British schoolboy told he is technically Italian

Paul and Kyle Butterfield with the letter telling them that Kyle is Italian

The letter telling Kyle that he is Italian

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Reporter

A BOY who was born in Bury and has never left England got the shock of his life when government officials told him he is actually Italian.

The bizarre ruling arose when Kyle Butterfield, aged 12, of Holland Street, Radcliffe, wanted to go on a trip with his school, Philips High in Whitefield, and applied for a British passport.

The Passport Office revealed there was a problem because he was classed as being of a different nationality.

His stunned father Paul carried out some research and found that, because Kyle’s mother, Debora Lonergan, was born in Genoa, Italy, and has not applied for a passport since she arrived in the UK at the age of two, Kyle is technically not British.

Paul, who separated from Debora seven years ago and has full custody of Kyle, said: “It’s farcical. The closest Kyle gets to being Italian is that he likes to eat pizza and playing Super Mario.”

The 43-year-old father said: “He was born at Fairfield Hospital, has never left here and only speaks English. Of course he is a Brit.”

Paul took his fight for a resolution to the UK Passport Service office in Liverpool and was told that he could pay £673 to submit a form that would register Kyle as a Brit.

However, he was told that if he did not fill in the correct form — one of two which could be relevant — he would lose his £673.

Paul, who is unemployed, said: “I can’t afford that sort of money, especially if I’m throwing away the best part of £700 on a 50/50 chance.

“They really should be able to advise me better and we shouldn’t have this problem in the first place.”

By law, Kyle’s nationality is determined by where his mother is born.

Experts say cases such as this are deemed rare, because the mother would usually have applied for a passport for herself at a young age and so would have been aware of the problem.

And it only applies to children who were born before July 1, 2006, when the law was changed to avoid such situations which Paul and his son now find themselves in.

Paul added: “I’m really worried about it. It’s not just a case of Kyle wanting to go on school trips.

“He will need a passport to provide his identity when he learns to drive and when he starts work.

“He could get an Italian passport, but then he would be classes as an overseas student if he decides to go to university. It’s bonkers.”

Kyle said: “I feel like an outsider and that I don’t fit in because everyone I know is British, yet I’m not.

“I am worried about how it might affect my student loan when I’m older. It’s unfair and stupid.

“I don’t want to cause the Italians any offence, but I am British. Three of my grandparents are British, so why am I Italian?”

On behalf of the Passport Office and the UK Border Agency, a Home Office spokesman said they could not discuss individual cases.

He added: “People born in the UK after 1983 and before 2006, whose parents are unmarried, citizenship can only be claimed through the mother.

“In such a situation, we would advice the applicant to enquire with the UK Visa and Immigration Service about registering to become a British citizen.

“The service can provide the correct advice on the correct form to fill in so the price of registration is as low as possible.”

Comments (24)

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5:16pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Hough64 says...

Never heard anything as ridiculous in all my life!!
Never heard anything as ridiculous in all my life!! Hough64
  • Score: 23

5:19pm Thu 23 Jan 14

rickyman49 says...

It would appear that The Office of Circumlocution is still open.
Ref:Charles Dickens , Little Dorrit.
It would appear that The Office of Circumlocution is still open. Ref:Charles Dickens , Little Dorrit. rickyman49
  • Score: 18

5:40pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Paul.Butterfield says...

I'm the father of the boy in question, trust me I've tried everything to make the passport office see reason, but all i get is the law is the law, they changed this law in 2006 because they knew it was unfair, but only children botn from 2006 was covered, they wont put it back to 1983 to cover all children for some reason, it would only take a few keystrokes to adapt the law i presume and 30 mins in parliment, but onwards this unfair law goes.
I'm the father of the boy in question, trust me I've tried everything to make the passport office see reason, but all i get is the law is the law, they changed this law in 2006 because they knew it was unfair, but only children botn from 2006 was covered, they wont put it back to 1983 to cover all children for some reason, it would only take a few keystrokes to adapt the law i presume and 30 mins in parliment, but onwards this unfair law goes. Paul.Butterfield
  • Score: 28

6:05pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Cyclone says...

non capisco
non capisco Cyclone
  • Score: 4

6:11pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Paul.Butterfield says...

