Passport Office question five year-old Max's citizenship in the UK

Five year-old Max with baby Rory

Five year-old Max with baby Rory

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A Walthamstow family's first holiday abroad together could be cancelled following a suspected 'computer error' at the beleagured Passport Office. 

James Mackay, 43, and his wife Jessica, of Northbank Road, are due to fly to Portugal with their two sons and extended family members on August 19. 

The parents applied to renew their passports with first-time applications for Max, five, and eight-month-old Rory at the Wood Street Post Office branch in May. 

A month later, the couple and Rory received their passports, but no passport arrived for Max.

Instead, they received a letter from the Passport Office in Peterborough stating Max "appears to have a claim to British citizenship" supported by a 0300 telephone number to discuss the application. 

Mr Mackay, a fishery business owner, says he has spent the last four weeks trying to speak to the Passport Office. 

He said: "We've had the most unbelievable experience at the Passport Office. 

"My wife and I have lived in the UK since birth. We couldn't be more British - it must be a computer error. 

"It's been absolutely horrible and as it stands today, one of us will have to stay at home with Max if it is not resolved. 

"Max has never been abroad or stepped one foot on an aeroplane. He won't stop crying." 

 Mr Mackay says every time he calls the 0300 passport advice line, he is either promised a call back within 48 hours from the Passport Office, or is put on hold for 30 minutes and then the line disconnects. 

He added: "If they make a promise to call back, they should honour it. It's like trying to break through an impenetrable wall. It is a bloody shambles."  

The ten-day holiday was booked by Mr Mackay's father and will be the first time his family have holidayed abroad together in over a decade.

Mr Mackay has turned to MP Stella Creasy to intervene in the matter, and has praised Ms Creasy for her quick response over the last 24 hours.  

The Home Office has been contacted for a comment. 

The Passport Office has been struggling to deal with a large backlog due, it claims, to unusually high demand. 

For more on this story see this week's Waltham Forest Guardian - out Thursday.

Comments (11)

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11:35am Tue 29 Jul 14

Villagecranberry says...

I do not think anyone is taking it out on them and knew they haven't been away for ten years.

Why did they leave it so long to apply for their sons passports?

These things happen in life and you just deal with it.

They would not cope long if they had a real life crisis.
I do not think anyone is taking it out on them and knew they haven't been away for ten years. Why did they leave it so long to apply for their sons passports? These things happen in life and you just deal with it. They would not cope long if they had a real life crisis. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -20

1:54pm Tue 29 Jul 14

AMAEEssex says...

@VillageMiserable. I guess we all have to assume you are just a WUP and this is your hobby, if not you must be a very sad individual.
Now, it is true that the Passport Office do state you should not book a holiday until you have your passport but they also state an average of 3 weeks for a "simple" application. The family applied in May which is three months early. The parents received their passports within a month together with the youngest son's. I would assume that Max has the same evidence of citizenship as Rory so there is clearly a mix up. The parent's complaint is not that the application has been queried but that it is impossible to contact the PO and they do not call back after promising to do so.
One day maybe something you read will make you happy then all us other readers can be happy reading about the curious case of a spontaneoulsy combusting VillageCranberry.
@VillageMiserable. I guess we all have to assume you are just a WUP and this is your hobby, if not you must be a very sad individual. Now, it is true that the Passport Office do state you should not book a holiday until you have your passport but they also state an average of 3 weeks for a "simple" application. The family applied in May which is three months early. The parents received their passports within a month together with the youngest son's. I would assume that Max has the same evidence of citizenship as Rory so there is clearly a mix up. The parent's complaint is not that the application has been queried but that it is impossible to contact the PO and they do not call back after promising to do so. One day maybe something you read will make you happy then all us other readers can be happy reading about the curious case of a spontaneoulsy combusting VillageCranberry. AMAEEssex
  • Score: 20

2:36pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Villagecranberry says...

AMAEEssex wrote:
@VillageMiserable. I guess we all have to assume you are just a WUP and this is your hobby, if not you must be a very sad individual.
Now, it is true that the Passport Office do state you should not book a holiday until you have your passport but they also state an average of 3 weeks for a "simple" application. The family applied in May which is three months early. The parents received their passports within a month together with the youngest son's. I would assume that Max has the same evidence of citizenship as Rory so there is clearly a mix up. The parent's complaint is not that the application has been queried but that it is impossible to contact the PO and they do not call back after promising to do so.
One day maybe something you read will make you happy then all us other readers can be happy reading about the curious case of a spontaneoulsy combusting VillageCranberry.
I know several people with children who all plan ahead and it is well publicised that passports should have six months unexpired us remaining.

