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31st Oct 2023

Man not allowed to go abroad as surname is ‘too rude’ for passport


Kenny refuses to change his name again and now holidays exclusively in the UK

A man who decided to change his name for a laugh has, not surprisingly, lived to regret it.

Kenny, whose surname used to be Kennard, was turned down for a passport after giving himself a “slightly ridiculous” new name.

While Kenny, who changed his name in 2016, managed to get himself a driving licence with his new name on, when his passport expired in 2019 his application for a new one was turned down as his name “may cause offence”.

Kenny, from Bude in Cornwall, appealed against the HM Passport Office’s verdict three times – but the Home Office refused to change its ruling.

Rather than change his name again, Kenny instead just holidays in the UK.

And the offence name?

“I’d decided to change my name to Fu-Kennard a few years back,” he said in 2019.

“When I’d had to apply for a driving licence, it was accepted fine, so I figured it wouldn’t make much difference in applying for a passport.

“How wrong I was!”

Kenny said Home Office officials told his new name “could cause offence or was vulgar” .

“So I complained, but they upheld their decision so I complained again. I was then told they’d keep the fee for administration costs.

“If I wanted to take the matter further, they said I’d need to contact my MP.

“So I wrote to MP Scott Mann, and he replied saying they’re within their remit to refuse.”

Kenny said all the back-and-fourth left him “skint with no passport, like a prisoner in my own country.”

“On the one hand, I find the whole thing funny – as do all of my friends,” Kenny reasoned.

“But I’m also finding it hard to believe the name could be construed as anything but funny and slightly ridiculous. It’s just a joke.”

Kenny said that he agreed with Home Office policy that “not all names are acceptable, such as racial hate words or anything that invokes hatred” but faoled to see how ‘Fu-Kennard’ was “offensive”.

He added: “And I object to them denying my chosen name.”

Kenny, unsuccessfully, applied for passports in May, June and July on 2019.

The Home Office dismissed his application, citing Section 2 of its policy on changing names.

The guidelines list a series of “names that may cause outrage or offence” that could be classed as “unacceptable” and not fit for a passport.

They include “the use of swear words; sexually explicit references; inappropriate religious connotation; is vulgar, offensive, or libellous to an individual; makes use of a name of a person living or dead which may cause public concern”.

The guidance also state: “This applies to phonetic, as well as actual use of words comprising of part or the entire name.”

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