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Row over ‘stateless’ teenager born in the Outer Hebrides

MP Angus MacNeil
MP Angus MacNeil

The Home Office is trying to settle a row over a ‘stateless’ teenager from the Western Isles.

The 14 year-old – who was born and bred in the Outer Hebrides – has had her passport application refused because she couldn’t provide her mother’s birth certificate.

The youngster was then told she had to apply for registration as a British citizen.

Now Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP, Angus MacNeil, has hit out at the Home Office saying: “This is probably the most callous case I have worked on.”

But 10 years later her father died and her grandparents were given parental rights and responsibilities.

The teenager has been unable to trace her mother or her birth certificate, so her passport application was refused.

On the advice of the Home Office, the family proceeded to apply for registration as a British citizen, but they were subsequently told this was not necessary. Instead, they were asked to submit an application for confirmation of British nationality status. This was also refused because the Home Office is unable to confirm that she is a British citizen.

Mr MacNeil said:  “The family have been going round in circles since the passport application was refused.  The girl’s mother cannot be traced and neither can her birth certificate and the Home Office refuse to accept her late father’s birth certificate – citing the British Nationality Act 1981.

“If the Home Office can’t confirm she is a British citizen, then what is she?  Stateless?

“This is probably the most callous case I have worked on in my time as MP.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Her Majesty’s Passport Office must be satisfied of an applicant’s nationality and identity before a passport will be issued.

“In more complex cases, UK Visas and Immigration will provide further advice to help applicants either supply the evidence that will satisfy these checks or apply to register as a British citizen.

“We have been in touch with the family to discuss the available options.”

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