Sharon Magro has been waiting for ten weeks to get her British passport back so she can fly back to the UK to look after her son Sheldon, who was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer earlier this year
A British mother living in South Africa has told how “horrendous” passport delays are preventing her from caring for her seriously ill son in the UK.
Sharon Magro, 59, has been waiting for her British passport to be returned for ten weeks after applying for an extension on March 1.
The mother-of-two is dying to fly back to the UK to see her 31-year-old son Sheldon Magro, who was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer earlier this year.
Sharon, who works at a haulage company in Durban, says she is devastated that she cannot reach Sheldon and is relying on her eldest son Warrick, 35, to take care of him until she can fly to the UK.
She said: “I’m so stressed out that I can’t be there for my son.
“I’m so annoyed and so angry. I can’t tell you how lonely it feels when you don’t even get updates from the passport office.
“I tried calling and I tried their website. You can’t even reach anyone. You stay tuned in.
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“I’m on a mobile phone in South Africa so it cost me a lot too, around £1,000 to £1,500.”
She continued: “I have even started emailing the Prime Minister – I have had no reply from him – regarding my appalling service.
“Nothing is worse for a mother sitting miles away and unable to reach her children.”
Sharon, who lives in South Africa with her partner Jeffrey Holliday, 68, wrote to The Mirror after thousands of holidaymakers were faced with huge passport delays
The Home Office has since said Sharon’s passport has now been issued after it was expedited “for urgent and compassionate reasons”.
It added that extension requests from South Africa take up to 11 weeks.
Sharon said: “I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you have been involved in finding out the status of the passport.
“I can’t believe the passport is processed, printed and on its way to delivery to me in one day!”
The Home Office, which issues all UK passports, is currently advising travelers to wait up to 10 weeks for their passport to be renewed.
However, some families say they have had to wait 12 weeks and fear their summer holidays will not be able to continue if their documents do not arrive on time.
There have been warnings of a huge demand for passport applications following the relaxation of international travel rules in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
The rules are also more complicated because, since Brexit, Brits can no longer travel to the EU on a passport that is about to expire.
According to the rules of the Schengen area, your passport must be less than 10 years old on the date of entry and must be valid for at least three months after the date of intended departure.
The three-month rule does not apply to Ireland, but also to some non-EU countries – Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City.
The Passport Office estimates that 9.5 million British passport applications will be made this year and in March 2022 alone.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/mum-devastated-after-waiting-10-26916742 Mum devastated after waiting 10 weeks for passport to look after her seriously ill son in the UK