Shabana has written to the Home Secretary regarding the difficulties British-Iranians have faced renewing their passports.
Shabana was recently contacted by a constituent concerned that their family members were experiencing barriers from the Passport Office when trying to renew their passports. The constituent and their family are all British-Iranian dual nationals, and have held British passports for many years, ever since they were first eligible.
A family member of the constituent has been required to provide additional ID checks after their application for passport renewal was refused. The Passport Office has encouraged the applicant to liaise with the Iranian embassy, who have previously been hostile to British-Iranian dual nationals.
The constituent and their family are now anxious about their own futures, and those of their family members in Iran, after their years of contributions to our country as British citizens.
Shabana shares their concerns, and has written to the Home Secretary on behalf of her constituent, asking them to address the matter with urgency.
You can read the letter in full below.
Letter to the Home Secretary
Dear Home Secretary,
I am writing regarding the status of British-Iranian nationals and the Passport Office.
I have recently been contacted by a constituent with serious concerns about their interaction with the Passport Office, and their rights as British citizens. My constituent is one of three siblings all born in Iran to a British mother and an Iranian father, all of whom have been British citizens from birth. They all hold British birth certificates and have held British passports since legally possible, and have used and renewed their passports several times.
I am deeply concerned that my constituent’s brother experienced significant difficulty renewing his passport in late 2019. I am informed the brother of my constituent was asked by the Passport Office to provide his Iranian passport along with his application as an additional ID check. I understand that this has never previously been a requirement, and British citizens who are not dual nationals are not asked to provide additional ID documents.
I understand that the above passport application was rejected based on a minor difference in the spelling of their surname, of which there has been no precedent. My constituent believes that the Passport Office is erroneously using the Iranian documents as a reason to refuse the application, when the British passport or British birth certificate will suffice. Her sister similarly has different names on British and Iranian documents, as the Iranian authorities do not authorise first names not included on an approved list.
My constituent informs me that the Passport Office instructed the sibling to resolve the matter with the Iranian authorities. I am alarmed that an agency under the remit of the Home Office would instruct British citizens to liaise with a foreign country known to be hostile to dual nationals, an action that could potentially endanger other family members. It is clear that the Passport Office is acting unreasonably in its demands of those who are already British citizens.
I share my constituents concerns that they will experience similar hostility when renewing her passport. My constituent has lived in the UK for [redacted to protect identity] and currently works for the [redacted] and her siblings are employed as [redacted]. They are now anxious about their own futures and that of their family members in Iran after their years of contributions to our country as British citizens.
Please can you explain why the Passport Office has introduced new ID requirements for those with dual nationality, and answer why it appears British-Iranian dual nationals are facing increased difficulty in renewing their passport documents.
I believe it is imperative that the Home Office address this issue with utmost urgency in order to facilitate the renewal of the abovementioned passport, and to ensure that those with dual citizenship do not face future discrimination from the Passport Office.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Thanks and best wishes,
Shabana Mahmood MP
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood