1 Feb 2013

UK visa delay angers grieving New Zealander

9:32 pm on 1 February 2013

A New Zealand woman in Britain says border officials there prevented her from travelling to the funeral of her grandfather in Auckland.

Helen Smith lives with her British husband and their two children, and applied for a new visa in September last year, the BBC reports.

But she is still waiting for officials to return her passport, and says her plea to speed up the process after her grandfather's death was rejected.

Border officials say applicants can not be given updates during the first six months of their application, but Mrs Smith says not being able to attend her grandfather's funeral has been "devastating".

Local MP Charlie Elphicke told the BBC that the application should have been fast-tracked and says he is taking up Mrs Smith's case with the immigration minister.

The UK Border Agency website says: "Our staff cannot provide any information about your application if you applied less than six months ago."

Mrs Smith says she is still hoping to fly to New Zealand for the scattering of her grandfather's ashes.