I understand that the government doesn't want people flying in to give birth and therefore giving the child automatic British citizenship but this is different. We are all Radcliffe and Bury born for hundreds of years, the only person who isnt british is his deceased Italian Grandfather.
I understand that the government doesn't want people flying in to give birth and therefore giving the child automatic British citizenship but this is different. We are all Radcliffe and Bury born for hundreds of years, the only person who isnt british is his deceased Italian Grandfather. Paul.Butterfield
  • Score: 20

6:14pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Paul.Butterfield says...

And my sons mother who was brought here by her Britsh born mum at the age of 2.
And my sons mother who was brought here by her Britsh born mum at the age of 2. Paul.Butterfield
  • Score: 16

6:58pm Thu 23 Jan 14

mr.mark.c says...

Utter madness, I would start a petition, and I bet it would get 1000's in support.
Utter madness, I would start a petition, and I bet it would get 1000's in support. mr.mark.c
  • Score: 19

7:57pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Cyclone says...

questioni di governo burocrazia complicazione però la squadra di calcio italiana andrà lontano in Coppa del Mondo
questioni di governo burocrazia complicazione però la squadra di calcio italiana andrà lontano in Coppa del Mondo Cyclone
  • Score: 2

8:06pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Paul.Butterfield says...

They would get further than the english team clyclone lol i bet. bureaucracy at its best here, everybody ive spoken too says its crazy. I think a national may take it up, that will give the children caught in this trap a bigger voice and maybe heard.
They would get further than the english team clyclone lol i bet. bureaucracy at its best here, everybody ive spoken too says its crazy. I think a national may take it up, that will give the children caught in this trap a bigger voice and maybe heard. Paul.Butterfield
  • Score: 15

9:34pm Thu 23 Jan 14

mr.mark.c says...

It says 7 years, if a mutual friend is correct then its 10 years you have been separated, my friend also says you are a great dad and deserve better from the powers that be.
I would go tooth and nail on this, the law needs changing for all.
Best of luck from myself and my Family.
It says 7 years, if a mutual friend is correct then its 10 years you have been separated, my friend also says you are a great dad and deserve better from the powers that be. I would go tooth and nail on this, the law needs changing for all. Best of luck from myself and my Family. mr.mark.c
  • Score: 16

9:38pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Citizen Cane says...

Paul, there are many aspects of the law which are bonkers and unfair, but you can't start cherry picking the bits that you like and ignoring the rest. The result of that is setting a precedent which could have other unexpected consequences especially, in this case, given the number of so called asylum seekers looking for any excuse to stay when their claim is exposed as a sham.

I assume that you have spoken to your MP?
Paul, there are many aspects of the law which are bonkers and unfair, but you can't start cherry picking the bits that you like and ignoring the rest. The result of that is setting a precedent which could have other unexpected consequences especially, in this case, given the number of so called asylum seekers looking for any excuse to stay when their claim is exposed as a sham. I assume that you have spoken to your MP? Citizen Cane
  • Score: 4

9:47pm Thu 23 Jan 14

R.Sole says...

To Mr. Butterworth I would suggest nipping down to the Italian Consulate and enquiring with them on the matter. When they confirm that the boy does not have the right to Italian citizenship ........ then you've got a good (and winning) case to take to the European Court of Justice i.e. neither Britain or Italy accepts your son as a citizen. Anyway good luck. As cyclone wrote ..... at least as an Italian your boy has a chance of cheering on a possible world cup winning team. Forza Italia !
To Mr. Butterworth I would suggest nipping down to the Italian Consulate and enquiring with them on the matter. When they confirm that the boy does not have the right to Italian citizenship ........ then you've got a good (and winning) case to take to the European Court of Justice i.e. neither Britain or Italy accepts your son as a citizen. Anyway good luck. As cyclone wrote ..... at least as an Italian your boy has a chance of cheering on a possible world cup winning team. Forza Italia ! R.Sole
  • Score: 7

2:56am Fri 24 Jan 14

Boltonresident2012 says...

