A father-of-two from Co Tyrone has said he has been chasing up an Irish passport application for his daughter for three years.
Deividas Kevisas, who is Lithuanian but has lived in Dungannon for many years, says the long delay with the application process and the subsequent loss of crucial documents, means he and his two daughters are unable to travel back home to see his elderly grandmother.
He originally sent off two application forms for Irish passports for his each of his daughters, which were received on May 22 2019 by the Irish Passport Office.
“I filled the applications in the same way and provided all necessary supporting documents. As proof of residency I used my P60s and also provided Home Office documents to show I had permission to live and work in the UK,” Deividas explained.
“I couldn’t provide all my P60s so I got a letter from HMRC with all my employment history since 2007 but the Irish Passport Office refused those. When I eventually managed to recover the lost P60 forms and then resent them all, a while later I got two letters back from the Irish Passport Office.
“One envelope contained a passport for one of my daughters, Ligita, and the other envelope was a refused application for my other daughter, Teja. It said that one of the P60 forms was missing and therefore the application was not complete. I thought that’s not possible as I actually found the missing P60s in my other daughter’s envelope who got the passport.
“I sent all documents back again but after a while they refused it again as the so called declaration form A was expired and needed witnessed again. I quickly got this sorted and sent documents back again expecting that was it.
“Turns out I misspelled a letter in Teja’s name so they refused the application again and were asking to get any record from her school or GP to make sure that the spelling was right. Regardless they had a correct spelling on Teja’s birth certificate and on the actual application form.”
Deividas then began using the webchat service to communicate with the passport office in Dublin.
“To save time I suggested I email those school and GP records but they refused, saying it had to be posted, which I did but they refused it again, this time saying that I wrote the wrong arrival date to the UK on declaration form A.
“After sorting that they refused again and were asking me to provide my expired passport and my latest passport, which was issued on 2016 to make sure I had Lithuanian nationality before my daughter was born. Luckily I had those and sent all what they requested back to them.”
Deividas’ application process was then stalled as the Passport Office was closed to all but urgent applications for long periods during the Covid pandemic.
He added: “All my documents were in Irish passport office in Cork and when all the offices shut down, I had no documents and no passport of my own. I was struggling to do EU settlement scheme as I had no ID and couldn’t start new employment.
“Finally when the Covid situation settled a bit, I got in touch with passport office and they advised me that paper applications will be dealt last as online application forms were the priority. The webchat adviser suggested me to cancel paper application form and submit the online one. Time is ticking as I sent this last November.
“For some reason I had a bad feeling and I just asked web adviser do they actually still have my documents and I was assured that yes they had.”
But when these crucial documents, which included his own passport, Teja’s birth certificates and consular notes weren’t returned to Deividas by post as planned, an investigation later found that they had been lost, for which he was offered a reimbursement.
“I was trying to request a face to face appointment with all documents I possibly have to get all sorted once and for all but they said they won’t do this due to Covid.
“I have mentioned to them that my grandmother, who is 86 now and under care assistance, hasn’t seen her grandkids for many years so I need this all sorted as soon as possible so I can finally get home to visit her.
“It feels that even when they will get all the documentation they require, they will still refuse the application for some ridiculous reason.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Foreign Affairs said: “The vast majority of passport applications are issued within the standard turnaround times published on the Department’s website.
“These turnaround times apply to fully complete and correct passport applications and begin from the date any necessary supporting documents are received by the Passport Service and not the date on which the online application was submitted.
“There are a number of measures in place to ensure that passport applicants complete their applications correctly:
- the Department of Foreign Affairs website has been updated to include a new passport service section where applicants can easily find out what additional documents are required for their type of application.
- when applying online, the applicant is given comprehensive instructions, on what documents to submit once they complete the online application.
- the Customer Service Hub is available to answer applicants’ questions by phone or webchat. The Customer Service Hub has handled over 95,000 queries since the beginning of the year.
“We urge applicants to submit any supporting documents that are required as soon as possible after they apply online.
“Applicants should also follow the photo instructions carefully and check our website and the instructions on Passport Online to ensure that they are submitting the correct documents.
“The Passport Service cannot comment on individual cases. Customers will need to make direct contact with the Passport Service, the Customer Service Hub at: https://www.dfa.ie/passports/contact/.”
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