Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Lizzie’s first passport

Lizzie with her passport

Lizzie’s first passport arrived on Friday. She may be only 18 months old, but if we were to travel abroad, then she would need her own passport.

We don’t have any international trips planned; we can’t really afford a holiday right now. But the fact that we didn’t have anything booked meant that this was the ideal time to submit the application. That way, any future trips wouldn’t have been at risk if her passport didn’t come through in time.

In any case, the turnaround on her passport was quick – under a week. I’d expected it to take longer, what with it being her first passport and it approaching peak holiday season. A friend had also encountered delays with her daughter’s passport application, submitted recently. Their situation is somewhat different though; whilst both her and her husband are British citizens, her husband was born outside the UK. I suppose Lizzie is lucky in that respect, that both Christine and I are British citizens who were born here.

We were fortunate that we got both her short-form and full birth certificate when I registered her birth last year. You need to send the full certificate off with the passport application; although it costs extra, it was one less document to have to arrange.

What did surprise me was that the application asks questions about our parents – i.e. Lizzie’s grandparents. This is because of a change in the law that came into effect in 1983 which means that children born in the UK do not automatically get British citizenship if their parents are not British. Christine doesn’t have a relationship with her dad, and so it felt odd having to include his details on the application.

Christine didn’t have her own passport until 2013; previously she had been included on her mum’s passport, as this was a thing you could do in times gone by. She had to apply for one as an adult, and due to the aforementioned 1983 change in the law, this involved attending an interview. This was at the local passport office in Leeds, where she was asked various questions about her life in Britain. Again, this is despite her and both of her parents being British by birth. We had to put back the booking of our honeymoon until this was completed, and her passport still has her maiden name in despite it being issued shortly before our wedding.

At least Lizzie now won’t have to go through this process; we should just be able to renew her child passport every five years with updated photos each time. That’s assuming that there’s no further changes to immigration rules. With Brexit on the horizon, I wouldn’t be surprised if the rules change again.

We’ve tentatively agreed to go on holiday with my parents next summer – this would be the first holiday I’ve taken with my parents since 2003. Possible competition wins aside, I don’t think Lizzie will get a chance to use her passport until then.

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