Cornwall woman receives passport apology after UK visa error

20 Apr 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A woman who has lived in Britain for 47 years has received an official apology from the Home Office after being told she was not able to renew her passport.

According to Mary-Ann Astbury, she moved from Canada with adoptive parents in 1971 and was able to travel on their parents’ passport.

After obtaining a passport in 1983, Ms Astbury reportedly allowed it to expire due to a lack of funds for travel. However, when she sent off another application last year, she was told by the Home Office that it would be rejected on the grounds that she is not a British citizen and the status of her biological parents is unknown.

"I am a British citizen. I've grown up here and I've been here for 47 years,” she said. "I've worked all my adult life, I've paid all my taxes, national insurance, everything. I've had two children here and I was married to an Englishman. I am British."

In response to an appeal from Ms Astbury, the Home Office has said it will contact her to discuss her options if she wishes to become a British citizen, although stopped short of confirming the status she sought.

"It's a step forward, but I still feel I am already a British citizen,” she said.

According to figures, there are now around 500,000 people in the UK who were born in the Commonwealth and arrived in Britain before 1971.