A British citizen who has lived in Dundee for 11 years has been told she must fly to her native Thailand in order to be issued with a UK passport – because her married name does not match the one on documents in her homeland.
Chailai Strachan has lived in Dundee for more than a decade after meeting her husband Ally Strachan while he was on holiday in Thailand.
The red tape row has arisen because her Thai documents are all in her maiden name.
The 36-year old, who has British citizenship, has been told she will have to fly to Thailand to get her details changed there before the Home Office can issue her a UK passport.
That’s despite the fact her surname was made known to the department when she and Ally were married – and the fact she is applying for a UK passport after her Thai one expired.
Chailai, who works at the Invercarse Hotel on the Perth Road, has been ordered to change the name on her Thai national ID card so the surname reflects her married status to complete the British passport process.
She has been given a temporary passport to allow her to make the journey to Thailand, but is surprised she is being expected to make such a journey in the midst of a global pandemic.
She said: “It is quite frustrating, but I am just going to have to do what we need to do. There’s not much we can do.
“I was not expecting it to be as complicated as this.
“I have been here for 11 years and it feels like my home.”
Ally, 53, said he was shocked at the hoops his wife was being asked to jump through.
“I have to ask why this is necessary when she has a Home Office document with her legal married name as well as a marriage certificate with the changed name,” he said.
“It’s bureaucracy gone mad. The most bizarre thing to me is that they say she can’t have a British passport, but she can get a temporary one to make the flight so she can change the documents. All during a pandemic as well. The Home Office is a law unto themselves.
“Chailai will contact the Thai embassy in London and see if they can do anything, but even if we have to go down there, that’s not the best thing to do at the moment with the different lockdowns going on.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our ‘use of names’ policy is in place to protect the integrity and security of the UK passport and safeguard identity details.
“In this case, we have taken the global health pandemic into account and have issued Mrs Strachan with a temporary passport for 12 months to give her time to align her documents.”