Sunday, January 05, 2020

Passport renewal in Brexitville

The girls have been registered as Danish nationals since they were eligible - that is to say Anna became a Danish citizen upon our marriage when she was 14 months old, and Amaia has been Danish since birth. For some reason, children born abroad to a Danish father are not allowed to be Danish (unless the rules have changed in the last ten years) unless their parents are married. In fact, that was the primary reason Thomas and I married. We were a bit long in the tooth otherwise, or I was at least...

Anyway, that means that for the last decade both have been running on two passports - their UK one and their Danish one. Each has been renewed in turn - the Danes showed no interest in their UK one, the Brits previously simply asked if they had another, then issued the new UK one as soon as they received the photo with the usual 'I certify this looks a bit like X' guff on the back.

This time, when I filled out the online forms, it said Anna was old enough to sign her passport so could self-certify, which is new for us. Amaia on the other hand is still under twelve (the age a UK passport holder is required to sign - it is different in Denmark as both girls signed previous passports despite only being six when they were issued) so required a friend, not relative, who had known her at least two years, who was a UK resident and UK passport holder to confirm her identity. Obviously this is possible for us as we've not long left, but I wonder how I'd have fulfilled this requirement if I had moved away when she was a few months old and lost contact with home - she would still be eligible for a UK passport, but finding someone to confirm her identity would not have been a given. So, there must be many a British child out there who is finding it rather difficult to get the passport they are due. Who would have thought this UK government would make it difficult for ex-pats to get a passport?!😡

And that was when the fun began. I asked my sister from another mother, Linda, to help out. She was happy to, especially given she had done her neighbour's child two months ago so knew it was simply a case of okaying a photo and providing her own passport number and job title... or so it was with the UK-based child who lives below her... Suddenly Amaia's passport application morphed out of all recognition. First Linda was asked to confirm the photo and give her passport details - all well and good, then she was asked Amaia's date of birth, which she only knew roughly so had to ring me. She was then asked Amaia's current address, my date of birth, my place of birth, Thomas's date of birth, Thomas's place of birth, then Amaia's place of birth, then to confirm she knew me to be Amaia's biological mother! (Seriously!) I swear they stopped short at asking my bra size or whether Thomas sleeps in PJs or naked. I mean to say - it really helps to have goooood friends if this is the number of hoops they have to go through to help you out. I am seriously beginning to wonder if the UK is trying to make it so hard to get a passport when you live elsewhere or are a dual national, that they hope non-residents will simply find it easier to drop that second nationality in the long run. If that is what they are counting on to rid themselves of us, they aren't reckoning with the level of our stubbornness!

Over and above these issues, there is no longer an option to pick up at a consulate the way my older kids did with their French passports last year, and there was also no option to have a relative pick them up or receive them in the UK but the compulsory surcharge to have it sent to your foreign home address in the EU is nearly £20 per passport. So, despite a child's UK passport costing £58.50, these came out at £75.86 each, for just five years!

Finally, their last hoop is that they want me to photocopy both sides of every page in the girls' Danish passports ('whether they are blank or not') and send them a paper copy of that along with their current UK passport before they can get to work on their new ones.

Sixty-four sheets of A4 and two passports in a special delivery envelope. That isn't going to be cheap either. Sigh, grrrrr!

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