…this is actually part 2 of the Civil Servant saga, so please read “Married to be Divorced” first, to get the full picture. I’m considering sending this to the local newspaper, just to see if anything happens. It might just get some attention.
After almost ten weeks of locking horns with the civil servants at the local registration office, we finally managed to get our latest family addition registered. The two main benefits for us parents are:
- We can now claim child benefit
- We can get her signed up for school
- We can get her a passport so we can go traveling
The first thing we did after getting her registered was to go down to the local police station to pick up the latest passport form. Having completed the form twice already, we had a fair idea of what was required; the famous birth certificate, our passports, passport photos that were signed by the local police as witness.
Filling in the form is easy, but getting a passport photo of a 3 month old baby is actually a challenge. The baby is not allowed to wear sunglasses, an afro wig or a fake mustache. And it has to be a full profile with a white background. It’s bizarre they didn’t mention anything about pixels or colorful pixies in the background. Elfs aside, all passports issued in Ireland (and probably in the rest of the World) must comply with a fixed list of standards:
- Photographs should not be more than 6 months old.
- They may be in colour or black and white (b/w preferred).
- Minimum photos size 35mm x 45mm, maximum size 38mm x 50mm.
- Photograph should show a full front view of the subject’s head (as he or she would normally appear).
- The image must be sharp and clear, and taken against a plain white or light grey background.
- Sunglasses are not allowed. Tinted glasses may be worn provided they do not obscure the person’s eyes.
- Photographs should not show military or police uniforms.
- Only head coverings worn for religious reasons are permitted.
OK. Most of these standards were easy to comply with, mainly because:
- Our daughter is 3 months old, so the photo is up-to-date.
- We prefer colour photos as these bring out the aura and the natural beauty.
- Size is not an issue and quality is always top in our family.
Why this obsession about getting a passport for a 3 month old girl anyway?
Well, like most families we were dying to go on holidays since we missed out last year. Due to airline and doctor regulations my wife wasn’t allowed to fly while being 7+ months pregnant. So, that put some constraints on our travel opportunities as well.
Therefore, as soon as we had our baby, the event coordinator (miss South America) started to look into possible holiday destinations. There are plenty of lovely resorts out there, but we still have a budget to consider. It looked like we had to resort to a holiday in Europe, which is not a bad thing. Most European countries are fantastic during the summer. It is just a matter of finding a suitable family resort.
Once the famous registration was completed, we ventured onto the Quest for the missing passport.
Our two other kids were awarded their passports fairly quickly using “the passport express” option. So, we weren’t fearing any long delays. The biggest challenge was just getting the picture taken of a fast moving baby.
I picked up the passport form from the local Garda (police) station and we filled in the form. We quickly went down to the Garda station again, to get the local police officer to sign the forms. Done. Off to the nearest mailbox and send the form, including the mandatory papers; her birth certificate and our passports.
The weeks went by. We knew we had to wait at least 20 working days. So, we had a fair idea of when to expect the passport. And like clockwork, the letter from the passport office arrived. Drumroll. The application for your daughter has been …
What? Had she been shortlisted on the terrorist list? Was she an international spy?
No! They had simply changed the application requirements (again). They had forgotten to mention that one parent has to prove that he/she has lived in Ireland for four years prior to the baby’s birth. The joy of being an EU citizen…
I’m not trying to be awkward here, but the form failed to mention that we had to submit hard evidence of our 13 years in Ireland. Surely, the fact that we have been paying a mortgage for years, paid tax since we arrived and that we have two other kids registered, didn’t matter. And the hassle we went through with the registration!
We both called the friendly passport office. We were put on hold for 17 minutes. It’s not bad considering they have this dispute going with the union and they work to rule. I have no clue what that means… On both calls, we spoke to a very eager and UN-helpful civil servant (muppet), who responded with “tough, you should’ve read the fine-print on page 9” (there was no page 9). We were also told to fill in the form again.
They did state that we needed to fill in Form A. The form was so new that they hadn’t given it a name yet. And even better, the form had to be witnessed again. “Just go back to the Garda station and have them sign the form”, we were told. But this time the police weren’t permitted to be our witness. Unfortunately we found out after we went to the local Garda station again. Our friendly civil servant had given us false information. It had to be somebody reliable, like a politician, a civil servant or a solicitor (lawyer). So, the crusade continued as we had to find a witness!
Luckily I found a solicitor at work that could lend us a hand. Hurray! We saved €150! Form A was completed and I rushed off to the passport office. I even called them to verify that I had completed all necessary forms and that I had sent the relevant documentation. Check!
Within a few days I got a call from the passport office. Are they allowed to have customer service? Anyway, the lovely civil servant person woman thingy, informed me that everything was in order and that they would process the application. Fantastic!
So, when I asked her when we would get the passport, she replied “all in good time”. What the hell does that mean? Well, a good cheese takes time to mature, so I guess the same applies to passports. It was just a lame answer that didn’t give me any comfort. Did it mean that she would process the actual passport or just the application?
Early August and still no passport. We are refusing to book any flights in case we have to cancel it. Time is flying. School is going to start in a few weeks. Getting a holiday package for decent money with short notice is hard. So, it looks like we will be going to the beach in October. Can’t wait! It’s slightly difficult to get a tan wearing a jumper, but we will at least get a holiday.
Planning an exhibition with 1000 stands and 1 million visitors would be easier and faster than getting a passport. I just hope we get it in time for our Christmas holidays to Denmark. Should we be bold to book our holidays for next summer?
My only worry is, will the passport control accept her picture, given it was taken when she was 2 months old?
NEWS FLASH NEWS FLASH
Passport was delivered to the house within 3 days of speaking to the friendly human at the passport office. We were so surprised. We can finally go traveling. I just hope we can find a holiday before school starts … and before our daughter’s christening at the end of the month … and that I can get time off work.
Within minutes of opening the envelope, and seeing the passport, my lovely wife had booked a holiday. All I had to do was to pay 🙂 Disneyland Paris, here we come!