This is red tape gone mad - these days not everyone chooses to marry and this lad is being penalised because of it. He has a British dad and that should be the end of it - this ridiculous law needs changing!

A school trip is one thing, but this could affect the rest of his life as his dad says - maybe time to get the local MP's working for their expenses?
This is red tape gone mad - these days not everyone chooses to marry and this lad is being penalised because of it. He has a British dad and that should be the end of it - this ridiculous law needs changing! A school trip is one thing, but this could affect the rest of his life as his dad says - maybe time to get the local MP's working for their expenses? Boltonresident2012
  • Score: 12

7:18am Fri 24 Jan 14

Paul.Butterfield says...

Mr r.sole great name lol, I've thought about the route of action you suggest, but the feelers i put out, the response got is that the Italians would accept my son as by law he is an Italian National, Silly as it may seem to many even the Italians, Citizen Kane, i totally understand the powers that be stance on this in some respects, but they understood that the law they changed in 1983 to close some loopholes of getting British citizenship by default or cheating, left a lot of children unfairly treated who should and have a right to have it (like my son), that's why the government changed the law in 2006 to say that children could take either nationality of both parents to stop this, but they didnt change this to include all children born after 1983 just those born after 2006. Also if they say my son is Italian, then why can i pay 673 pound and make him British at the drop of at hat. That to me is wrong, if he's Italian he stays Italian, money should not change circumstance at all, but this is what it boils down to in the end,The Passport office know my son is 50/50 British/Italian by blood. Seems 700 pound changes his circumstances and D.N.A somehow, but it doesnt, circumstance stays the same, add 700 pound and hey presto it goes from computer says noooo to yes in a second. Bolton Resident, i think the same as you, my next port of call is my local M.P. and to BIGBOB, ....... sighs and shakes head.
Mr r.sole great name lol, I've thought about the route of action you suggest, but the feelers i put out, the response got is that the Italians would accept my son as by law he is an Italian National, Silly as it may seem to many even the Italians, Citizen Kane, i totally understand the powers that be stance on this in some respects, but they understood that the law they changed in 1983 to close some loopholes of getting British citizenship by default or cheating, left a lot of children unfairly treated who should and have a right to have it (like my son), that's why the government changed the law in 2006 to say that children could take either nationality of both parents to stop this, but they didnt change this to include all children born after 1983 just those born after 2006. Also if they say my son is Italian, then why can i pay 673 pound and make him British at the drop of at hat. That to me is wrong, if he's Italian he stays Italian, money should not change circumstance at all, but this is what it boils down to in the end,The Passport office know my son is 50/50 British/Italian by blood. Seems 700 pound changes his circumstances and D.N.A somehow, but it doesnt, circumstance stays the same, add 700 pound and hey presto it goes from computer says noooo to yes in a second. Bolton Resident, i think the same as you, my next port of call is my local M.P. and to BIGBOB, ....... sighs and shakes head. Paul.Butterfield
  • Score: 10

7:30am Fri 24 Jan 14

Paul.Butterfield says...

Mr Mark.C Thank you very much for your support it means a lot to us, thank you x
Mr Mark.C Thank you very much for your support it means a lot to us, thank you x Paul.Butterfield
  • Score: 8

9:29am Fri 24 Jan 14

mdavies11 says...

I googled some pics of Genoa, it looked quite nice and sunny and that.
I googled some pics of Genoa, it looked quite nice and sunny and that. mdavies11
  • Score: 1

12:48pm Fri 24 Jan 14

AndyMorton says...

They will do anything these days its all about money. Money grabbing plonkers. End of the day born in britain then your british. Find it stupid how footballers are quater this and that then again if they live in britain for 5 years then they classed as british. What is this world comin to
They will do anything these days its all about money. Money grabbing plonkers. End of the day born in britain then your british. Find it stupid how footballers are quater this and that then again if they live in britain for 5 years then they classed as british. What is this world comin to AndyMorton
  • Score: 3

1:21pm Fri 24 Jan 14

cliff4treasurer says...

Big Bob is a tosser big Bob is a tosser la la la la.
Big Bob is a tosser big Bob is a tosser la la la la. cliff4treasurer
  • Score: 2

5:09pm Fri 24 Jan 14

my belief says...

