I have a new passport!

New and old passports © Ricky Yates

New and old passports © Ricky Yates

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!

The west front of Peterborough Cathedral © Ricky Yates

The west front of Peterborough Cathedral © Ricky Yates

11 comments to I have a new passport!

  • Sean Mccann

    Well done Ricky, glad it all went well in the end. I’m glad to hear the bureaucracy wasn’t too Kafkaesque after all. A Reverend must be something slightly unsavoury or shady – at least it seems not quite correct to put on a passport, strange times!

    • Ricky

      On the day, British bureaucracy was fine, I’m very pleased to report, Sean!

      Being ‘Reverend’ isn’t either unsavoury or shady, as far as the British authorities are concerned. All the passport officer wanted to check was whether I still wanted it noted in my new passport. He promptly apologised when I pointed out that the answer to his question was in my application form! All I was doing was harking back to my last battle with Czech bureaucracy. A nation who love & use their titles, wouldn’t allow mine on my driving licence because it was a ‘religious’ title 🙁

      • Sean Mccann

        Sorry Ricky, I entirely misread that section to mean that Britain had gone the way of the Czech Republic in this matter. Glad to hear it hasn’t.

  • Chris Saccali

    Was going to put Reverend when I was booking a ticket the other day when I realised my passport still has ” Mrs”! Could have been in for border problems there.

    • Ricky

      Yes – you have to be so careful these days Chris! I’m sure you could get ‘Reverend’ added to your passport following your ordination on 3rd July. But no doubt Her Majesty’s Passport Office would charge a considerable fee for the privilege 🙁 I’ve just checked back and although I was ordained in 1989, I didn’t have my title in my passport until I renewed it in 1996.

  • John

    Congratulations! So fairly painless but expensive.

  • Back on track again Ricky, these are times when we really feel bewildered in the maze of paperwork. I suppose it can make somebody happy to create forms for us to fill with out. Now you are all legit, the wedding I hope was a blessed occasion and now you are heading for normal Czech-life. That cathedral was really amazing!!! Amazing as well that you actually get your title in the passport, we dropped that habit in the fifties. I would like it though….

    • Ricky

      Hello Solveig – On the day, everything went remarkably smoothly for which I’m most thankful. I’m definitely now legit for just over another ten years. A post about the wedding is currently in compilation.

      Different countries have different attitudes to titles. The Czech people love theirs but wouldn’t allow mine on my Czech driving licence because it was a ‘religious title’. In contrast, the passport form from the British Post Office allowed for either putting ‘X’ in the box against Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms, or inserting my title in a neighbouring set of boxes.

  • Em

    Cheers to finally getting the passport despite dealing with the UK-centralised procedure; what a pain! I was, thankfully, able to get mine renewed here in Prague at the U.S. embassy. It took 2 trips, though, as they weren’t satisfied with my first photograph, which was taken at a shop that specialised in passport photographs. Anyhow, I’m curious about your thoughts on obtaining another EU passport re: Brexit.

    • Ricky

      Cheers indeed, Em! Fortunately, it all went quite smoothly for me in the end.

      I’m very pleased that my new passport still says ‘European Union’. But if Brexit does happen, then I may well consider changing my nationality, in order to remain living in continental Europe.