Amber Akaunu 11/06/2018
A couple of years ago I was planning to visit my auntie in California and therefore decided to finally get my British passport (I only had a German passport at the time as my mother is German). I was born and raised in Liverpool and my father was also born in Scotland, so I’m British right?
After paying about 90 quid for my passport, I receive a letter saying that I have to prove that my mother was exercising her treaty rights during the time I was born. My mother gathered some real old documents, with the help of our local councillor. I sent them off, with another passport application and yet another 90 quid, to the passport office people. We then got another letter back basically saying “sorry but you’re not actually British”. Lol. My initial response was “u CoUld hAVe ToLd mE THat £90 AgO”.
I was told that I can only claim British citizenship through my mother (not just me it’s like an actual law). I was then also informed that, due to my mother being German, to get a British Passport, and I guess to become “British” (I don’t even know what this means anymore tbh), I would have to naturalise. However, to do so it will cost over £1000! With the upsetting results from Brexit, it was something me and my family really considered as we were, and still are, unsure where we stand with this whole Brexit mess. But for a working-class family it’s kinda impossible to just get that type of money. I remember going to the passport office one day with so many questions and them turning me away and suggesting I go to the immigration office instead. The whole thing just made me think about what it means to be “British”. I thought I was British (No, I am British), But now I am being told that I am not. What am I then? Am I German? Am I Nigerian? I’ve never even been to Nigeria and I can’t speak German (well, I can count to 99 in German and say a few basic things). By the way, even though the UK's annoying laws tried to rain on my Californian parade, I still ended up going to California with my German passport. Also, fun fact, Germany has the best passport in the world as it has access to the most countries :P.
Jokes aside, for me, Brexit has caused a slight cautiousness in me, and a little bit of an identity crisis or maybe an identity awareness. I am much more aware of labels such as British, Nigerian or German, and I am aware of the significance they can have but also how insignificant they are too. Although we like to think these terms are objective and straight forward, they really aren’t.