'It’s so stressful': Father cut off from 15-month-old daughter amid nightmare passport delays

·2 min read
Mother and two daughters outside HM Passport Office in London - Hollie Adams for The Telegraph
Mother and two daughters outside HM Passport Office in London - Hollie Adams for The Telegraph

A mother who has been desperately trying for months to arrange a passport for her child – so that her 15-month-old daughter can finally meet her father – has spoken of the mental toll it has taken on her family.

For the best part of three months, Ezra Elhadi has been making regular calls to the Passport Office.

She described the process of securing a passport for her elder child as nothing short of a nightmare.

In addition to the chaos at Britain’s airports, people looking to travel abroad have been faced with lengthy delays as civil servants struggle to process a deluge of passport applications.

The Government has said that delays are down to five million people putting off applications during the pandemic.

Families separated by passport delays

Ms Elhadi’s 15-month-old daughter, Ayla, is yet to meet her father, who is working in Saudi Arabia and has been unable to travel to the UK.

The family are desperate to travel to see him but have been waiting for eight weeks for a passport for their three-year-old daughter, Aytin.

While the website said the application was being approved a few weeks ago, it is now telling her that the application has gone back to the verification stage.

Ms Elhadi, from Twickenham, said she had tried emailing and calling to get an update on when the passport may be ready, but the Passport Office has not been forthcoming.

She is not confident that she will receive the document within the 10-week limit and risks having to spend thousands of pounds on new flights. The family is due to fly out on Tuesday.

“It’s so stressful and tense. We are drained by it. My husband has been hospitalised twice because of his high blood pressure and the anxiety is not helping,” she said, while queuing outside the Passport Office in London in the hope of getting some answers.

Queues outside of HM Passport Office - Hollie Adams for The Telegraph
Queues outside of HM Passport Office - Hollie Adams for The Telegraph

She said staff inside simply gave her an email address and were of little help. “It was pointless,” she said.

Civil servants in the Passport Office have faced soaring applications since the pandemic, with more than three million processed between March and May.

In around 45,000 of those cases, applicants had waited more than 10 weeks.

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