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FishyBiscuits
08-09-2018, 11:27 PM
Hi guys! Hopefully someone can give me some pointers on this...

A character in my story needs to apply for various forms of ID, but he doesn't have any existing documents, birth certificate, or records of any kind so I'm wondering how he'd go about proving his identity - or even his legal existence - in order to apply for everything.

For a bit of background info - he's been homeless for about 2 years, and before that he was raised in a very sheltered, almost cult-like environment - they had their own doctors and education system, so there isn't anything in the official records in that respect. He doesn't have a copy of his birth certificate (and neither does anyone else who knew him growing up), and since he was unofficially adopted (more like given away/possibly kidnapped, no-one's really sure) as a young child, he doesn't know which city or even country he was born in, so can't check hospital records or contact his birth parents. No-one's quite sure how old he is either, but he's around his early 20s at this point in the story.

Does anyone know what the process would be in terms of getting ID documents and everything in a situation like that, or any other issues that might come up?

Thanks in advance! ^_^

jclarkdawe
08-09-2018, 11:37 PM
My guess is he's going to need to go to court to prove his identity. He'll almost certainly need an attorney. The specific requirements are probably set forth in England's laws. In the US, in the present environment, I'd think this might be next to impossible. There's no proof that the individual is not an illegal immigrant. We don't even know if there is any documentation of his birth.

Jim Clark-Dawe

cornflake
08-09-2018, 11:43 PM
Hi guys! Hopefully someone can give me some pointers on this...

A character in my story needs to apply for various forms of ID, but he doesn't have any existing documents, birth certificate, or records of any kind so I'm wondering how he'd go about proving his identity - or even his legal existence - in order to apply for everything.

For a bit of background info - he's been homeless for about 2 years, and before that he was raised in a very sheltered, almost cult-like environment - they had their own doctors and education system, so there isn't anything in the official records in that respect. He doesn't have a copy of his birth certificate (and neither does anyone else who knew him growing up), and since he was unofficially adopted (more like given away/possibly kidnapped, no-one's really sure) as a young child, he doesn't know which city or even country he was born in, so can't check hospital records or contact his birth parents. No-one's quite sure how old he is either, but he's around his early 20s at this point in the story.

Does anyone know what the process would be in terms of getting ID documents and everything in a situation like that, or any other issues that might come up?

Thanks in advance! ^_^

This made me think of this true story (https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/invisible-girl/) (it's from NPR [National Public Radio]) about someone in a very similar situation, trying to do a very similar thing.

jennontheisland
08-10-2018, 12:45 AM
A homeless man in Canada won a lotto and needed ID to claim the prize. He was in a catch-22 situation of the province he was born in requiring photo ID to get a copy of his birth certificate, but needing his birth cert to get the photo ID for the province where he was living.

He had help from a news station and people who were experienced in working these systems, and knew where he was born.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/steve-borik-homeless-man-wins-lotto-1.3369155

Siri Kirpal
08-10-2018, 07:33 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Many people born before hospital births were standard were in this situation. When my husband's grandfather wanted to travel, he needed a passport, but had no way to prove he was born. Fortunately, people were still alive who remembered his birth and could attest to the fact in a notarized document.

But, I agree with Jim, in today's climate in the USA, that might not work.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

neandermagnon
08-10-2018, 10:06 AM
Assuming UK law because your location is in the UK.

He needs to go to the Citizen's Advice Bureau. Also, have you checked the gov.uk website to see if it covers this sort of thing? You can reorder lost birth certificates through the gov.uk website (I've done this) and while your character doesn't know enough about himself to be able to do this, the website may have info on what to do in his situation. I'm sure he's not the only one that's ever had this problem. Also, a solicitor may be able to draw up documents that can be used instead of standard ID documents - though how you would prove your situation to the solicitor I have no idea, and plus they can be expensive.

Even when your character has some kind of ID document, they're still going to have difficulty due to not having any kind of credit profile. In this day and age, it's very hard to not have a credit profile as everything's on there (your current account, your mobile phone, utility bills, pretty much every company you pay money to on a regular basis) so a complete absence of a credit profile is red flag for someone trying to get something in a false ID (either to get around the fact they have bad credit in their real name or because they're trying to launder criminal money). I had this problem when I first returned to the UK after living in the Gulf for seven years. I had to get my dad to be a guarantor to rent a flat (they credit check potential tenants and also require a reference from your previous landlord) and had to get a letter from my new employer to be able to open a bank account - and that was only because the bank in question already had an agreement with my employer regarding this, as they recruited a lot of people from abroad. That's even with all my ID documents.

As he's been homeless as well, he won't have any proof of address yet either, which will further compound his difficulties. However there are some basic current accounts that banks will open for homeless people with a 50p minimum deposit. I'm not sure what you'd have to prove in terms of ID to open an account like this - they're not allowed to open accounts without ID confirmation. You could look on banks websites to see if they have any info on what documents they can accept from people who don't have conventional documents. If he can get a bank account and keep it in credit for a while, this will mean he can start to build up a credit profile and pass future credit checks.