D1 needed to renew her passport in view of her upcoming trip to the USA in December to see her boyfriend. Because her appearance has changed substantially since her first passport was issued aged 13, she needed to have new photographs, and for one of them , along with her application form, to be countersigned by an adult of goodstanding outside the family who has known her for more than two years. That bit was easy; she just asked her best friend`s father, who has known us all for 10 years.
I also needed to have my passport amended from my previous married name to my new married name. Ok, I know it has been quite a few years, but I hadn`t been abroad since my second marriage and didn`t see much point in shelling out £42.00 just for the sake of it :-)
So dear Allan came to the rescue and signed my form and photo too.
Armed with my debit card, I trundled up to the post office to get the forms checked and given priority treatment. That cost another £6.00 each.
The poor cashier seemed a little bemused, and read every single word on the form with great care. And I mean great care. I think that this was possibly the first set of passport applications which she has processed.
I was just so glad the post office was quiet and there was no queue behind me, or I had visions of a lynch mob forming...........
When it came to checking my documents, she looked even more puzzled. I pointed out that I had enclosed my birth certificate, my first marriage certificate and my divorce papers, and my second marriage certificate, which showed the name I want my new passport to be issued in.
The supervisor had to be called. Why had I enclosed both marriage certificates and my divorce papers ? I explained that this was as per the passport office official guide to filling in the forms, in my particular situation.
"You have to show what happened to your first marriage in order for them to issue a passport in a new married name" I explained.
I tried again : "You have to show that your first husband either died - when you would send their death certificate- or you got divorced, when you send them your decree absolute. Otherwise, you could be committing bigamy and fraud."
Faces lit up. It was agreed that I was right to include all my documents in that case.
I heaved a sigh of relief.
But then they couldn`t find what box to tick on the form to show I had enclosed my decree absolute. The supervisor was called again. Then the enormous Post Office Rule Book was consulted. It was established that the correct box for a decree absolute was ...............divd. Aaagh, Clear as mud.
At last, I was given a receipt for my applications, and the bill..........£99.00 sterling.
Only three more children to provide new passports for............I wonder if the kids would accept passports in lieu of Christmas presents ..... :-))))))))))