‘Girl’ Granted Emergency British Passport Skip to content

‘Girl’ Granted Emergency British Passport

The ten-year-old girl who has been refused a new Icelandic passport because her name is not on the Icelandic Naming Committee’s list of approved names has received an emergency British passport, visir.is reports. The girl’s parents filed a formal complaint against the National Registry’s decision not to renew her Icelandic passport on Thursday morning.

As reported yesterday, Kristín and her husband, Tristan Cardew, who was born in the U.K., have four children together: Lilja and Belinda, born in France, and Harriet and Duncan, born in Iceland. As Harriet and Duncan have not been approved by the Naming Committee, their names are listed as stúlka (‘girl’) and drengur (‘boy’) Cardew in the National Registry and have appeared as such in their passports until now. Kristín and Tristan argue that Harriet and Duncan are being discriminated against because they were born in Iceland.

When the family went to renew Harriet’s passport ahead of a planned trip to France on Tuesday, they were told that the National Registry was no longer issuing passports to individuals without an approved name.

Sólveig Guðmundsdóttir, divisional manager at the National Registry, said in an interview with daily Fréttablaðið yesterday that the law is clear: the National Registry can only issue passports to individuals with a valid first name or middle name. If the Naming Committee has not approved a name, there is nothing the National Registry can do. Whereas Harriet was issued a passport under the name stúlka (‘girl’) in the past, a procedural change introduced in 2010 now means that passports are not issued to individuals without valid names.

Only when both of a child’s parents are foreigners, or if a child has an Icelandic first or middle name, can a child be given a ‘foreign’ name. To be approved, a name must be able to be declined in accordance with Icelandic grammar and must have historical precedence in Iceland.

The couple’s complaint states that according to the law, an individual’s full name does not need to appear in his/her passport. Furthermore, Harriet has been issued a passport in the past.

The story has also been reported on by the international media.

The case of Blær Bjarkardóttir, a 15-year-old girl who sued Icelandic authorities to have her name approved (she too had been known as ‘girl’ in the National Registry), also made international headlines last year. She went on to win the case.

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