Sorry to start a post with such negativity – but getting a British Passport for a new born in this country is a nightmare. Before Annabelle was born we checked on line for the procedure and what paperwork would be required. We read somewhere on line that it would take 12 weeks which seemed like a lot to us and put us at risk of not getting the passport in time as we had planned to return to the UK about 12 weeks after Annabelle was born.
First things first, we had to get her birth certificate. This is done with the help of the hospital and since we were in a hurry my husband asked the nurses to please expedite the process, he witnessed them asterisk our papers and assumed that was code for ‘do this urgently’, but we have since learned, although it is not confirmed, that this could have meant ‘these are (apparently) wealthy foreigners, you can milk them a little’ as our birth certificate took 3 weeks in this time they even spelled her name wrong and then declared it can not be changed. Unless of course we pay. The whole thing cost us Rs4,000. Our friends who also had their baby at Ambani but didn’t require their birth certificate in a hurry went along to the BMC office and paid Rs60 and got 3 copies in less than 2 hours. We were ripped off!
Once we finally had the birth certificate we downloaded the application form (C2) from the website https://www.gov.uk/government/world/india. It’s worth noting that Mumbai Deputy High Commission do not do any dealings with passports. They won’t even answer your questions over the phone and their consular desks are open only between 8am and 10am. So getting any information is very difficult. Even if you call New Delhi High Commission they won’t put you through to a consular worker, the best you’ll get is a receptionist telling you to email the standard email address. We did email that email address and got an auto response saying “we don’t respond to emails please call this number…” which was a premium rate UK number. Really helpful. Thanks.
Anyway, on the website was a list of papers required for the application:(https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136846/form-c2-notes.pdf.pdf)
These included birth certificates, marriage certificates, passport photos for Annabelle, passport copies for us, a counter signed application form. We put it all together, reasonably easily and sent it off feeling like we would get the passport in time.
A week later, a letter came back saying our application was incomplete and that we needed to now send the following:
* All my pre natal records
* Photo copies of the discharge summary from the hospital for both Annabelle and me
* A photo of my husband and me at the birth
* Our original passports (and if not possible to send original as in my husbands case as he would be travelling for work) then colour copies of EVERY page of the passport attested by a UK lawyer. Try finding a UK lawyer in this country. Turns out the Mumbai Deputy High Commission will attest them for you. Good luck getting a meeting there though.
Anyway, we met all this criteria in less than a day and sent the application back. I spoke to a chap at the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai saying the system was so complicated and how I couldn’t find this information in the first place. All he kept saying was “it’s on the website”. I wish I could post that page here to help you all but I still can’t find it!
Low and behold, another week later another letter from the Consulate asking us now to send original copies of our marriage certificate and discharge certificate and MORE photos from the birth. But there was no definition in how many more photos or precisely what discharge information they required. All I wanted at this stage was to speak to someone about what was required, but when I called Delhi (the number they provided on the letter) I was told it is against the rules for anyone to speak to me. What service. In the end I lost it with the poor receptionist who kept saying “madam I understand” at which point I said “I don’t think you do understand because if you did, you would provide me with a suggestion on what I should do next, I have called, I have emailed, I have checked the website and apparently I’m still not sending what is required so please please let me speak to someone”. She asked me to email again and said someone would call me back before the days end. She was true to her word and when I spoke to the gentleman later that day it also transpired that I was required to send my antenatal profile as well as the discharge docs. Lucky I spoke to someone then, as this would not have been sent.
In my third letter to the Consulate I asked them to not write letters but to use email or phone in the future as the letters they sent me were taking 3 days to reach us. One was dated 28th May and we received it on 31 May.
Today it has been nearly 5 weeks since we submitted the first pieces of paperwork and still nothing. I have emailed them again for an update, but of course, no reply! We have 3 weeks before we are planning to return to the UK (where I am a bridesmaid at a friends wedding)…watch this space.
I hope, if you ever have to go through this, you don’t have the same experience that we have had. Whilst I think 16 weeks is a total joke to get a new passport (if we were in HK it would take 6 weeks), I do think that if you have time on your hands the procedure is pretty straight forward. It’s just that we are in such a rush and no-one is willing to help us expedite the situation.
If you have had any experiences dealing in this area, please feel free to share them.