London, August 31, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Thanasis Gavos
The Cypriot consular services in the UK have seen a rise in enquiries about acquiring the EU member-state’s citizenship and passport in the wake of the Brexit vote.
A similar rise has been reported by many other EU countries, especially Ireland, as UK residents are anxious to get their hands on European passports in order to be able to bypass any hindrances to future trips to and within mainland Europe.
In the two months since the UK referendum, there have been about 250 phone calls to the Cypriot passport department in London. All but a few of these calls have come from second and third generation Cypriots who have spent most or all of their life in the UK, never having obtained the Cypriot passport.
Such Cypriots, who fulfil certain criteria, are automatically entitled to the Cyprus citizenship and the whole process of acquiring a passport of their parents’ motherland is relatively straightforward, as they simply need to prove their Cypriot decent. Some UK Cypriot families have already started submitting their passport applications.
In the few cases of Britons that have called in to ask how easy it would be to claim a Cypriot passport, there has been no application yet.
The whole procedure takes 4 to 5 months or even more, as each case is carefully examined; and in the cases of successful applications the passports are issued by the relevant authority in Nicosia.
The uncertainty over what Brexit will mean for people living in the UK has not receded, as the British government has yet to clarify its strategy and aims.
Ireland’s embassy and post offices in Northern Ireland received more than 4,000 enquiries in a single day the week after the June referendum, compared with the 200 it normally received.
Anyone born in the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland or with an Irish parent or grandparent, is eligible for an Irish passport – some 6 million people living in the UK.
This unprecedented rush for Irish passports prompted the country’s Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan to appeal to Britons to stop applying, as the surge threatened to overwhelm Irish consular offices.