The PO advise not to even book a holiday without getting your passport first. They have only themselves to blame.
[quote][p][bold]AMAEEssex[/bold] wrote: @VillageMiserable. I guess we all have to assume you are just a WUP and this is your hobby, if not you must be a very sad individual. Now, it is true that the Passport Office do state you should not book a holiday until you have your passport but they also state an average of 3 weeks for a "simple" application. The family applied in May which is three months early. The parents received their passports within a month together with the youngest son's. I would assume that Max has the same evidence of citizenship as Rory so there is clearly a mix up. The parent's complaint is not that the application has been queried but that it is impossible to contact the PO and they do not call back after promising to do so. One day maybe something you read will make you happy then all us other readers can be happy reading about the curious case of a spontaneoulsy combusting VillageCranberry.[/p][/quote]I know several people with children who all plan ahead and it is well publicised that passports should have six months unexpired us remaining. The PO advise not to even book a holiday without getting your passport first. They have only themselves to blame. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -15

2:58pm Tue 29 Jul 14

AMAEEssex says...

uuhm.. "is well publicised that passports should have six months unexpired us remaining" totally irrelevant comment. Not mentioned in the article or by me, did you actually read the article? Complaint is that the PO do not respond to emails, call back when they say they will. Strictly speaking, as you say, the PO do offer the advice (as stated in my reply) but that is arse covering by the department. For a British born and bred child from a British born and bred family, who have had one child's application back in 4 weeks, it should not take this long! I thought these were the people, non Asian, non EE, non immigrant that you like to stand up for. Anyway must be time for your mid-afternoon nap, sleep well.
uuhm.. "is well publicised that passports should have six months unexpired us remaining" totally irrelevant comment. Not mentioned in the article or by me, did you actually read the article? Complaint is that the PO do not respond to emails, call back when they say they will. Strictly speaking, as you say, the PO do offer the advice (as stated in my reply) but that is arse covering by the department. For a British born and bred child from a British born and bred family, who have had one child's application back in 4 weeks, it should not take this long! I thought these were the people, non Asian, non EE, non immigrant that you like to stand up for. Anyway must be time for your mid-afternoon nap, sleep well. AMAEEssex
  • Score: 7

3:32pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Villagecranberry says...

AMAEEssex wrote:
uuhm.. "is well publicised that passports should have six months unexpired us remaining" totally irrelevant comment. Not mentioned in the article or by me, did you actually read the article? Complaint is that the PO do not respond to emails, call back when they say they will. Strictly speaking, as you say, the PO do offer the advice (as stated in my reply) but that is arse covering by the department. For a British born and bred child from a British born and bred family, who have had one child's application back in 4 weeks, it should not take this long! I thought these were the people, non Asian, non EE, non immigrant that you like to stand up for. Anyway must be time for your mid-afternoon nap, sleep well.
“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
[quote][p][bold]AMAEEssex[/bold] wrote: uuhm.. "is well publicised that passports should have six months unexpired us remaining" totally irrelevant comment. Not mentioned in the article or by me, did you actually read the article? Complaint is that the PO do not respond to emails, call back when they say they will. Strictly speaking, as you say, the PO do offer the advice (as stated in my reply) but that is arse covering by the department. For a British born and bred child from a British born and bred family, who have had one child's application back in 4 weeks, it should not take this long! I thought these were the people, non Asian, non EE, non immigrant that you like to stand up for. Anyway must be time for your mid-afternoon nap, sleep well.[/p][/quote]“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” Villagecranberry
  • Score: -9

3:45pm Tue 29 Jul 14

AMAEEssex says...

You have still missed the point but as everyone on here thinks you are probably 12 that's not surpising. They could have applied 6 months earlier but if the PO cannot be contacted they would still be in this position. Anyway, personal rule, only 3 replies to a WUM and then out. Have something more important to do, toenails need cutting. Have a miserable day, it will make you happy :-)
You have still missed the point but as everyone on here thinks you are probably 12 that's not surpising. They could have applied 6 months earlier but if the PO cannot be contacted they would still be in this position. Anyway, personal rule, only 3 replies to a WUM and then out. Have something more important to do, toenails need cutting. Have a miserable day, it will make you happy :-) AMAEEssex
  • Score: 13

4:42pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Villagecranberry says...

