At last, I exist! British woman, 20, finally gets birth certificate after blunder by Spanish hospital left her unable to travel abroad, drive or open bank account
Jade Jacob-Brooks won recognition after 4 1/2 year legal battle
She now wants to follow dream to go to America- and get her first real tan
Even when she appealed to Queen, she was told: ‘It’s not a human rights issue’
By Matt Blake
PUBLISHED: 11:46, 28 March 2012 | UPDATED: 13:46, 28 March 2012
For her entire life, Jade Jacob-Brooks never existed.
There is no paper trail to confirm her place on earth because there was no proof that she was ever born.
She’s never driven a car, voted, had a bank account, or picked up a parcel from the post office… She’s never even had a holiday tan.
But the 20-year-old has become a born-again citizen, after a lifelong battle to get a birth certificate.
I exist! Jade Jacobs-Brooks has never been able to drive, travel abroad, vote, open a bank account, get a job, or a flat, and or even pick up a parcel from the post office
She was born in Spain while her parents were on holiday but was never given a birth certificate by the Spanish hospital.
Instead she was handed paperwork by the Spanish hospital so she could come home – but was told by British authorities it wasn’t enough for her birth to be registered.
It means she has not officially existed for the last 20 years – and has had no way of proving who she really is.
When her friends started clubbing and drinking in pubs she had to stay at home because she had no ID.
Jade missed school trips and was even stayed at home alone when the rest of her family have gone on holidays abroad together.
In a moment of desperation she wrote to the Queen asking for help, but was told the matter was ‘not a human rights issue’.
But lawyers disagreed and launched a four-and-a-half-year campaign to get her a birth certificate.
Jade told how she can’t wait to go on holiday, adding: ‘I want a real tan – I’m fed up with fake tans. I am going to go on holiday with the money I have been saving.’
Jade, who hopes to work as an administrator in the City of London, said: ‘It’s been incredibly frustrating.
‘My mum and dad thought they had the right papers to register me in the UK. But when they were translated they were told they had the wrong paperwork.
‘We were told it wasn’t my right to have a birth certificate. But how can that be when not having one means I cannot do things that everyone else can?
‘The government were so unhelpful – they just didn’t want to know.’
She added: ‘My 18th birthday was not the big landmark that other people’s were. Everyone was going to bars and clubs but I couldn’t go because I didn’t have any identification.
‘It has been very upsetting and such a long time to wait.’
Jade, from Harlow, Essex, was born in Alicante, Spain, on September 25, 1991, while her parents Linda Jacobs, 60, and Victor Brooks, 56, a porter, were on holiday.
Her parents were told they had been given the correct documentation by the Veya Baja Hospital, near Alicante on the Costa Blanca, to register the birth.
But when they returned to England the UK registrars refused to accept the details as proof of birth.
Without a valid Spanish birth certificate Jade has never been able to register her birth in the United Kingdom, or apply for a passport.
Her father Victor returned to Alicante when Jade was a toddler to confront Spanish officials in person – but they told him the hospital had no record of his daughter’s birth.
Luckily Jade was given a place at school and then at college and her mother Linda was able to persuade the Government to pay child benefit for her.
But when Jade was a teenager her lack of proof of birth and ID started to become a bigger problem.
First she was refused a Saturday job at a supermarket then she was left with no way apply for university funding.
With lack of ID creating a growing number of problems, her family wrote to the government, MPs and even the Queen for help with no avail.
But after a four-and-a-half-year battle by international law firm Allen and Overy Jade has finally been given a Spanish birth certificate.
Jade’s mother Linda said: ‘We are so pleased for Jade.
‘It has been so hard, but it is going to open up a world of possibilities for her.
‘We had tried everything and we were scratching our heads over what to do so the lawyers came in at just the right time.’