June 24, 2010

And Then There Were More...

I was directed to this article in the Crewe Chronicle -

Crewe teenager in passport dilemma told she isn’t British

HASLINGTON teenager who has spent her entire life in the UK is unable to travel abroad because passport authorities told her she isn’t British.

Samantha Jones, 19, who lives in Primrose Avenue with boyfriend John Antrobus, has been told she is not eligible for a British passport despite the fact she was born in Blackburn and her father Chris, who lives in Crewe, was born in Burnley.

Samantha’s mother, Beate Kay nee Steinhaus, who is a German national, has lived in the UK for the last 20 years.

Although, a UK Border Agency spokeswoman said: “Under the British Nationality Act 1981, a person born in the UK on or after January 1, 1983, is a British citizen at birth if, at that time either parent is a British Citizen or either parent is settled in the UK. If citizenship is to be derived from the father’s status, and the child was born before July 1, 2006, then the parents must be married.”

Samantha’s parents were never married and her mother holds only a German passport.

In her frustration, Samantha has also applied for a German passport, only to be rejected as she is not eligible under strict name regulations, unless she changes her surname to Steinhaus.

Samantha has now been told her only option is to fork out £735 to complete a British naturalisation application.

The Air Products account manager said: “If I’m not English and I’m not German then what am I?

“I feel like an alien and I don’t belong anywhere. All I want to do is go on holiday like everyone else.

“I can’t afford £735 and I shouldn’t have to. As far as I know people can come in to this country and take a citizenship test just to prove they know who Winston Churchill is. I’d pass with flying colours but they say I have to pay.”

Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson has written to the UK Border Agency, and in September, the now former Home Secretary Alan Johnson on Samantha’s behalf.

Mr Timpson said: “I sympathise with Samantha’s situation, and having taken up her case, am equally frustrated. However, *the law is the law, and the UKBA is not backing down from its ruling.

“I will be writing to the new Home Secretary to highlight this rather strange set of circumstances.”

* The law doesn't have to be the law. Remember, nationality law was changed in 2002 and 2009, respectively, for all children born to British mothers. Nationality law was changed in 2006 for children born after 1 July 2006 to unmarried British fathers. All of these children are now able to derive UK citizenship from at least one British parent because those laws were changed. Based on this alone, in the case of children born before 1 July 2006 to unmarried British fathers - THE LAW CAN BE CHANGED.


  1. I was so shocked to find this blog - thank you so much, you ROCK! I've been stuck in this position for a few years. My father was born in Glasgow and came to Australia when he was 4. He never naturalised and was deported, supposedly, back to the UK at some point after I was born. They were never married. My mum died a couple of years ago and I've been spending as much time in the UK as I've been allowed, so I can be with my friends who're my family substitute (I'm 21 and an only child). I can only be there for six months at a time before my visitor's visa expires and then I have to stay OUT of the UK for another six months before I'm let back in.
    Now, if they had been married, I'd get a passport. If they got married now, I'd get a passport (slightly hard, considering mum's dead and my dad could be too, for all I know). If the paperwork was all done before I was 18, I'd get a passport. But because they weren't married, I can't, and because mum's dead and I can't find my dad (making the getting married after-the-fact thing impossible), I can't, and because it never occurred to me that I would need to apply for a passport before I turned 18 because my mum was going to die and leave me in an empty house on the other side of the world to the people who approximate my family, I can't.
    I kind of hate it.

  2. Thanks for your story. You should at least know there are many others in your position and we are trying our best to change this ridiculous law.

    Please contact me with an email address you'd like me to use, by using the "Contact Us" box on the right side of the blog. This way, I can keep you updated of any news. Most of my communication is behind the scenes, and your email address will not be used for any other purposes.