A nine month old baby who has been stranded abroad since his birth has finally received a British Passport, 239 days after his parents had applied for it.
Richard Hamilton from Britain and his Indian wife, Priya Jacob have two children Joy aged three and Jacob nine months. The couple who live in Hampshire, are humanitarian aid workers and travel to postings all around the world. A series of delays and U-turns by the home office meant Jacob, who was born in India, has been stranded abroad since birth with the family split between the two continents and his mother unable to take up a job tackling coronavirus. A passport application for the couple’s older child had been processed in a matter of weeks.
Delays were caused when passport officials kept changing their minds about whether or not an interview could take place by Skype rather than face to face, due to the pandemic.
The couple originally applied for Jacobs passport in February. After eight months during which time there were 67 emails, 16 calls to the passport helpline, five letters to their local MP Damian Hinds, and two to the home secretary Priti Patel, the process finally moved forward.
Hamilton and Priya Jacob were based in India at the time the passport application was made. Hamilton returned to the UK a few months ago to help look after his mother who was sick and to try to organise the passport. Priya Jacob remained in India with the two children.
Now the family have reunited in India and with the baby’s passport finally obtained can move forward with obtaining visas to travel to Myanmar, where Priya Jacob has been offered a job as a regional project director for Asia for the Danish Refugee Council. Her role includes managing the coronavirus response in Rohingya refugee camps.
Hamilton said: “We are so relieved this extraordinarily lengthy, often very intrusive and unsympathetic process has now come to an end. We now as a family very much look forward to moving on with our lives and continuing our humanitarian careers”.