On 20 March 2020 the US Passport Office closed its doors to in-person passport applications meaning that a number of our parents with newborn surrogate babies (who usually rely on the US passport to travel back to the UK) were stranded.
At the same time travel restrictions globally started escalating, with parents of newborn surrogacy babies stuck in Ukraine and Georgia.
With the emerging advice from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that Brits should get home as soon as possible, we started working urgently to help get these babies home.
Due to the strange workings of UK surrogacy law, if a surrogate is married a child will not automatically inherit British nationality from their intended/biological parents. In such cases the solution is to register them as a British citizen through the Home Office’s discretionary policy – a process which can usually take up to 6 months.
This was the case for our British surrogacy dads who spoke to the Guardian newspaper. They are now home, thanks to the efforts of the Home Office and our team. We managed to get British nationality granted within days of the US passport office closing and an emergency passport for their son within one week of applying.
Since then we have had an increasing number of British surrogacy families reach out to us who are stranded in Georgia and Ukraine, where a British passport would usually be applied for in person and on the ground (where surrogates are usually unmarried, and the children are therefore born British) and the UKVI centres have closed due to the lockdown.
We followed a similar process for our British parents who were stuck in Georgia. They were granted an emergency passport for their daughter and home within 4 days of us reaching out to the Home Office.
We are currently working with over 40 families who are either in the country of birth waiting for their child to be born, or stuck in the UK without a way to travel.
The problem of parents not being able to get to the country of birth to care for their newborn children is looming fast, and we are doing all we can to persuade the UK government to find a solution to support these families.
We are keeping the Home Office up to date with any family who is affected and will need support so please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to this list.