On Tuesday the 17th of October, the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK hosted a packed Citizenship Seminar for EU/EEA nationals wishing to obtain permanent residency in the UK and/or British citizenship, and UK Cypriots wishing to obtain Cypriot citizenship. The audience had the opportunity to hear from experts and ask them questions about their personal situation or more generally about the processes and criteria involved. Much of the interest in these two topics was a result of the uncertainty around Britain leaving the EU but the seminar was concerned with the positives or negatives of Brexit; it simply provided practical advice for those that were present.

Two experts on the issues covered in the seminar outlined the current process and gave informed answers to questions from members of the public. Victoria Sharkey, a specialist immigration lawyer, spoke in detail about how EU/EEA nationals could acquire permanent residency in the UK and British citizenship. Ms Sharkey outlined the eligibility criteria and answered a number of questions from the audience about their individual cases. She was able to draw on her years of experience in the field of immigration law and responded to peoples questions with insightful advice and recommended the next steps that they may wish to take. She also recommended that EU/EEA nationals follow the latest news and developments regarding the Brexit negotiations as the situation is constantly changing.

The Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus to the UK, Mr Ioannis Koukoularides, addressed the audience and explained several of the key issues related to Cypriot citizenship. Mr Koukoularides spoke about the process of obtaining Cypriot citizenship and the documents that needed to be apostilled and taken to the Cyprus High Commission in order for the application to be accepted. He also explained that since the vote for Brexit, the average waiting time for a Cypriot citizenship application has increased from 3 month to around 12 months. Mr Koukoularides spoke about the fascinating history of Cypriot citizenship and the context in which some of the laws that determine eligibility came about. Mr Koukoularides then took several questions from the audience and, in many cases, clarified for people the process of becoming a Cypriot citizen. He said that the most simple way of claiming Cypriot citizenship as a British-born Cypriot is through a parent or grandparent – anyone who has a parent or grandparent born in Cyprus is eligible for Cypriot citizenship. He informed individuals that the Consulate is open Monday – Friday: 9:30am – 1:00pm. Further information can be found on the Cyprus High Commission’s website (www.mfa.gov.cy/highcomlondon).