UK passport delay leaves family stranded in India

British government`s intervention has been sought to help an Indian-origin couple stranded with their new-born surrogate twins in India for the past three months due to delays at the UK passport office.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 20, 2014, 17:10 PM IST

London: British government`s intervention has been sought to help an Indian-origin couple stranded with their new-born surrogate twins in India for the past three months due to delays at the UK passport office.

Kiran and Bina Salvi travelled from their home in Bolton, Greater Manchester, three months ago to collect their twin babies Jai and Leela who were born prematurely on March 3 at a surrogacy clinic in Anand in Gujarat.

The children have been awarded UK citizenship but processing delays mean the family is unable to return.

Local Labour MP Julie Hilling raised the couple`s predicament in the House of Commons and sought Home Secretary Theresa May`s intervention.

"They are desperate, running out of money and stuck in a hot hotel room in India," she said.

The UK government`s closure of overseas offices has seen a processing backlog across all British centres.

"When we ring the Passport Office helpline we get a request for a reference but for overseas applications there is no reference number," said Kiran Salvi, an IT specialist.

He added: "We have been waiting 12 years to have a family; I do not regret my two children I just want to be able to get home and enjoy them in Britain where we live."

The new father told a local newspaper in Bolton that they were told on April 30 by the High Commission in New Delhi that their applications were all correct and were being sent to be processed in Liverpool.

"We have not had any information since then and after being told initially that these applications would take a maximum of eight weeks to process, the website now says that figure has been extended to 16 weeks.

"The surrogacy process has been expensive and used up all of our savings," he said.

The UK Home Office said the case involved a complex surrogacy application with a lot of checks required.

A spokesperson said it had contacted the family by phone and email and was waiting for further information to be provided.

"We will not issue a passport until all checks have been satisfactorily completed," he added.

Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that up to 30,000 passport applications have been hit by delays and assured MPs that hundreds of extra staff have been drafted in with new offices set up to help tackle the backlog.