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Page last updated at 06:37 GMT, Monday, 12 July 2010 07:37 UK
Teenager Samantha appeals over British passport dilemma
UK Passport
Samantha Jones was born in England but can't get a British passport

South Cheshire teenager Samantha Jones was born and has lived in England all her life - but can't get a British passport.

Although her father is British and her mother German, they never married, which means she is neither British nor German under the law.

Even if she can prove she has lived here since birth, the necessary papers will cost her hundreds of pounds.

The law affects her right to work as well as travel.

The British Nationality Act 1981 states that, if a child was born before July 2006, the parents must be married for the child to have an automatic right to citizenship. Samantha's mother, Beate Steinhaus, carries only a German passport.


Ms Jones, who has taken her father's surname, has been making enquiries through the Border Agency: "It's incredibly frustrating, because the law does have exceptions, but they are complicated for an ordinary person to understand!

"I could apply for naturalisation but that will cost more than £750, and even if I can prove my existence long-term in England, through doctor's notes and such, even that will cost more than five hundred pounds."

Ms Jones, who is nineteen years old, has also enquired if she can get a German passport. She was told she is not eligible under strict name regulation. To satisfy them, she would have to change her surname to Steinhaus.

"It's not just that I can't travel abroad on holiday, but that some employers are reluctant to take on the paperwork involved in employing me."

Human Rights

The law has been altered to take into account European laws on human rights, and makes it easier now for children in similar situations.
However, it is not retrospective, and only affects recently-born children: no child born after July 2006 will face Samantha's dilemma.

Samantha says it's invidious that she should be in a position where, even though she was born here, she should have to pay out hundreds of pounds to establish her rights. She says she will continue to appeal against her situation.

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