According to the Huffington Post on Monday, a ten-year-old Icelandic girl was denied a passport. The reason might shock you. The Icelandic girl was couldn't get a passport because her name is "Harriet." The country recently denied Harriet Cardew's passport renewal request because her name doesn't comply with Icelandic baby naming laws. The country considers her name illegal. All residents of Iceland must have their babies' names approved. However, Harriet's parents did not get her name approved based on the approved list of 1,853 female and 1,712 boy names,
Icelandic laws state that unless both parents are foreign, they must submit their name selection to the National Registry for approval within six months of the child's birth. The name must fulfill requirements that include "Icelandic grammatical endings," "linguistic structure of Iceland" and "Icelandic orthography." Harriet's father, Tristan Cardew, said, "That's the problem with Harriet. It can't be conjugated in Icelandic."
Lilja and Berlinda, two of the other four Cardew children have their passports because they were born in France. However, Harriet and her brother Duncan, 12, were born in Iceland, but did not have their names approved by the committee. They live in Reykjavik, Iceland, and up until this point, have been going only by "Girl" and "Boy" on their passports. Harriet's recent passport request was denied when the government went a step further. This puts the family's upcoming trip to France in jeopardy.
The parents could solve the problem by changing Harriet's and her brother's name to an Icelandic name, but it might be too late to get one in time for their trip. Instead, they applied for an emergency passport from the British Embassy where the father is from. In the meantime, Tristin and his wife Kristin have appealed the denial of the passport. The wife said, "They have deprived our daughter of freedom of movement."
Iceland is not the only country where baby names are banned. Governments all over the world set naming guidelines. Baby-naming site, Nameberry, reports that countries like Germany and Italy have their own rules. For instance, in Germany surnames as first names like "Anderson" aren't allowed. If Anderson Cooper lived in Germany, he might have a problem getting a passport. Also, Germany names of objects or products are denied. Names such as Taylor, Riley, Quinn, Kennedy, Chris, or Leslie won't be approved because they are not gender specific.
In Italy, names that could embarrass a child are questioned and are not likely to be approved. Both Alicia Silverstone and Kate Winslet would have to find another name for their baby boys if they had been living in Malaysia, where the names of all animals, fruits and vegetables are banned. Both celebrities named their baby boys "Bear."
Aren't you glad you are born in a country where you have freedom to name your child almost anything you want?