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Hundreds of passport applications for UK-born children of EU nationals rejected 'in error' by Home Office

'I feel they want to make us not welcome here anymore. I feel that from the government and that is very sad.'

Tom Barnes
Thursday 23 August 2018 07:49 BST
Simon Calder explains what will be different about your passport after Brexit

Hundreds of British-born children of European Union (EU) citizens settled in the UK were turned down for passports following a Home Office error.

An “omission” in guidance issued in 2008 and not corrected until 2014 meant families from several eastern European countries were not asked for full documentation when applying for British passports for their children.

As a result, hundreds of parents have seen their children’s passport renewals rejected because necessary details had not been provided during initial applications.

Children born in the UK to parents from “A8” nations that joined the EU in 2004, including Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, are affected by the issue.

The Home Office has apologised for the error and said such cases were now being rectified by passport officials as a priority.

Piotr Lugowski, who has been working in the UK for 13 years, told the BBC that an application to renew his eight-year-old son’s passport had been rejected.

“When he was three-years-old we applied for a British passport for him and we received the passport very quickly, I think within one week, without any problems,” he said. “This year we put in an application for a new one and I was thinking it would be a very quick process, but we started receiving a lot of letters from the Home Office asking for more and more documents.

“I feel they want to make us not welcome here anymore. I feel that from the government and that is very sad.”

British-born children of EU citizens would have been automatically eligible for British citizenship if their parents had registered as permanent UK residents under the now-defunct Workers Registration Scheme.

However, as affected parents were not asked for the documentation at the time of initial applications, they have struggled to obtain proof of records no longer held by the government.

The Home Office said affected families would need to re-register their children as British citizens, a process that would be completed free of charge.

“We want there to be no doubt – if you are settled in the UK legally, any child you have in this country thereafter is British,” it said in a statement. “An error in our guidance meant that some EEA citizens have had difficulty renewing passports for their children. We regret any inconvenience or delay that this has caused.

“In response, we have set up a support function in Her Majesty’s Passport Office to identify renewal applications from the affected group and where appropriate, support them to first register their child as a British citizen. This process does not require the same evidence as a passport renewal, and the Home Office bears the cost. Once that registration process is complete the child is able to make a new passport application.”

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