Bristol mother stranded in Australia waiting for baby passport

Published
Image source, Ilaria
Image caption,
Ilaria discovered she was pregnant shortly after she arrived in Australia

A mother who got stuck in Australia during the Covid pandemic has been waiting months for her baby's passport.

Ilaria, from Bristol, gave birth to Ciara on 25 December, but Ciara hasn't been able to leave Australia because of passport delays.

Ilaria applied on 24 January and faces missing her flights home on 4 June as the document is still in transit.

"Just having a new baby, you need that family support, it's hard not being with them," she said.

"It's frustrating. I feel let down by the British Embassy, the consulate, the Passport Office, I thought they'd prioritise our case."

Ilaria and her husband Pilo visited Australia from Bristol in February 2020 for a sabbatical before she started her new job as a GP.

A month later, the Covid pandemic began in earnest and the couple found themselves trapped in Australia for two years.

Image source, Ilaria
Image caption,
Ilaria and Pilo have found the experience "frustrating"

When she applied for a passport in January 2022, she was told there would be a 10-week processing period.

Ciara's passport was issued on 13 May, but Ilaria is now worried that it won't get to Australia in the post in time for her flight in June.

"There's so many reasons why I need to be home: we've got business in the UK, I've got property here, I'm a trained doctor and need to work in the UK," Ilaria said.

An HM Passport Office spokesperson said it had increased staff numbers and was working to handle more applications.

"The vast majority of all passport applications are being dealt with well within 10 weeks," the spokesperson said.

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