An Ad Hoc Guide to Passports

{Phase One of Operation Dote in Copenhagen – 3 months before departure}

A Rummage for Passports

Dotes need their passports renewed every 5 years. Lil D’s has just run out. The UK Passport Agency quotes 3 weeks as the average turn around time for passport renewal but we wanna get in there quick so we can book our flights and hotel with some peace of mind.

The process

  • Quick trip to the Post Office for a Passport Renewal form. Easy.
  • Taking of photographs. Attempt 1 – photo booth. Not so easy.passport 001

Passport photo requirements say that children under 6 don’t need to be looking directly at the camera with a neutral expression but Lil D is 7 and (by the way) totally capable of looking directly and neutrally at a camera if only the photo booth chair would cooperate. Result – Lil D craning her head up into the photo, perched half on the seat, half on her tippy toes. Not a keeper. On to Plan B

Plan B – avail of the local chemist’s passport service. HUGE success.

For barely a few pounds more than the cost of a photo booth you can buy the immediate knowledge that the photos taken will fulfil Passport Agency requirements. Priceless when you’re on a deadline. You also have time to brush your dote’s hair, breathe between shots, ensure your dote’s face is neutral and have complete creative control of the photo you can’t get rid of for 5 years. Next time my passport needs renewed, I’m totally coming back.

  • Filling in the form

Filling in the form requires accuracy. I suffer from Officialdom dyslexia (not uncommon). Forms of any kind have me questioning my ability to read and understand English. It takes me many attempts to comprehend what is being asked of me and even then cannot be left to fill them out in solitude. At least one person needs to be with me at all times. Luckily(?) this form was not my responsibility. And interestingly it couldn’t be Lil D’s father’s responsibility either. In our situation Lil D’s mother is the only one able to fill out forms on Lil D’s behalf. Frustrating for D-Daddy and an added step in process fulfilment.

Renewing passports for dotes also requires a counter-signature, one more person to add into the mix and in this case our weakest link. Someone else who suffers from Officialdom dyslexia or so we found out when we rocked up to the Post Office for a Check and Send.

The Post Office’s service saved us time and money sending off an incorrect form. They were able to tell us which parts we needed to change and gave us a shiny new form to start again.

Back at the beginning, the chain of signatures and information takes time to collect and we begin to wonder if we’re going to be able to make this happen. Prices are rising, time is passing, alternative plans are being pieced together – then suddenly the form is returned and I’m off to the Post Office once again.

I nervously watch the form being checked. Each section, each photo, the old passport but this time we’re a go. I pay the £55.75 and am told 3 weeks.

Less than a week later we hear that D-Mama has received confirmation that the passport has been processed and is on its way. It arrives the next day. Bravo Passport Agency!

6 weeks pre-departure and flights are booked. Looks like we’re going to Copenhagen!

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