Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Saturday, 5 July 2008 12:48 UK

Schoolgirl's fight for passport

British passport
Jade Jacobs-Brooks, of Harlow, Essex, has been denied a passport

A 16-year-old schoolgirl is unable to leave the country, open a bank account or get a job - because she does not officially "exist".

Jade Jacobs-Brooks, of Harlow, Essex, was born during a holiday in Spain and due to a mix-up she does not have a valid Spanish birth certificate.

This means that she is unable to register her birth in the UK and is unable to get a passport.

Jade was turned down for a Saturday job because she was unable to prove her ID.

Her parents Victor and Linda have spent 16 years trying to get the necessary paperwork.

'So upsetting'

Unless she can produce a Spanish birth certificate she will have to undergo a 750 Life in the UK citizenship test - usually required of non-English speaking immigrants.

Jade said: "It's so upsetting feeling like I don't exist in this country. My life is on hold at the moment.

"'I can't get a job, a driving licence, go abroad, get married. I couldn't even go on a day trip to France.

"I have been really angry at times but I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to be allowed to live a normal life."

Jade was born in September 1991 at the Veya Baja Hospital, near Alicante on the Costa Blanca.

A few days after leaving hospital the family went to Orihuela civil registry office to register Jade's birth, but received the wrong paperwork.

'Rigorous over passports'

Despite the initial mix-up Jade should still have been able to obtain a full Spanish birth certificate - if she had a certificate from the Veya Baja hospital confirming her birth, but was told: "There is no mention of her."

Like all UK residents, she can get treatment on the NHS, go to school and holds a National Insurance number.

The Home Office said they were unable to comment on individual cases but said a citizenship test may be the best way to resolve the issue.

"A passport will not be issued until the applicant's identity and nationality has been satisfactorily confirmed," said a spokesperson.

"We are pretty rigorous about who we give passports to."


SEE ALSO
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20 Mar 07 |  UK Politics

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