A blind woman who says was refused a passport because her eyes were ‘out of focus’ on her photograph claims she was discriminated against because of her disability.
Alexandra Carter, 25, received a letter from the Passport Office telling her application for a new passport had been rejected because she didn’t have a “neutral expression”.
Excited about her first holiday abroad in 10 years, Ms Carter had sent off her application for her first adult passport in plenty of time for her week-long October trip to Santa Ponsa, Majorca with childhood friend.
But officials at the Passport Office in Liverpool, Merseyside, rejected her initial application because her eyes weren’t looking straight ahead.
“Within the application there was no box to tick about my disability. I rang up to see if I needed to do anything to prove my disability and was told no.
“I even went to the Post Office to explain my situation and I was told that as long as the photo met the other requirements specified it should be fine.”
Alexandra, who has spent almost £25 on getting her passport photo right, said that she feared losing the £400 she had paid to go away.
She said: “I thought I was going to lose the holiday and I was worried I was going to lose the money.
“I have now had to write a letter explaining my disability as well as proof from my doctor and see if they will grant me a passport. I have taken new photos, but they are not much better – my eyes are beyond my control.
“This matter is disgusting and discrimination against people who have eyesight problems. I should not have to explain a disability from birth to anyone.
“I live independently and don’t need any help from anyone. I use a symbol cane to get around.
“It is something beyond my control and I just hoped they would be more understanding. I found I was treated with a lack of manners.”
“I don’t want in 10 years time when I re-apply for my passport to have to go through all this again.”
Fortunately for Alexandra, from Wigan, Lancs., Passport Office officials confirmed that her passport has now been sent out.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The letter sent to Miss Carter to explain why her application was refused stated the photo she had submitted was unacceptable because she did not have a neutral expression.
“This was not related to her visual impairment and, following her complaint, staff from Her Majesty’s Passport Office have spoken to her to clarify this.”