Dom Wolf (32) has been required by British authorities to take a UK citizenship test because he cannot prove that his mother was residing legally in the country when he was born. Wolf, who says he feels betrayed by the country of his birth, has written to Prime Minister Theresa May and asked for her intercession.
His parents arrived in the UK in 1974 while his mother lectured at the University of London and his father was self-employed. While they were entitled to live and work in the UK according EU regulations, Wolf must still prove his mother’s legal residence when she gave birth.
Wolf explained in a letter to May that his parents provided him with a German passport as a legacy, but he never considered applying for a British passport until last year’s Brexit referendum vote because it was not necessary. “Holding a British birth certificate and having had my parents live, work and raise four boys in the UK for over 42 years, I made the devastating assumption that this would be an easy process. Oh boy was I wrong,” he wrote.
Wolf complained that the British Passport Office his birth certificate was insufficient to prove his eligibility for a British passport. The government has demanded tax or employment records for his mother. However, the University of London no longer has records from 1982, when Wolf’s mother was working there before his birth. Wolf’s has requested access to her data in the Revenue & Customs agency. The government says it does not have her records. Thus, Wolf is being treated like any other immigrant seeking naturalization. In a plea that is similar to those voiced by persons who, while not born in the U.S., have lived in the U.S. and educated here since an early age, Wolf said, “I’m advised to apply for residency in the UK – is this a bad joke? Residency in a country I was born in!” he wrote.
“In accordance with the beloved Passport Office I need to pay £1,121 [$1386] and undergo a ‘Welcome to your new life in the UK’ test, to prove I can speak English, know who Queen Lizzy is and can sing Candle in the Wind. Madness.
“I feel I am stuck in the middle of … hopeless bureaucracy,” said Wolf, an economics graduate working in the City of London.
Since the Brexit vote, tens of thousands of citizens of EU countries residing in the UK have applied for a government confirmation that they have have permanent residency rights, a prerequisite for citizenship. In one case, a Dutch woman, who has two British children and has lived in the country for 24 years, has received a letter telling her to prepare to leave the UK. The Guardian newspaper reports that other EU citizens have received the same letter. They include the German neuroscientist Sam Schwarzkopf and the aerospace executive Lars Graefe.
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