Boston-born woman whose Irish citizenship application was granted last year could risk losing it again as a visit to her sick father in the US proves a huge set back.
Megan Crowley may have to pull her current application in order to travel to America.
The 36-year-old, who lives in Belfast, received notification that her Irish citizenship application had been approved just days before Christmas.
However, she was then asked to provide proof of her permission to remain in the UK as her British leave-to-remain visa she held at the time expired in December. Her passport is currently still with the British offices.
She may now have to pull her current application as she needs to get back home to Boston urgently to visit her sick father. A new visa application may be necessary and she could be waiting months.
“In the UK, they have my passport until a decision is made," the mum-of-four explained to The Sun.
"But I have to pull my application to get my passport back. I’m going to have to start again, which means I may never get my Irish one. Everything is so complicated.”
Crowley, who is currently studying at Queen's University, and her Irish citizen husband met several senators at the Dáil, as she awaited word on when she can expect to become an Irish citizen.
She will miss out on today’s citizenship ceremony in Killarney, Co. Kerry (the first of the year).
The couple met in 2004 in Boston and married in 2006 before soon moving to Belfast.
After arriving in the United Kingdom, Crowley was granted temporary leave to remain, but recently her request for an extension was declined by Britain’s Home Office.
On the advice of the local Sinn Féin legislator, she applied for an Irish citizenship in March 2017 but faced a huge wait before she finally heard back from Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.
"I don’t know how much more straightforward our application could be. We’ve been married for 12 years; we’ve been living on the island for nine," she said late last year.
"The requirement is only to be living here for three and married for one year. So we’ve far surpassed any requirement. I’ve never been in jail. I’ve never been in trouble. I’m not involved in anything. I’ve not even had any traffic violations here or in America.”
"I love this city. I love the people here. People are so nice and so kind. I would hate to leave Ireland. I would hate to leave my kids," she said.