Hitchin man’s viral passport tweet results in government response

PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 February 2020

Hitchin's Jon Spier sent a viral tweet that sparked a response from HM Passport Office. Picture: Twitter/@spierjon

Hitchin's Jon Spier sent a viral tweet that sparked a response from HM Passport Office. Picture: Twitter/@spierjon

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A viral tweet from man from Hitchin has prompted a response from the Home Office, who apologised for causing his family “distress and inconvenience”.

When Jon Spier went to renew his four-year-old daughter's passport earlier this year, he expected it to be a normal process.

But after he received the old passport with a sticky note attached, which said 'Parent born abroad', he was shocked and decided to share the news with the wider world.

Jon tweeted: "@HM passport Just renewed daughter's passport and this was on the old one. Could I ask why? And what sort of message do you think this sends?"

To his surprise, the tweet has had more than 800 retweets and 1,200 likes at present, with comments both slamming the Home Office and other sharing their own passport renewal nightmares.

Jon said: "It was quite shocking to receive this in the current climate.

"I definitely didn't expect to see that level of response to the tweet. 99 per cent of the replies were supportive but also questioning the reason behind the note.

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"Many people were concerned about this Government's motivation and reasoning for doing this."

In their reponse to his complaint, a member of the complaints team from HM Passport Office said: "As your daughter was born in the UK to a British parent, your wife's place of birth/nationality was not considered as part of the process.

"I can assure you this is not standard process for reviewing an application when received. Notes are not routinely placed on supporting documents and this does not form part of HM Passport Office examination procedure.

"This seems a genuine human error when processing the application.

"This matter has been raised with the issuing office (HM Passport Office Liverpool) and reviewed. The error has been fed back to the examining team in question to ensure instances such as this do not occur again the future.

"I am very sorry for the inclusion of the label on the passport when returning this to you and for the distress and inconvenience this may have caused you and your wife."

Both Jon and his daughter were born in the UK, and his wife is an EU citizen with settled status.

Commenting on this affair, a Home Office spokesman said: "We have apologised to Mr Spier for the distress and inconvenience caused to him and his family by what was a genuine, human error made during the processing of the application."

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