This morning started with a pleasant surprise. In May 2009 I wrote to the Home Office on behalf of one of my Eritrean clients. On fleeing Eritrea she found sanctuary in the UK, settled here and eventually naturalised as a British citizen. Sadly, her mother has since passed away and amongst her mother’s belongings my client found her own original birth certificate. Looking at this she realised that her actual date of birth is different from what she was told by her relatives who brought her to the UK and as a result her British documents all had the wrong date of birth on them.
So early in 2007 my client sent her original birth certificate to the Home Office as evidence of her real date of birth and requested for her naturalisation certificate to be amended. She did not hear from them for many months. She then came to me for advice and I wrote to the Home Office on her behalf to enquire about the documents that she had sent and about the procedure for amending her naturalisation certificate. This was in May 2009. 3 months passed with no reply. Nothing unusual, I thought. I wrote to them again in August 2009. No reply. The client kept contacting me for a while but eventually she stopped. I had not forgotten the case and had not closed the file because I felt that, although my hands were tied, the work was not finished.
And then today the good news came. The Home Office has finally replied to my letter! They have not only replied, they have actually issued a corrected naturalisation certificate for my client and free of charge (it normally costs £76!) .
The whole case took nearly 3 years but it makes me hope that there may be more positive surprises in store.