A woman who lost her birth certificate aged 12 has finally received a passport – after undergoing DNA tests to prove she exists.
Allem Kerr, 26, was left in legal limbo after losing her birth certificate as a child, leaving her unable to work, go on holiday abroad or apply for a driving licence.
She tried in vain to register her existence but Home Office officials and the consulate of South Africa – her birthplace – kept telling her there was no official record of her birth.
Allem, who lives in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, even tried to contact the hospital where she was born but to her dismay found it had been shut down and the records moved or lost.
Her identity crisis left her Scottish parents Ann, 56, an MS sufferer, and dad Andrew, 60, Ann’s full-time carer, struggling to support her.
Out of desperation, she wrote to the Prime Minister in 2011, but although his office promised to pass her details on to the Home Office, she heard nothing further.
After years of struggling, Allem has finally managed to convince the Court of Session in Edinburgh that she is genetically linked to her mother, Scottish Ann Kerr, and therefore automatically a British citizen.
And now Allem is officially a “person” after she and mum Ann, 56, underwent DNA tests which were verified by the UK Border Agency.
She said: “It’s been a nightmare of red tape but I’m so relieved that I officially exist.
“I’m British. I happen to have been born in South Africa but I have lived in Scotland almost my entire life, but proving it has been a real problem.
“I wrote to David Cameron and his secretary replied that she would pass it on to the Home Office, but that was months ago and I’ve heard nothing.
“We even tried to contact the hospital where I was born and the doctor who delivered me but it is not there anymore.”
Allem was born in South Africa after her Scots mum and dad Andrew, 60, decided to emigrate, but the family returned to Britain when she was four.
Her brother Alasdair, 28, and sister Mallory, 24, both have their birth certificates but Allem lost hers when the family moved to a new house when she was 12.
Since then she and her parents have tried in vain to track down the vital piece of paper.
Her last foreign holiday was on a school trip 11 years ago when she went on a group passport.
Allem won her lengthy identity battle after contacting lawyers who applied for a declaration of parentage at the Court of Session.
DNA tests were ordered and she has finally received her passport – and now she is planning her first holiday for over a decade.
She said: “I would love to go to Greece, and France – in fact there are so many places to go. I feel I have a lot of catching up to do.
“I’m also saving up for a car and I have finally been able to send away for my provisional driving licence.”