Paul.Butterfield wrote:
And my sons mother who was brought here by her Britsh born mum at the age of 2.
I was born in 1988. my mum who had british parents was born in dusseldorf Germany where my grandfather was a soldier on a british base, my mums family returned here shortly after her birth. in the early 90's (she was born in 1963 by the way) my mum applied for a passport and she was refused and sent a letter saying even though she had british parents she was still german due to place of birth, she contacted Germany for passport who said british, she never got a passport. Nearly 8years ago when I was 18 I applied for a passport to Liverpool, they never had a problem and I have a passport even though my birth certificate says my mum was born Germany. not sure if it is standard proceedure but I had to provide grandparents certificates aswell, I would fight all the way, other people who have parents born abroad have been granted uk passports, im sure the government would not like to be seen as discriminating against your son :)
[quote][p][bold]Paul.Butterfield[/bold] wrote: And my sons mother who was brought here by her Britsh born mum at the age of 2.[/p][/quote]I was born in 1988. my mum who had british parents was born in dusseldorf Germany where my grandfather was a soldier on a british base, my mums family returned here shortly after her birth. in the early 90's (she was born in 1963 by the way) my mum applied for a passport and she was refused and sent a letter saying even though she had british parents she was still german due to place of birth, she contacted Germany for passport who said british, she never got a passport. Nearly 8years ago when I was 18 I applied for a passport to Liverpool, they never had a problem and I have a passport even though my birth certificate says my mum was born Germany. not sure if it is standard proceedure but I had to provide grandparents certificates aswell, I would fight all the way, other people who have parents born abroad have been granted uk passports, im sure the government would not like to be seen as discriminating against your son :) my belief
  • Score: 2

12:15am Sat 25 Jan 14

wsw69 says...

First of all, to Kyle and Paul, all the very best with your persuit in getting what is right. First stop is your MP.

Possibly a petition on change.org ????

Yet another crock of bureaucratic grade 1 b u l * 5 h 1 t Trust the pathetic feckless British authorities to make such a stupid regulation/law.
First of all, to Kyle and Paul, all the very best with your persuit in getting what is right. First stop is your MP. Possibly a petition on change.org ???? Yet another crock of bureaucratic grade 1 b u l * 5 h 1 t Trust the pathetic feckless British authorities to make such a stupid regulation/law. wsw69
  • Score: 5

12:30am Sat 25 Jan 14

hal pel says...

Mama mia!
Mama mia! hal pel
  • Score: 0

6:20am Sun 26 Jan 14

sipples says...

Paul, I would recommend that your son get an Italian passport anyway. You'll need to do about two things to make that happen. One is that you'll need to get his birth recorded in Italy. That costs as much as a postage stamp since you'd merely mail in an official copy of his U.K. birth certificate to the Italian consulate -- and they've got the form on their Web site to do that. Get the U.K. birth certificate in international/EU multilingual format and then you don't even need to translate it.

Then (and also with his mother's permission -- always required for passports) get him an Italian passport. It costs less than the British one as it happens. Or, if he's only going to travel in the region (including countries such as Morocco and Egypt, and of course all of the EU) then an even cheaper Italian national ID card (carta d'identita) is available for about 10 euro.

No, he won't be treated as an overseas student at university. He's an EU resident, so he'll enjoy the lower tuition rates. He would actually be treated a bit better at certain universities, oddly enough, unless and until England, Scotland, and Wales work out their differences on tuition rates for British students.

When he's an adult he can naturalize as a U.K. citizen if he wishes and if it comes to that, but that's optional. Regardless, he can keep his Italian citizenship.

