A "RESILIENT" young woman who was born in Bolton hopes that 2020 will be a year to "move forward" with her life after finally being given a nationality.

For six years, Reyna Khosla has been unable to leave the country, buy or sell her house, or get married because of her Danish roots.

The barriers she has faced, which include undergoing DNA tests and "justifying who she is" when applying for jobs, have negatively impacted her mental health, she says.

But today (December 10), the Home Office formally handed the health worker her legal right to British citizenship during a ceremony at The Albert Halls.

"I am absolutely over the moon", she said, "it's like I have been given a fresh start."

The 28-year-old was born at Royal Bolton Hospital but received a Danish passport because her mother was born in Copenhagen, and her father was not registered on her birth certificate. Aged 21, the Danish Embassy told her that a change in law meant she could not renew her passport unless she had lived in the country recently, or spoke the language.

"I needed good reason to stay Danish", Reyna said, "but I do not speak it, I didn't have the two Danish references they required, and I hadn't lived there.

"When I realised I couldn't renew my Danish passport I called the British embassy but the application process would require me to pay huge fees and I didn't have that money.

"I was born in Bolton, I grew up in Bolton, I went to school here, work here, pay my taxes and National Insurance, every document I have is British but I was made to feel like I did not belong. I was told I was classed as an immigrant. I was told to claim asylum."

Reyna, of Captains Clough Road, Heaton, was not recognised as a Danish or British resident because her passport had run out.

Her parents did not marry and separated when she was aged eight. Her mother died in 2009.

"On paper, me and my brother had no one British", Reyna said.

For a child to be registered as a British citizen at birth, one or more parents need to hold British citizenship or 'settled status'.

Britain's Nationality Act of 1983 ended the seven-century-old legal tradition of "right of the soil,'' which made any British-born child automatically eligible for citizenship.

Since October 2013, the government has stated that all adults applying for British citizenship have to pass a 'Life in the UK' test.

The 2014 Immigration Act also allows a new route for citizenship for children born before 2006 to a British father — but evidence of paternity is required.

Completing a citizenship test would cost Reyna upwards of £1,200 but additional payments are required for DNA tests and for a citizenship ceremony.

Reyna applied for British citizenship in June this year, with the application being approved in November.

She said: "I have been fighting for this for years. I feel like I have been chained to one place; I have not been allowed to go on holiday, I have been unable to move house, I have had to prove myself to employers. I have not belonged anywhere. This, coupled with losing my mum and my grandma, has made for a really difficult 10 years.

"But 2020 is going to be a time for moving forward. To have my application accepted is incredibly positive. I'm so thankful to whoever my caseworker is for progressing this. I am feeling more secure in myself."

Reyna thanked her partner Tom Cross and his family for their support, as well as colleagues at Nuffield Health, where she works in the crèche as a duty manager.

Outside of work, Reyna also provides health and wellbeing programmes in schools, and has been named a School Wellbeing Activity Programme (SWAP) champion, for which she recently won an award.