A former soldier who changed his surname to ‘Fu-Kennard’ has been denied a passport three times because the Home Office says it could cause offence.
Kenny Fu-Kennard, 33, decided to have ‘a bit of fun’ with his name in 2016 and officially adopted the new moniker by deed poll.
But despite being granted a new driving licence shortly afterwards, he has been unable to get a passport bearing his new name.
The supermarket worker was told by the Home Office that his surname ‘may cause offence’ and his attempts at contesting the decision have all been unsuccessful.
Kenny’s passport has now expired, meaning he is unable to leave the country unless he changes his name to something else.
He said: ‘I got refused on grounds that my 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.’
Kenny, from Bude, Cornwall, wrote to his MP Scott Mann, but he told him the Home Office are ‘within their remit to refuse’.
He continued: ‘Now I’m 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.
‘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.
‘I agree with Home Office policy that not all names are acceptable, such as racial hate words or anything that invokes hatred. Fu-Kennard is not offensive, and I object to them denying my chosen name.’
Kenny first changed his name to ‘Coco Kenny’ when he was 16, but gave it up when he joined the army three years later, as he was told it was ‘immature’.
After eight years as a soldier, he then came around to the idea of a comedy name once again, stating: ‘Life’s too short to be boring’.
He finally settled on Fu-Kennard as he it wanted to ‘play it safe’ when applying for jobs, adding that not everyone ‘gets the joke’.
Kenny’s letter from the Home Office states that his applications, sent in May, June and July this year, went against policy relating to the use of names on passports.
The policy states that names including ‘the use of swear words… may cause public concern’, even if only phonetic, rather than the actual spelling.
It adds: ‘Applicants who change their name know whether the change would be acceptable to the public or not.
‘That is their choice but the passport is not an appropriate vehicle to carry names which may be offensive, vulgar or incite criminal or anti-social behaviour.’
In a letter dated June 25, the office advised that it would also retain Kenny’s £94.75 application fee ‘to cover the costs of administration’.
Kenny says his only options are now to either proceed with a new name acceptable to use, or change to his previous name.
But despite having a love of travelling, he is determined to keep his current surname and is looking into other ways to challenge the verdict.
He said: ‘I have a stag do in three weeks. When the best man was deciding what to do for it, he knew I couldn’t travel – so he settled on Cardiff instead.
‘I don’t know what else I can do to escalate the situation with HM Passport Office, because no one has advised me how else I can challenge the verdict.
‘I only have one red line, though – I’m keeping my surname. I don’t want to change it again, especially because they’re restricting my freedom. I like Fu-Kennard.’