Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or upload here
Passport delays leave family stranded in Africa
A FAMILY’s summer plans appear to have been scuppered by the backlog of passport applications as they are left stranded in Uganda.
Rosalie Howles, who has lived in Kampala with her husband and three young children for three years, is due back in the UK on August 15 for a five month trip, which includes celebrating her sister’s wedding on September 26.
But their homecoming trip could be put on ice due to the delays at The Passport Agency - which is reportedly dealing with 465,000 applications.
Mum Jennifer Bluck, from High Wycombe, said: "The government has changed the rules, so they you can no longer get a passport at the British Embassy.
"When they applied they were told it could take up to 15 weeks, which takes them right up to the date they are due to depart which means it’s unlikely they will be able to make it back now.
"It is going to scupper all the plans we have - all because The Passport Office cannot cope with the backlog and no-one seems to be doing anything about it.
"The government really needs to review the situation for British nationals that live abroad, because they simply cannot drive down to The Passport Office and pay to have their application fast-tracked."
To make matters worse, the family sent their identification back to the UK with their passport forms which could potentially leave them vulnerable in Uganda, where people are regularly stopped and checked by the security services.
Mrs Bluck said: "It’s a concern. It’s not good to be without ID in Uganda as you are frequently stopped in the streets and by the roadside.
"It’s very difficult for them, they should not be without ID as it could put them in a precarious position."
Mrs Howles said she had written to Steve Baker MP and her daughter had been in touch with David Burrow, the MP for Enfield where the family lives when they return to Britain, in an attempt to speed up the process.
She said: "Things seem to be moving more in the UK now the MPs have become aware of the situation and publicity has increased."
The Howles moved out to Uganda three years ago and work as missionaries.