Sunday, 16 August 2009

Aaargh bureaucracy!

This week's stress has been the nightmarish process that is replacing a UK passport while living in Australia. K and I had holiday planned for mid September - Vanuatu, diving, mmmm! - when I realised that my passport had gone missing from its usual safe place (obviously not so safe after all, yes yes I know!)

For some reason known only to them, the British High Commission in Australia has decided to 'outsource' all of its passport application processing to a 'regional centre' in - wait for it - New Zealand!!! The local consuls refuse to answer any queries about passports, and you can't contact the main embassy in Canberra other than by post or in person. So all you have to go on is website information or information from a helpline that costs $3.50 minute and seems to connect you to a call centre in Inverness (judging by accents of staff I spoke to!)

Then there's the fact you have to get your application and photo signed by someone who's known you for 2 years and is a 'professional' - not that easy when you've only lived somewhere for 1 year! And don't even get me started on the rules for photos...

Anyway, having jumped through various hoops this week, the application is now in progress but will take up to 4 weeks, and could be longer if they decide they need more info, which was cutting it v fine for our holiday. Thankfully the lovely people at Dive Adventures, our travel agent, managed to postpone it for us for not too much extra, so we're now going in November. Fingers crossed for no more hoops!

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