The article received overwhelming support and widespread reach that resulted in what can only be described as the generosity of the wider Malayalee community with volunteers offering unstinted support throughout the whole process, both in the UK and in Kerala. What followed in the past month, was a relentless eandeavour by family, friends and volunteers far and wide, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.
Therefore, when Radhamany Amma landed in Heathrow on Friday December 2, it was not just a relief but a time for celebration for the relatives and for the team who worked with this news portal, to get the 80-year-old back home.
Since our report on 7th November on Radhamany Amma, we were inundated with advice, guidance and support from professionals and well-wishers alike which was continuously shared within a WhatsApp group specifically designed to support, help and guide the family. Therefore, each process, decision and communication was reflected within this group and joint efforts were made continuously. There was never a day we didn’t talk or went without an update. Finally, it is our privilege to report and celebrate with the family that we were able to get her back home where she belongs within three weeks.
It wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t name the few who stood with our news portal www.ukmalayalee.com throughout the whole journey (some names have been intentionally left out due to the nature of their jobs). The first call for help came from the family Sheena Nair and Jayaseela which was followed up with a call from a social activist from Oxford (who wishes to remain anonymous), which spurred us to escalate the issue and make concentrated efforts to bring back the elderly woman. The social activist subsequently joined the team and helped in the escalation process and liaisons with officials.
As Radhamany Amma was held up in Kochi, far from her home town of Varkala, another task here was for us to help her out there. It was at this juncture one of the most trusted confidantes of this portal, Febin Cyriac of Envertiz Recruitment, reached out to us with a helping hand from Kochi.
Radhamany Amma met Febin at his office in Kochi and since then it was all dealt with by Febin’s office from completing the application, liaising with the VFS and application submission et al. Meanwhile the team in the UK kept the momentum with the MP Office, Home Office and other higher officials. Finally within 7 days Radhamany Amma was able to secure her Entitlement to the certificate for Right of Abode stamped on her new Indian passport. It wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts in the background and at the same time supporting Radhamany Amma and her family throughout the testing times. A special mention to Mr Shylan, Mrs Rani Shylan and Mrs Geetha Santosh, from Kochi, who looked after Radhamany Amma as their own family, during this ordeal much to the relief of her immediate family who had to focus their efforts on the process of getting her back here. As they say, even in the darkest hours, such acts of selflessness and kindness from strangers, really does re instill our faith in humanity.
Now, let’s dwelve into the real question; why was an application for Certificate of Entitlement to Right of Abode wasn’t made at the onset and why did it take such a long time for them to do this. Yes, we obviously know that this is what is required now. However, the fact remains that there are several people amongst us, who do not know the updated immigration rules regarding the Right of Abode on expired passports.
Following our article our news portal www.ukmalayalee.com, received several calls asking for us to do an article on the rule changes pertaining to Right of Abode. There are also reportedly several others staying in India or Kerala with the Right of Abode in an expired passport; in a very similar situation to Radhamany Amma. Therefore, we have decided to share the changes here using the example of Radhamany Amma’s case with the consent of the family.
Radhamany Amma from Camberley in Surrey made an error of judgment by travelling to India this year in May 2022 with her old Indian passport (where she had the Right of Abode stamp) along with her new Indian passport. This was done under the impression that she can travel with the old and new Indian passports because she has been given the Right of Abode irrespective on which passport it is stamped in. She believed that as long as she has this Right of Abode it is valid irrespective of whether it is in an old passport or a new one.
When Radhamany Amma tried to return from India she was not allowed to travel as the Indian passport which had the Right of Abode stamp had expired which means the validity of the Right of Abode has come to an end. This was an unknown entity to Radhamany Amma or her family as they thought that as long as the Right of Abode is granted (irrespective of the passport expired or not) as long as one carries the two passports together then there wouldn’t be an issue.
Radhamany Amma received wrong advice allegedly from VFS in Kochi which resulted in her applying for a vignette transfer in order to transfer her Certificate of Entitlement to The Right of Abode from her old passport into her current passport. The application was received by Home Office and later after several weeks she was informed that transferring a Right of Abode entitlement certificate from one passport into another is not possible via vignette transfer. Home Office thus asked her to respond to them by email “providing written consent for your vignette transfer application to be withdrawn”. Home Office then asked her to apply for a new certificate of entitlement. During this time Radhamany Amma wrote to her MP and asked for her vignette transfer application to be speeded up and they duly sent letters to Home Office requested this to be processed without knowing the fact that Right of Abode entitlement certificate from one passport into another is not possible via vignette transfer anymore.
There may be several out there in similar circumstances not knowing what is required to resolve this issue. In Radhamany Amma’s case, the VFS provided incorrect advice, MP office too offered incorrect advice and so did the immigration authorities. Meanwhile, the High Commission of India in the UK, said that it has nothing to do with them as it is up to the British High Commission. But the solution was simple and right there. It was just one thing she had to do which was to apply for a new Certificate of Entitlement to The Right of Abode. This is because once the Indian passport in which the Certificate of Entitlement to The Right of Abode is stamped, expires it renders the Right of Abode itself invalid.
Useful guidance: Re-applying Certificate of Entitlement to Right of Abode
The following links will take you to apply for a new Certificate of Entitlement to The Right of Abode if your passport in which the Certificate of Entitlement to The Right of Abode has expired.
You can make this application while in the UK and also from abroad.
Documentation that may be required (this is not an exhaustive list, only indicative of what may be required) : Marriage Certificate, Passport with Right of Abode, New Passport, spouse’s British passport, DWP letters, GP letters.
Please also note the following:
It is very important that you keep the proof of how you secured the Certificate of Entitlement to The Right of Abode (i.e. through your husband who held British Passport or other).
Never dispose off old passports or documents which connect you with this right of abode i.e. how you initially were gifted the Certificate of Entitlement to The Right of Abode.
You can make the application on your own following the links below (from the UK or while abroad). Some solicitors charge between £1,300 and £1500 for just completing this form, some do it for a few hundreds. But always take care not to pay in thousands as it doesn’t cost so much.
An application for certificate of entitlement to right of abode made from the UK costs £372 and an application for certificate of entitlement to right of abode made from outside the UK costs £388
Click to Get help to apply online(You can only use this service if you’re applying in the UK). You can get help with completing the online form if you do not feel confident using a computer or mobile device or do not have internet access