Just over two weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled ‘Dealing with British bureaucracy‘, in which I described the hurdles I was seeking to overcome, in order to obtain a new British passport. At the end of that post I wrote, ‘Watch this space to see if in two weeks time, I have been successful in my quest’. So here is the promised update.
On the evening of Wednesday 27th July, I flew from Prague to Luton, where I picked up my pre-arranged hire car and drove to the outskirts of Peterborough, where I had booked to stay the night. The next morning, I drove into the city and followed signs to a multi-storey car park, just a short walk from the Passport Office.
My appointment was for 10.30 with the clear instruction to arrive ten minutes in advance of my appointment time. When I arrived outside the Passport Office at about 10.15, there was a queue of people who I soon discovered, also all had 10.30 appointments 🙂
At 10.30, the first batch of people, including me, were admitted. We were first subject to security procedures very similar to those at airports, with pockets being emptied, bags being scanned etc. I do find it sad that all of this is now required, just to enter a government office 🙁 After this, I was checked off against the booking list, given a numbered ticket and told to sit and wait until my number was called.
Within a few minutes, I was summoned to desk nine. I presented my current passport, my application form, together with my two new photos. I explained to the passport officer that I had a problem with the application form because it asked me for my UK address, something I do not have. After a short discussion, he agreed that he was perfectly happy for me to insert the Nottingham address of my son Phillip, even though I don’t live there!
Fortunately, he raised no concerns about my new photographs, deciding that I could still be recognised from the photograph in my soon to expire current passport, which dates from early 2006.
The only issue he did raise was in relation to my title. He noted on the observations page of my soon to expire passport, that I was ‘Reverend’. Did I want this in my new passport? I duly pointed out to him that I had put ‘Reverend’ on the application form, where it asked for ‘Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, or title’ Therefore, unlike the Czech authorities, who would not allow ‘Rev’ on my Czech driving licence, Her Majesty’s Passport Office have not de-ordained me 🙂
At 10.45, I left the Passport Office with a numbered receipt, telling me to return four hours later at 14.45, to collect my new passport. Therefore, all I was left to do, was to occupy myself for the following four hours.
Fortunately, Peterborough Cathedral is only a few minutes walk away from the Passport Office, a place I had only ever visited once previously. I enjoyed exploring this amazing building as well as spending time being still and praying. I followed this by a short walk alongside the River Nene, a lunchtime pizza, and then collected my shiny new passport, valid until December 2026. Mission accomplished!