As a proud Suffolk boy, I was devastated to receive my daughter's rejected passport application

My mother was an English teacher, and my ex-RAF father ran the local working men's club. How much more British can you get?

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The Independent Online

This week, I received an email informing me there is no appeals process for my daughter’s rejected passport application.

I am a proud father currently living in Thailand with my Thai girlfriend Priyakorn and daughter Leona. I have lived in Thailand for six years as an English teacher. Life is good out here. I have a good job, a nice home, lovely friends and a wonderful family. I am happy here and see my long-term future here. But it’s no secret that Thailand is not exactly the most stable of countries.

I have lived through a coup, a military government, floods, riots and near weekly bouts of Bangkok Belly from the amazing, but cripplingly spicy, Thai food. But I love it here. I have no intentions to leave right now - but having the option of bringing my family to the UK later in life was something I found reassuring, if not a necessity.

However, my passport application for my little girl was rejected. As per the rejection letter, I have looked at the NS form as suggested. This form is to determine whether my daughter has a claim to UK citizenship when applying for a passport. This form clearly states that as I am British by Descent I cannot pass my citizenship to my daughter. 

I have also noted the MN1 form that can allow British citizenship application. This is an option. But one thing is for certain: I can’t afford the legal bills, citizenship fees and expensive correspondence on my teachers’ salary. It does seem rather cruel and random to have to go through simply as I was born abroad.

The problem seems to mainly arise from the fact I was born in Saudi Arabia. I lived there for six months and then moved to England. My mother worked in Saudi as an English teacher, a profession she dutifully carried out in England for over 20 years. And my father worked in Saudi on an airbase using the skills he learned in the RAF.

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RAF and an English teacher. I’m not sure which part of my family history disqualifies us from passing on our citizenship. Please can we be more British?

It seems terribly unfair to punish my little girl for the arbitrary circumstances of my birth – something I had no control over either. I have no memory or any connection to that country at all. I am a proud Suffolk boy. I know my family isn't original Suffolk, but my dad ran the local workingmen’s club. Again, how much more British can you get?

I know I used to run around shouting about how I’m not English because of my Irish and Scottish heritage, and supported any team in any sport that played ever them. Am I being punished for cheering too loudly when Ronaldino chipped the ball over David Seaman’s head?

My little Leona is not a “dangerous foreigner”. She is not a threat to the UK. And I find it hard to accept, as her father who grew up in leafy Suffolk, who worked hard, who paid his taxes, the father who even wears his kilts while living in Thailand, that my little girl isn’t allowed to hold the same passport as me.

I am now in the position of having to ask for permission to bring my girl to the UK. And, in the future, I’ll have to ask the Home Secretary’s permission to give her a visa every time I want to take her to meet my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. I have to say it doesn't feel right.

(And if my visa application is rejected, and she’s not even allowed a visit, I swear I’ll rip up my UK passport and send it to Theresa May wrapped in one of Leona’s nappies.)

Really, this is about Britain’s loss – because my daughter is amazing. Thai, British or whatever nationality she holds, of course we love her exactly the same. I just only hope she grows up to be a footballer and knocks England out of the world cup one day.