Indian family split up because baby cannot get a passport

Kuriakose family
Image caption The couple have two other children, who are aged 6 and 8.

An Indian family that has been living in Londonderry for 10 years has been split across continents because their baby girl cannot get a passport.

Basil Kuriakose is in Derry but his wife Jisha has been stranded in India for seven months.

She was visiting her sick parents when her daughter Riona was born there in March.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "First time and overseas passport applications can take longer."

'Devastating effect'

The family was told that it could take up to four and a half months for Riona to get her passport but it has now been seven months.

Jisha Kuriakose has a British passport. The last time the family were together was in India in August.

Mr Kuriakose told BBC Radio Foyle he feels helpless and being kept apart is having a devastating effect on them all.

"The children really miss their mum and I really miss my wife.

"I am just hoping she will be home before Christmas.

"There is nothing else I can do.

"My wife is really upset as well. I don't know how much longer I can afford this."

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "Her Majesty's Passport Office will not issue a passport until all necessary checks have been satisfactorily completed.

"We remain in contact with Mr and Mrs Kuriakose about their application."