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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Duck in the Row, but there Are More to Come...

Needing to replace a damaged U.S. passport when living in a foreign country can be problematic. The first problem to overcome was that I could not use my damaged document to prove my citizenship. Therefore, it was necessary to obtain an official copy of my birth certificate -- my only copy being in storage somewhere in Olympia, Washington.

I ordered my birth certificate from the State of New Jersey the 3rd of May and received it last Wednesday the 23rd. It was complicated because that State only sends birth certificates within the United States and only to the address on the identification used! This could have been a real problem for me, but as I had just sorted out transferring my driving license back to the State of Connecticut using my mother's address -- I was good to go!  I had arranged with my brother to mail it to me when it arrived, however, when it didn't drop through the letter chute a week ago, I called my mother. She said it had not come -- but when I checked I discovered that it had been delivered to the front desk on the 5th of May. I called my brother and he promised to look for it when he visited my mother later the same day. That night he telephoned me with the good news that it was indeed among the vast quantities of mail she collects! He sent it  by UPS on Monday and Wednesday morning it was delivered!

Now I could make an appointment with the Embassy in London. Because it is a 'damaged' passport, I must appear in person. The earliest appointment I could get was 29th June at 7.45 a.m. and I booked it. Train tickets have been ordered and delivered and arrangements have been made to stay with my Niece in Bayswater. The only thing left is getting the passport pictures. I am happy to say there is a photographer here in town who is familiar with all the rules involving this and taken photos for other Americans -- the government is incredibly fussy about this and regularly reject photographs that are not up to their exacting specifications:
Submit a color photograph of you alone, sufficiently recent to be a good likeness of you (taken within the last six months), and 2 x 2 inches in size. The image size measured from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head (including hair) should not be less than 1 inch and not more than 1 3/8 inches. The photograph must be color, clear, with a full front view of your face, and printed on thin paper with a plain light (white or off-white) background ....
U.S. Government Bureaucracy at its best!

Once I've appeared and sworn allegiance, and so on and so forth, my application will be sent off to the States. I am praying that Officialdom will return my damaged document to me because it has the home office stamp giving me indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. I will need to present it along with my new passport to British immigration officials the next time I return to the UK. Which brings me to going to France this year!

The Man leaves on Saturday 2nd June for the Lot and I shall join him whenever I get my passport, which could take 4 weeks from the appointment day! But at least, at the moment, things are looking good for a sunny and warm English summer!

22 comments:

  1. G'day broad. Good luck with it all.It's a lot of rigmarole to go through isn't it?. But, in the end I am sure it will all work out just fine. Take care. Liz...

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    1. Thanks, Liz. 'Rigmarole' is just the right word!

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  2. Your government goes to great lengths to protect you (it seems). Wouldn't want the wrong person getting your passport.

    I hope all the details work out. And that you make it to France sooner than later.

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    1. Lately, I feel protected almost to death!

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  3. Photocopy your current passport and get it notarised..just as back up.

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    1. What a good idea, Fly. Thanks.

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  4. Dear Broad, it's been years since I got a passport, so I'm amazed at all of this. Thanks for sharing the paragraph from the official instructions. Wow! So persnickety! Good luck with all this. Peace.

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    1. The procedures are definitely not for the faint-hearted, Dee! But I am getting there, step by step...

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  5. We might well bump into the man but not be aware of having done dso. We head out to France on the 2nd as well, but sadly only for a week...

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    1. Well, it looks like you are picking a good week with the weather. Just as it looks like England is back to low temperatures -- right on time for the big bank holiday, too! Bon Voyage!

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  6. Gosh, isn't life complicated, Broad? Fly's suggestion of getting a notarised copy sounds good and could you not also ask the Embassy to return the original to you? Good luck with the application and Bon Voyage to The Man.

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    1. It says on the website that the embassy 'may' decide to keep a damaged passport. I intend to explain that I need it for the stamp -- but in the meantime, I will get a notarized copy and hope The Man can find the letter from the Home Office...

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  7. Hi, Broad: Wow! That damaged passport has really been a hassle-and-a-half, hasn't it? I do hope you get the replacement soon and can be on your way to join The Man in France! In the meantime, thank goodness you're getting some summery weather in England. (My friend Sue, who returned to England to attend to some family business, said the good weather came just as she was leaving and now, back in blazing Arizona, she wishes she could be back in the more temperate English late spring!

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    1. It looks like I'm getting there though -- thank goodness. The summery weather here is about to change -- much cooler tomorrow and for several days to come. London will probably be fine, but up here in the north west of England it's probably back to being below average. But at least the sun is supposed to shine.

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  8. Lucky you getting a copy of your birth certificate so easily. I tried to get a copy of a young man's birth certificate...he had been mugged here and lost everything. Since he lived in California and because of TSA regs. he couldn't get on a plane without identification. But in California, if you want a copy of a birth certificate you have to present yourself, in the flesh, to the appropriate desk. We finally convinced the powers-that-be that unless he swam to California, without ID he couldn't get on a plane etc. etc. Which came first the chicken or the egg eh? Bureaucracy finally relented and a birth certificate was forthcoming. Glad you didn't have to deal with the bodies in California...hope the passport thing gets sorted quickly too.

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    1. I was so lucky to be able to get that driver's license on the day before I came back to the UK. That was a bit of a palaver -- but the funny thing is, the motor vehicle department accepted my 'damaged' passport as proof of identity!

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  9. Bureaucracy's are interchangeable. My purse was stolen. Along with my driver's license went my social security card. The one I had carried in my checkbook cover for fifty years without a second thought. To get a new driver's license I had to produce a social security card. Or a birth cirtificate...and on and on. I did succeed in under four weeks. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Joanne, I can totally sympathize! However, one thing I never carried around was my SS card. When I first got my card at the age of 16 -- 50 years ago, my father told me to memorize the number. On the card at that time (it's no longer true) the words 'not to be used for identification' were under the number. Well when I changed my license earlier in May, I was required to show my SS card. Fortunately for me I was able to get one ordered and it arrived 4 days later!

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  10. English passport photos have much the same rulings. The last time Nigel had his renewed they told him to get another photo because the one supplied was a millimetre out on the face size!!!

    We have just had to get a copy of our marriage certificate from S.Africa, they also said we had to go in person, but with lots of letters from us and good talking some friends managed it for us but not easily. What would we do without good friends? Diane

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    1. I think English passport regulations have changed! If everything goes to plan and I become a citizen, I'll find out soon enough!

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  11. When I was on my way to Egypt I looked at an arabic film on the plane (with subtitles of course) about an Egyptian with dual nationality who returned to Egypt and threw away his American passport. And the tribulations he had trying to get anohter one. It sounds awful, and I think that most passports have these onerous regulations. I had such problems getting photos of small children who find it very difficult to even know if they are smiling or looking straight at the camera.

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    1. Yes, now in the UK each child has to have his own passport. Ours always have had as I've been using an American passport and am the one who had to travel with kids on her own so much of the time.

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