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visa denied Lanzarote dad yet to meet daughter as Irish wife struggles to get her passport

Caroline, who lived in Lanzarote for 15 years and met her husband Rachid there, moved home to Ireland last March as she was worried about Covid-19 and she also lost her job

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Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

A father living in Lanzarote hasn’t met his 11-month-old daughter as she and his wife in Ireland are struggling to get a passport. 

Caroline, who lived in Lanzarote for 15 years and met her husband Rachid there, moved home to Ireland last March as she was worried about Covid-19 and she also lost her job.

She gave birth to her first child Nohaila in September 2020 and after submitting an application almost a year ago, she still hasn’t received a passport for her daughter.

Caroline’s husband Rachid, who is originally from Morocco, is unable to visit Ireland as he has been denied a short-stay visa.

"My husband has never seen his daughter, never met her, never hugged her. She’s only seen him through a phone- when you say ‘dada’ she looks at the phone,” she said on RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline.

The mother-of-one has been back and forth with the passport office for 11 months.

Her first application was rejected due to the photo of her daughter not being right, despite it being approved by the website, and the second because her husband hadn’t signed it.

“In an email, they said they only need my signature and when I rang they said they needed two,” Caroline explained

“He’s in Lanzarote so it takes weeks for the application to get to Lanzarote and get signed with a witness and then get back to me.”

The mother then sent another application with her husband’s signature, but last Thursday received all her documents back with no passport and no explanation.

“I rang them and I got a lovely girl and she said it’s because the passport office has been keeping parents documents for too long so we’re sending them back now,” she said.

“So they have put my application now right back to the start.”

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Caroline now might not receive a passport for her daughter until October 8, as the Passport Service has warned that turnaround time for processing their paper-based or first-time submissions could extend to eight weeks.

It comes as the passport office is battling to deal with a backlog of 95,000 applications.

This is due to the combination of a flood of last-minute submissions after the lifting of pandemic travel restrictions, the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 shutdown, an estimated 30pc shortfall in normal staffing levels and issues with supporting documentation for paper-based applications.

Of the 95,000 passports still in the system, 43,000 represent incomplete applications where further documentation is awaited.

In a statement, the Passport Service said it cannot comment on individual applications but its advice is to citizens is “not to book travel until you are in possession of a valide passport.”

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