AN ANDOVER mother who could be separated from her husband is calling for the government to scrap the cost of citizenship applications for Commonwealth military service personnel.

Hannah Swart has launched a petition which has gained over 150,000 signatures urging the Home Office to rethink the fee.

Her husband, South African-born Dewald, has been serving with the British Army for 12 years, completing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was deployed on the streets of London after terrorist attacks, but if the family cannot find the money to pay for his citizenship, he could be deported once he has finished his service.

Currently Commonwealth military service personnel have to pay £2,300 for the citizenship process, but Hannah wants this to be scrapped and so set up the petition.

“I decided enough is enough, I decided I wanted to get enough attention as I could to get something done about this.

“This isn’t a fight with the army, it is a fight with the Home Office.

“He would have to go back to South Africa. It is terrifying, absolutely terrifying, how would I explain it to my children?

“The options we would have is for me and the kids to stay here, and if we were lucky see each other every five years, but South Africa is not safe, we couldn’t move there. It is a really difficult situation, we are stuck between a rock and hard place.”

During her campaign, Hannah has found out despite the fact that military personnel pay thousands of pounds for the process, she says it only costs the Home Office a fraction of that.

“Through doing my research, it [costs] only £252 for the Home Office, they are charging 800 per cent more.

“I think it is disgusting, I got a response from the Home Office saying ‘we charge as much as we do trying to keep the border controlled and to save tax payers’ money’ — my husband has been paying tax for the last 12 years.”

In talking about what her end goal is, Hannah said: “Ideally I would like it where they [Commonwealth personnel] don’t have to pay at all, but even if they only have to pay £252 that is an amazing difference.”

Hannah has been given the support of thousands of people, and also has had the backing of the Royal British Legion, which she met with this week.

“The British Legion are fighting the same cause. We are going to work together, I have got the public onside and they are currently getting MPs onside. We are going to get people behind us and hopefully we can get an outcome.

“It is amazing, I am getting stories from other Commonwealth soldiers who are going through the same process or have been, I don’t think I have had one negative comment.

“Someone on social media said I was a ‘strong lady’ and ‘so proud you are fighting’."

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The government highly values the service of all members of HM Forces, including Commonwealth nationals.

“We are committed to upholding our obligations under the Armed Forces Covenant, to ensure that no one who is serving, or who has served, or their family members are disadvantaged as a result of their service.

“Income from fees charged for immigration and nationality applications plays a vital role in our ability to run a sustainable immigration and nationality system and minimize the burden on the taxpayer.

“The Home Office reviews fees on a yearly basis.”

The spokesperson did not comment on Hannah’s petition.

To sign the petition, go to