A British passport is like a holy grail to many immigrants and consulting an expert immigration lawyer is the surest means of obtaining one. In a case recently reviewed by Vina Madhavji, a man who did just that overcame intense Home Office scepticism and persuaded the High Court that he was from birth entitled to British citizenship.
The man claimed to be the legitimate son of a deceased merchant seaman who was born in Yemen in 1911 but who was a British citizen. Following his arrival in Britain from Yemen in 2007, the man was issued with a passport on the basis that he was himself a British citizen by descent.
After receiving intelligence that he was not who he claimed to be, however, the Home Office withdrew the document. It asserted that it was a case of fraudulent impersonation and the man was in fact an immigrant who had been removed from Britain in 2005 after illegally overstaying his visa.
When proceedings were launched on the man’s behalf, the Court noted that he had not given a uniformly clear and consistent account of his early life, that there were weaknesses in his case and that there were question marks over his reliability. He bore the burden of proving his entitlement to citizenship.
However, the Court noted that the Home Office’s intelligence did not come from a tested source. The man had produced documents, including three of his putative father’s passports and a seaman’s record book which was consistent with his presence in Yemen when he was conceived. A number of official Yemeni documents also supported the man’s account of his family history.
Taking the evidence in the round, the Court found that it was substantially more likely than not that the man was who he claimed to be and that he was conceived in Yemen as the legitimate child of a British citizen. He was therefore entitled to a British passport.
You can read the full case here.
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