Ranty Friday — Passports

Oh yes, this week’s Ranty Friday is all about passports and the nonsense unfathomable form we have to fill in

Now I like to think of myself as relatively intelligent.  I dont have a maths GCSE and I am rubbish at grammar but I get by.   English is my first language so red tape and form filling is relatively straight forward generally.

Until it comes to filling in passport applications.

J needs a new one as his runs out in July, just as he is about to need it for a trip of a lifetime to Kenya.   We got the forms and because I have had major issues with forms in the past I followed the notes pamphlet to the letter.   It told me that for a renewal I needed to fill in Sections 1, 2, 3, 4 and 9.    Which I duly did.  Double checking everything, using my best hand writing and ensuring it was a black pen.   J signed it.   I then dispatched him to the Post Office to queue for fourteen hours as it is the only Post Office for miles around.    We paid £8.75 for the  “Check and Send” service, along with the extortinate passport fee.

And we waited.

Except on Saturday the form came back because the bit about nationality had not been completed.

Now wait a  minute.

Nowhere in the notes did it say that this needed to be completed on a renewal.

And since J was a British citizen when we last filled in his passport that can hardly have changed in the last five years, can it?

But not only that but they need MY passport information.

And his father’s.

Who lives 300 miles away

All information they already have.   Information that has not changed since the last application was made.

Right, let’s fill in that section of the form then.   Oh no, but wait.  They didn’t bother to send the old form back to me so I could complete the missing section.  Oh no, that would be far too clever.   They sent a new blank form.

So I have had to fill in the entire thing again.

Except the bit about the existing passport which I CAN’T FILL IN BECAUSE THEY KEPT THE PASSPORT.

I mean FFS how complicated does this need to be?   He has had three passports already.   We are repeating information that is already stored on a computer.

And what is the point of paying the £8.75 if even they can’t get it right.

And when the experts can’t get it right surely there is something wrong.

 

Passport image courtesy of Shutterstock

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  • I think the passport lot are the WORST! I have had run in with them before. When I applied for a passport for Em, then aged 3, they decided she was one of their “chosen” few to be biometrically (I know I didn’t spell that right?) recorded and added to their database. She apparently had to go to Croydon, to have her fingerprints and iris image taken. I rang them, and was a bit cranky about it “she’s 3, apart from the fact that I don’t want my daughter on some government biometric list, do you really need to fingerprint and iris photo a 3 year old?”. They said they did, but then called me back to tell me it was an error, they only do it to 16+ year olds. Bonkers.
    If you ring them, they will send his passport back, I think?
    My Dad works for the FCO, he hates the passport lot, they are so anal, and pedantic and jobsworthy.
    I hope you get it sorted asap! Grrr indeed!!

  • That is an EPIC fail!
    I loathe the whole passport application form filling in thing. You’d think there would be an electronic way to do it by now – if I can do my tax return online surely there can be an online record of passport details! Archaic!
    And anyway, who knows a policeman or a judge these days for countersigning!?

  • I thought it was just me!! I think it must be the feeling of power they get from saying my 7 year old daughter sat too far back in the photo booth – how far away can you sit in those things?! Maybe she just has a tinier face than an adult? So, for a 1 minute check of the form and a telling off about the size of my daughter’s face, I apparently have to get her in, spend more money getting photos done (not too near the camera, not too far away, in a space about a foot square), get the photos back to the countersignature friend to go through another favour, get them back from him again, get back to the PO, and wait for them to tell me the pen isn’t the right shade of black or something they could have told me at the start. For £8.75 per minute of their time, or £17.50 as my 5 year old needs a passport too and it will be all the same comments I expect. Although if I keep going back to ask mini-questions, at least I’d get my money’s worth! Good luck with your application… gosh it’s a struggle to leave the country isn’t it?

  • Actually Mummy – you can do it online… up to the stage where they have to post it to you to finish off with photos, signatures, countersignatures etc. It’s barely worth the effort of typing it in the first place. And I think you can ask pretty much anyone with some sort of position in the community to countersign – at least someone’s realised not enough of us know judges and policemen I guess!

  • G has two passports, Italian and British, so I utterly sympathise with your pain and double it! For some child trafficking law or other the Italian passports for minors is only valid for 3 years, whilst the Brits go a full 5 years with a picture of a kid, which in G’s case was taken at 3 weeks old, who looks nothing like her picture anymore! Take a deep breath and think that it is a necessary evil in order to bring up these world explorer kids of ours x

  • We don’t have passports….I think this is one of the reasons why…The whole process of messing about filling in forms and of course the cost!! What a faff on!!

  • We had the same problem with Beth’s recently. We sent all of ours off at the same time and beths didnt have some thing ticked and they sent it back but all 4 didnt have it ticked …?? i think they make it up as they go along!

  • Ugh! that is so frustrating!! I had to fill out forms for maternity leave from my government job. I cannot tell you how much time was spent on the phone with HR headquarters, because something I had done was wrong. It was such a waste of time (and taxpayer money)! I totally relate to this post!

  • You should be able to get the £8.75 back as they obviously did not check the form for your properly. This is why we haven’t bothered with new passports since ours ran out about 10 years ago, the cost is ridiculous and we’d have to pay our GP to countersign as we don’t know any upstanding citizens personally, lol, last time we got a friend who was a lecturer to sign but we lost touch years ago when we moved to another part of the country. Makes you think they really don’t want us to leave the country ;o)