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Passport Office makes old lady prove she is British.

(36 Posts)
ShosheTheGhoshe Thu 23-Oct-08 19:31:10

My Dad phoned earlier, he was quite upset for his eladerly neighbour.

At 72 she had applied for her first passport, she got the forms and her daughter filled them out and sent them off.

She got a letter back telling her to go to a passport office in Yeovil (the live in Weymouth).

She had to take 3 proofs of identity and her mothers birth certificate!

Anyway Dad went with her, and on getting there they were shown into a office and the door was locked!

The neighbour was asked all sorts of questions, about her heritage, and then taken to another office where she was asked the same questions!

This lady has never been out of Dorset, has a very English name, and has been a SAHM all her life till widowed recently!

Why would she have been treated like this!

BroccoliSpearedThroughTheHead Thu 23-Oct-08 19:34:12

Because everyone over 18 who applies for a passport for the first time has a face-to-face interview. Nothing personal.

ShosheTheGhoshe Thu 23-Oct-08 19:35:09

I never did when I applied for mine in 2000.

chibi Thu 23-Oct-08 19:36:15

would you rather they gave out passports free in every box of weetabix? I don't see how they were being unreasonable - the locked door was a bit much, but asking for proof of ID isn't excessive.

What's with the 'very English name'? People can come from all sorts of countries with names of English origin, yet not have any English ancestors for generations, if ever. hmm

BroccoliSpearedThroughTheHead Thu 23-Oct-08 19:38:14

It was brought in a few years back.

onager Thu 23-Oct-08 19:39:58

How does "mothers birth certificate" help? I don't have my mothers birth certificate, but I imagine one could be ordered. They give them to anyone who asks don't they?

ShosheTheGhoshe Thu 23-Oct-08 19:41:40

No of course not, I had never heard of this being done.

As I said I applied for the first time in 2000 (although I had been on my Mothers passport as a child)

I filled them in, had them checked at the post office, enclosed my birth certificate, and sent them off, two weeks later I got it back.

I included the part about a very English name, as my Father felt that they were trying to prove she had no right to be in Britain, the way the questions were worded, it upset the lady a lot, as she couldn't understand why they were asking her them.

bundle Thu 23-Oct-08 19:41:55

*never been out of dorset*

don't see why that's relevant

ivykaty44 Thu 23-Oct-08 19:42:50

Has caused even more problems in france - if you are adopted in france then it is virtually impossible to get passport....

ShosheTheGhoshe Thu 23-Oct-08 19:43:13

No I couldnt understand why they wanted her Mothers BC, as her mother was born in 1900!, as it happens she had it, but I have got my grandparents born at the same time, I got mine by sending for them for family tree research.

bundle Thu 23-Oct-08 19:44:08

friend had work placement in Australia when his wife was pregnant - they had a helluvatime trying to get their newborn, who was born there, out of Australia....

ShosheTheGhoshe Thu 23-Oct-08 19:44:48

it was relevant as she felt they were trying to prove she was'nt British.

Remember this is a elderly woman we are talking about, who is not used to anything like this.

twentynine Thu 23-Oct-08 19:46:00

It is standard practice and she probably got a newbie investigator right out of training who was a tad gungho.

They've probably got an APB on little old ladies. grin

bundle Thu 23-Oct-08 19:46:58

it doesn't matter how old she is/what colour she is/whether she's been out of Dorset (er, which you can't prove) - the "britishness" should depend on the same evidence for everyone, surely?

ShosheTheGhoshe Thu 23-Oct-08 19:48:20

She isnt the most forceful of ladies, and has lead a sheltered life. I dread to think what state she would have been in Dad hadn't been with her.

He is 80, but pretty worldly wise, spent 32 years in the RAF all over the world, but it quite shocked him!

SaTanicGore Thu 23-Oct-08 19:48:53

Reaching a certain age does not make you exempt from the rules.

The new passport regulations were brought in in early 2007 (I think, I know we scraped in just before).

Be warned, they are tightening them up further. At the moment they cover first time applications, but they intend to also bring in interviews for lost/stolen & expired passports too.

onager Thu 23-Oct-08 19:49:39

I can understand how the woman felt. They are supposed to check you are the right person not decide if you qualify in any sense. Whatever their intent it sounds as thought it felt like the latter.

I don't know what I'll do if I want a passport. I've no way to prove who I am unless electricity bills count.

nooOOOoonki Thu 23-Oct-08 19:50:32

How did the passport office know she was British otherwise?

Being born here doesnt make you eligible for a British passport, so she would have needed her mother's bc to help prove that her mother was British.

If her parents werent British she would have had to gone down a very different route to get a passport.

expatinscotland Thu 23-Oct-08 19:52:02

i didn't have an interview when i got my first British passport, just after having undergone the naturalisation process, but had to give A LOT of info and they called my old boss and made her send them a letter proving i was in Edinburgh for a certain length of time.

ShosheTheGhoshe Thu 23-Oct-08 19:52:40

Bundle have you read what I was saying.

I said I had never heard of this being done. Nor had she.

She couldn't understand why she was being asked all these questions, and thought she had done something wrong.

Of course it should be the same for everybody. I have a SA DDIL, who is going through British Citizenship at the moment and it is understandable that she is being asked to prove everything.

But the letter she got asking her to go to the passport office did not say that it was because she was getting her first passport, that she had to have a face to face interview.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 23-Oct-08 19:52:56

Shit, I'd better get on and renew mine which expired a couple of years ago. Not that I am particularly worried about proving my identity but I'd probably have to drive into Liverpool and that scares the hell out of me - well, no, I can drive IN ok but tend to get hopelessly lost trying to get out again.

bundle Thu 23-Oct-08 19:57:45

yes I read what you said

and I know that you have to do face-to-face interviews these days for a first passport

I'm sorry she was worried about it - it's good that she had someone like your dad with her - but I really think the English name/never been out of Dorset/SAHM stuff is irrelevant. She's not been singled out.

ShosheTheGhoshe Thu 23-Oct-08 20:01:20

No but she felt like she had, the relevance was that she kept telling them the facts, because to her they were relevant

southeastastra Thu 23-Oct-08 20:06:38

oh no mine's expired too

gawd help the passport office if my 81 year old mil decides to get a passport

pinkspottywellies Thu 23-Oct-08 20:07:13

Sounds like the problem is that they didn't explain the process so that she understood it. Everyone, since 2007 has to have an interview to get thier first passport. I assume that everyone is asked the same questions.

Perhaps they should have taken a little more time to explain this and put her mind at rest (and left the door unlocked!). Can your dad help her write a letter complaining about the lack of help with the system?

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