Family living in Kuwait stranded in UK due to baby passport delay

Samantha Hogg, with her husband Bassam and six-year-old daughter TamaraImage source, LDRS
Image caption,
Kuwait International Airport closed due to the coronavirus outbreak leaving the family stuck in the UK

A new mother from Kuwait has described the "absolute nightmare" of being unable to get a British passport for her baby due to the virus lockdown.

Samantha Hogg is staying in Crosby, Merseyside, in a flat owned by her father, almost 4,000 miles from home.

But the 30-year-old said she cannot return home until the birth of her 13-day-old daughter Taliah is registered.

Many councils have deferred birth registrations due to social distancing as they must be done in person.

Mrs Hogg was born in Essex but left for Kuwait at the age of three due to her father's work commitments, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

She returned to the UK at the beginning of March, before the coronavirus crisis hit, to visit members of her family.

But Kuwait International Airport closed due to the outbreak, leaving Mrs Hogg, her daughter and husband stranded in the UK.

A few weeks later, on 8 April, she gave birth to her second daughter Taliah at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral.

She said the situation is "an absolute nightmare".

"We're sat here wondering if we're ever going to get back," she said.

Image source, LDRS
Image caption,
Taliah was born at Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral on 8 April

While Kuwait is chartering flights for workers who are currently overseas to return until 9 May, the family cannot return until Taliah has a passport.

Mrs Hogg said: "I completely understand the lockdown, but I do not understand why the government has completely closed down essential services like birth registration without a solution when it is causing people to be locked in the UK."

A spokesman for the Home Office, said: "In line with public health guidance to stop the spread of the coronavirus, many local authorities have deferred offering birth registrations.

"The absence of a birth certificate for a newborn does not prevent a passport application being submitted, however alternative evidence will need to be provided."

Wirral Council said: "Unfortunately, the birth cannot be registered until the current restrictions are lifted."