citizen, I'm s British citizen and have lived in England all of my life). The plan was for him to go back and forth until we could marry and apply for a spouse visa (although I'm currently self employed and not earning the required amount), BUT then I fell pregnant. We applied for leave for him to remain using the FLR-O form, hoping that the pregnancy and impending birth (due 8th September) would be enough to allow him to stay under human rights grounds. We have just received a letter of refusal but that we have the right to appeal, which I think is our only hope for us to stay together as a family. I'm currently going through divorce proceedings with my ex husband and hope that by the hearing, I will be free to marry. I'm not sure if that helps the situation. I also have two children with my ex husband, who have established a very close bond with my partner. He is unable to work, drive and support us financially and therefore, I am forced to work through any maternity period I would have otherwise had, trying to build up enough to get us closer to the required earnings. The worry and stress is obviously eating away at me and I'm not sleeping, I feel that it's affecting my health. I don't know what our options are, other than to appeal and pray that he will be allowed to stay once the child is born, under human rights grounds. I would really appreciate ANY advice or help you can give me, I'm at my wits end.

  9. I have a different but same situation right now. I am battling to remain in UK since 2012 to be with my mother who is now a british citizen and my brother. I came to UK as a tourist i supposed to go back to my country but there was a situation I stayed in UK. Since then the Home office denied my indifinite to remain as an adult dependant, they say all the ties and family are back to my country and my life is in there. By 2013, I met my ex partner,an EU Citizen and a year later we had a baby. Because of my immigration status my partner and i got separated and i'am taking care our daughter a 5 months old who is breast feed since june 2014. By August 2014 I applied as derivative residence card a primary carer of my 1 year old daughter, an Eu National. The home office refuses because of that my ex partner have a share responsibility and can take care my daughter. and also my mother who is british can take care of her. But it is all wrong my ex-partner, haven't prove to my daughter any financial and care since we got separated he even cut the communication between us after he return to his country. My mother is full time working and yes she provide us financially but she is not qualified to look after my daughter. I would appreciate any advice or help in my situation you can give me. Thank you so much