We had to laugh at this: the UK Home Office threatening a 26-year-old British national who has never left the UK with deportation ‘as there are no records for how you entered the United Kingdom.’
It also reminded us of a very close shave we had at Otopeni Airport in 2002, when we took Son of Bucharest Life to the UK for the first time.
He was travelling on a British passport: we got him one the moment he could stay still long enough to get a photo taken. In those days Romania still imposed compulsory slavery (also known as military service) on its young boys and there was no way our lad was going into the Romanian army (in fact, there is no way he is ever going into any army); we wanted him to have the protection from such barbarism that a UK passport affords as soon as possible. (Soon afterwards, by the way, the whole thing became irrelevant as Romania sensibly did away with slavery).
Anyway, we turned up at Otopeni with Son of Bucharest Life and his shiny new UK passport (in those days issued in an hour or two, direct at the UK Embassy) only to be told that he could not leave Romania. The reason? There was no Romanian entry stamp in his UK passport, and therefore no proof that he had entered Romania legally: he was, in the eyes of the jobsworth at passport control, an illegal immigrant.
Panic ensued: it was two days before Christmas and we thought we were buggered. We hinted at vast rewards if the passport control officer could be a bit more, ahem, flexible, but were knocked back (trust us to get the only honest border guard in the country). As a last throw of the dice we asked him to go and get the officer in charge, who duly arrived, and asked if we had our son’s birth certificate. By some miracle, we did. It showed his place of birth as being Bucharest. A note was made in Son of Bucharest Life’s passport – we still have it – saying ‘+ cert de nastere roman‘ and the passport was stamped and we were allowed on the plane.
We found out soon afterwards that we got lucky. We know two families in exactly the same situation who – at around the same time – were not allowed past passport control: they had to get Romanian passports for their children in order to do so.