Headline — 07 August 2015 — by Rowland A. Parks
Naturalized since 1981, but can’t renew her expired Belize passport

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug. 6, 2015–A Honduran/Belizean woman has a unique problem with the Belize Immigration Department and visited Amandala to tell her story about trying to renew her Belizean passport for more than one year now.

Ruth Castillo, 46, said her parents brought her to live in Belize when she was only three months old. She has lived in Belize all her life and went to school here. In fact, she said that she has never been to Honduras, since living in Belize.

The mother of eight children told Amandala that Belize is the only home she knows. She became a naturalized Belizean in 1981, when her mother, who died in 1986, filed her nationality papers. Both of her parents are now dead.

The Immigration Department, however, has told her that they cannot process her application to renew her expired Belize passport, although she has the expired passport as proof of her status in Belize.

She said officials at the Immigration Department told her that for her to get the new passport, she would have to provide them with her nationality certificate.

Castillo said that is almost an impossible task for her, since her mother was the one who had dealt with the filing of her papers when she was a child.

Immigration officers, Castillo said, told her to go to the Honduran Embassy to seek their assistance in getting a copy of her birth paper. She went to the Honduran Embassy, but they were unable to assist her.

Since she has the expired passport and its number is quite visible, why is the Immigration Department unable to verify her naturalization documents?

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