In the meantime, he'll be able to get a less expensive 80 euro passport and/or 10 euro regional travel ID card. And that's less money out of pocket, which is particularly good if you're between jobs.
Paul, I would recommend that your son get an Italian passport anyway. You'll need to do about two things to make that happen. One is that you'll need to get his birth recorded in Italy. That costs as much as a postage stamp since you'd merely mail in an official copy of his U.K. birth certificate to the Italian consulate -- and they've got the form on their Web site to do that. Get the U.K. birth certificate in international/EU multilingual format and then you don't even need to translate it. Then (and also with his mother's permission -- always required for passports) get him an Italian passport. It costs less than the British one as it happens. Or, if he's only going to travel in the region (including countries such as Morocco and Egypt, and of course all of the EU) then an even cheaper Italian national ID card (carta d'identita) is available for about 10 euro. No, he won't be treated as an overseas student at university. He's an EU resident, so he'll enjoy the lower tuition rates. He would actually be treated a bit better at certain universities, oddly enough, unless and until England, Scotland, and Wales work out their differences on tuition rates for British students. When he's an adult he can naturalize as a U.K. citizen if he wishes and if it comes to that, but that's optional. Regardless, he can keep his Italian citizenship. In the meantime, he'll be able to get a less expensive 80 euro passport and/or 10 euro regional travel ID card. And that's less money out of pocket, which is particularly good if you're between jobs. sipples
  • Score: 0

6:36am Sun 26 Jan 14

sipples says...

sipples wrote:
Paul, I would recommend that your son get an Italian passport anyway. You'll need to do about two things to make that happen. One is that you'll need to get his birth recorded in Italy. That costs as much as a postage stamp since you'd merely mail in an official copy of his U.K. birth certificate to the Italian consulate -- and they've got the form on their Web site to do that. Get the U.K. birth certificate in international/EU multilingual format and then you don't even need to translate it.

Then (and also with his mother's permission -- always required for passports) get him an Italian passport. It costs less than the British one as it happens. Or, if he's only going to travel in the region (including countries such as Morocco and Egypt, and of course all of the EU) then an even cheaper Italian national ID card (carta d'identita) is available for about 10 euro.

No, he won't be treated as an overseas student at university. He's an EU resident, so he'll enjoy the lower tuition rates. He would actually be treated a bit better at certain universities, oddly enough, unless and until England, Scotland, and Wales work out their differences on tuition rates for British students.

When he's an adult he can naturalize as a U.K. citizen if he wishes and if it comes to that, but that's optional. Regardless, he can keep his Italian citizenship.

In the meantime, he'll be able to get a less expensive 80 euro passport and/or 10 euro regional travel ID card. And that's less money out of pocket, which is particularly good if you're between jobs.
Sorry, one correction: the Italian passport is less expensive for adults, not for under 16s. The Italian ID card, if sufficient for his international travel, is the least expensive option of all.

Establishing and documenting your son's Italian citizenship in no way affects his right to U.K. citizenship (or his option to naturalize as a U.K. citizen in the future if applicable), so there's no harm whatsoever in getting that done. There's potentially some benefit, e.g. access to the Italian public health system if he moves there. Under current Italian citizenship law there is no generational limit and no residence requirement, so his progeny would also be born Italian citizens. There is no inherent tax liability derived solely from Italian citizenship, and there is no compulsory military service. It's an EU citizenship without quota restrictions, on equal footing with U.K. citizenship throughout the EU. (Though he'd pay less for a visa to visit Russia, as an example.)

