‘I’ve been able to get a passport for my dog, but not for my daughter’
PUBLISHED: 09:49 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:49 06 July 2020
The parents of 2,500 babies born in Norfolk during lockdown are still unable to register their births - creating problems for some families who hope to go abroad.
Norfolk County Council closed its registration offices in March, when coronavirus restrictions were initially introduced.
Despite the government saying parents are now permitted to register the births of their children and some councils, including Suffolk, doing them again, Norfolk has yet to follow suit.
While the county council is allowing people to notify the council of a child’s birth online, that is not the same as registering a birth. It just means the parents will be contacted when registration offices safely reopen so the births can be registered.
And that is a cause of frustration for some parents who welcomed new arrivals during the lockdown period.
One new father, who did not want to be identified said that, without registering a birth, he was not able to apply for a passport for the daughter born in April, just after the lockdown began.
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He said: “As a family, we want to visit our new daughter’s elderly great grandfather in Ireland and have a trip booked for September, which is looking increasingly unlikely.
“But I can’t understand why Norfolk is taking so long to get this sorted out when other counties, including Suffolk, have got it up and running again.
“It is a real problem. It’s bizarre, because I’ve been able to get a passport for my dog, but not for my daughter. So, as a family, we’re currently looking like we won’t be able to go anywhere.
“We’d love to be able to take her abroad to meet her family for the first time. The thing is, if you don’t register a birth, in normal times, we’d get fined, but they seem to be taking ages to sort this out.”
A Norfolk County Council spokeswoman said they had still not set a date for registrations to reopen.
She said: “We are currently working on plans to reopen some of our registration offices very soon, where it is safe to do so.
“Due to lockdown restrictions, we currently have around 2,500 unregistered births but, should people need to travel abroad, we would ask them to contact us via our website to ensure they become a priority.”
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