AMAEEssex wrote:
You have still missed the point but as everyone on here thinks you are probably 12 that's not surpising. They could have applied 6 months earlier but if the PO cannot be contacted they would still be in this position. Anyway, personal rule, only 3 replies to a WUM and then out. Have something more important to do, toenails need cutting. Have a miserable day, it will make you happy :-)
Had they applied 6 months earlier there would not have been a backlog , strikes or other unforeseen circumstances and any anomaly could have been rectified in good time.

No insurance company would insure against such late claims otherwise they would go out of business.
[quote][p][bold]AMAEEssex[/bold] wrote: You have still missed the point but as everyone on here thinks you are probably 12 that's not surpising. They could have applied 6 months earlier but if the PO cannot be contacted they would still be in this position. Anyway, personal rule, only 3 replies to a WUM and then out. Have something more important to do, toenails need cutting. Have a miserable day, it will make you happy :-)[/p][/quote]Had they applied 6 months earlier there would not have been a backlog , strikes or other unforeseen circumstances and any anomaly could have been rectified in good time. No insurance company would insure against such late claims otherwise they would go out of business. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -15

5:57pm Tue 29 Jul 14

jonny mash says...

Maybe the Rt Hon Dr Stella Creases could offer to babysit? If not the family could take a stayathome trip here in Great Britain, the weather's hot and there's no need to change their money and get ripped off on the exchange rate. I thoroughly recommend Scarborough, Torquay or Southend
Maybe the Rt Hon Dr Stella Creases could offer to babysit? If not the family could take a stayathome trip here in Great Britain, the weather's hot and there's no need to change their money and get ripped off on the exchange rate. I thoroughly recommend Scarborough, Torquay or Southend jonny mash
  • Score: -10

11:22am Wed 30 Jul 14

gillman1998 says...

jonny mash wrote:
Maybe the Rt Hon Dr Stella Creases could offer to babysit? If not the family could take a stayathome trip here in Great Britain, the weather's hot and there's no need to change their money and get ripped off on the exchange rate. I thoroughly recommend Scarborough, Torquay or Southend
Not sure why you are having a pop at Stella Creasey, it sounds as if she has helped out here.
[quote][p][bold]jonny mash[/bold] wrote: Maybe the Rt Hon Dr Stella Creases could offer to babysit? If not the family could take a stayathome trip here in Great Britain, the weather's hot and there's no need to change their money and get ripped off on the exchange rate. I thoroughly recommend Scarborough, Torquay or Southend[/p][/quote]Not sure why you are having a pop at Stella Creasey, it sounds as if she has helped out here. gillman1998
  • Score: 14

2:28pm Wed 30 Jul 14

myopinioncounts says...

Beware the Post Office system which claims to be able to facilitate passport applications by carefully checking the form and photos. Having paid the extra fee for this service my husband's application was returned by the Passport Office because his photo was deemed to be unacceptable. We could see nothing wrong with it and the Post office were happy enough to send it. Fortunately for us he had applied early enough to get it sorted out in time.
Beware the Post Office system which claims to be able to facilitate passport applications by carefully checking the form and photos. Having paid the extra fee for this service my husband's application was returned by the Passport Office because his photo was deemed to be unacceptable. We could see nothing wrong with it and the Post office were happy enough to send it. Fortunately for us he had applied early enough to get it sorted out in time. myopinioncounts
  • Score: -4

8:41am Thu 31 Jul 14

tjm01 says...

AMAEEssex wrote:
You have still missed the point but as everyone on here thinks you are probably 12 that's not surpising. They could have applied 6 months earlier but if the PO cannot be contacted they would still be in this position. Anyway, personal rule, only 3 replies to a WUM and then out. Have something more important to do, toenails need cutting. Have a miserable day, it will make you happy :-)
Dont let him get to you
[quote][p][bold]AMAEEssex[/bold] wrote: You have still missed the point but as everyone on here thinks you are probably 12 that's not surpising. They could have applied 6 months earlier but if the PO cannot be contacted they would still be in this position. Anyway, personal rule, only 3 replies to a WUM and then out. Have something more important to do, toenails need cutting. Have a miserable day, it will make you happy :-)[/p][/quote]Dont let him get to you tjm01
  • Score: 10

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