He's comparatively lucky, believe it or not. Imagine if he didn't have an EU citizenship and he were trying to live his life in the U.K. Unfortunately many children aren't so lucky.
[quote][p][bold]sipples[/bold] wrote: Paul, I would recommend that your son get an Italian passport anyway. You'll need to do about two things to make that happen. One is that you'll need to get his birth recorded in Italy. That costs as much as a postage stamp since you'd merely mail in an official copy of his U.K. birth certificate to the Italian consulate -- and they've got the form on their Web site to do that. Get the U.K. birth certificate in international/EU multilingual format and then you don't even need to translate it. Then (and also with his mother's permission -- always required for passports) get him an Italian passport. It costs less than the British one as it happens. Or, if he's only going to travel in the region (including countries such as Morocco and Egypt, and of course all of the EU) then an even cheaper Italian national ID card (carta d'identita) is available for about 10 euro. No, he won't be treated as an overseas student at university. He's an EU resident, so he'll enjoy the lower tuition rates. He would actually be treated a bit better at certain universities, oddly enough, unless and until England, Scotland, and Wales work out their differences on tuition rates for British students. When he's an adult he can naturalize as a U.K. citizen if he wishes and if it comes to that, but that's optional. Regardless, he can keep his Italian citizenship. In the meantime, he'll be able to get a less expensive 80 euro passport and/or 10 euro regional travel ID card. And that's less money out of pocket, which is particularly good if you're between jobs.[/p][/quote]Sorry, one correction: the Italian passport is less expensive for adults, not for under 16s. The Italian ID card, if sufficient for his international travel, is the least expensive option of all. Establishing and documenting your son's Italian citizenship in no way affects his right to U.K. citizenship (or his option to naturalize as a U.K. citizen in the future if applicable), so there's no harm whatsoever in getting that done. There's potentially some benefit, e.g. access to the Italian public health system if he moves there. Under current Italian citizenship law there is no generational limit and no residence requirement, so his progeny would also be born Italian citizens. There is no inherent tax liability derived solely from Italian citizenship, and there is no compulsory military service. It's an EU citizenship without quota restrictions, on equal footing with U.K. citizenship throughout the EU. (Though he'd pay less for a visa to visit Russia, as an example.) He's comparatively lucky, believe it or not. Imagine if he didn't have an EU citizenship and he were trying to live his life in the U.K. Unfortunately many children aren't so lucky. sipples
  • Score: 3

2:43am Mon 27 Jan 14

sipples says...

Here's another advantage to Italian citizenship. Let's suppose Kyle (several years hence!) meets and marries a spouse who is not a citizen of an EU or an EEA country, or of Switzerland. Let's suppose, for this example, his future spouse is a U.S. citizen.

As an Italian, no problem. He falls under EU treaty rules. His American spouse can fly to the U.K. without prearrangement -- Americans don't need visas to visit the U.K. -- and his spouse can settle with him in the U.K. without much red tape at all, with bureaucratic issues (if any) handled together in the U.K. EU right of abode rules are very simple, and they significantly reduce what bureaucrats can do to interfere with family cohesion.

For U.K. citizens attempting to bring their foreign spouses to the U.K., that's purely a domestic affair. There's no treaty guarantee providing uniform, streamlined procedures for foreign family members. In that scenario he and his spouse would have to deal with the U.K. Border Agency and jump through several bureaucratic hoops (and pay for the privilege), with his spouse remaining outside the U.K. until those hoops are jumped.

Strange but true. The U.K. imposes burdens on its own citizens in relation to their foreign spouses that the EU (rightly) finds overly burdensome, arbitrary, bureaucratic, and unnecessary. The U.K. is under no obligation to treat its own citizens and their spouses in this shabby way, but it does. Even when the foreign spouses (such as Americans, Canadians, Japanese, and others) are admitted into the U.K. as tourists without visas or other prearrangements.
Here's another advantage to Italian citizenship. Let's suppose Kyle (several years hence!) meets and marries a spouse who is not a citizen of an EU or an EEA country, or of Switzerland. Let's suppose, for this example, his future spouse is a U.S. citizen. As an Italian, no problem. He falls under EU treaty rules. His American spouse can fly to the U.K. without prearrangement -- Americans don't need visas to visit the U.K. -- and his spouse can settle with him in the U.K. without much red tape at all, with bureaucratic issues (if any) handled together in the U.K. EU right of abode rules are very simple, and they significantly reduce what bureaucrats can do to interfere with family cohesion. For U.K. citizens attempting to bring their foreign spouses to the U.K., that's purely a domestic affair. There's no treaty guarantee providing uniform, streamlined procedures for foreign family members. In that scenario he and his spouse would have to deal with the U.K. Border Agency and jump through several bureaucratic hoops (and pay for the privilege), with his spouse remaining outside the U.K. until those hoops are jumped. Strange but true. The U.K. imposes burdens on its own citizens in relation to their foreign spouses that the EU (rightly) finds overly burdensome, arbitrary, bureaucratic, and unnecessary. The U.K. is under no obligation to treat its own citizens and their spouses in this shabby way, but it does. Even when the foreign spouses (such as Americans, Canadians, Japanese, and others) are admitted into the U.K. as tourists without visas or other prearrangements. sipples
  • Score: 1

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