Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US Embassy accused of delaying issuing sick child’s passport

US Embassy accused of delaying issuing sick child’s passport

US Embassy accused of delaying issuing sick child’s passport

An american citizen has blasted the US embassy in Phnom Penh for allegedly not following due process after an application to register the birth of his child has held up the issuance of an emergency passport for his sick son, delaying his treatment in the US.

Phillip Roth, who lives in Phnom Penh with the Cambodian mother of his child, on Wednesday accused the embassy of not following its procedures and delaying the application process as he tries to get his sick son, Alexander – who he said almost died – to the US for treatment.

He told The Post: “I’m a US citizen and so my child is granted US citizenship automatically. Unfortunately, the US embassy is delaying this process and not following their protocols and procedures.

“I specified that my child continually gets sick, indicating he had a temperature of 110 Fahrenheit, which almost led him to die in hospital. I want to get him to the US to see a doctor as quickly as possible.

“I think they are actively delaying the situation for no valid reason. I don’t really understand why they are doing this when I have provided all the evidence requested.

“They don’t provide any financial assistance and they would not speed up the process. They really do not care.”

Roth said the embassy has prolonged the situation, with the process now taking over a month.

An official at the initial interview only requested photos proving his relationship with the mother of his son, which he provided the same day, he said.

An embassy official who did not give their name later asked follow-up questions via email, which Roth claims goes against procedure as laid down on the US Embassy website.

The official demanded he undergo a DNA test costing $450, plus an $80 mailing fee, that could take anywhere up to 12 weeks. This would mean he would not meet the deadline for the passport application and then have to pay an additional $215.

“According to embassy protocol and procedures, they are not allowed to do that. Questions must be asked by the interviewing official and additional requests must be given at the interview.

“Also, they did not provide one reason as to why they needed an unnecessary DNA test. DNA tests are not needed to register a birth or apply for a passport.

“Even on the embassy website, it says the interviewing official can ask for a DNA test at the initial interview but you don’t have to have one unless you are told at that time. The interviewing official did not do that, so they have not followed procedure. I have proof of their misconduct and lack of compassion. This government entity is prolonging a dangerous situation,” Roth said.

US embassy spokeswoman Emily Zeeberg said she could not comment on the case due to the Privacy Act.

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