8 Oct 2012
Ticking the passport boxes
I hate filling in forms. I’m convinced I’m going to get something essential wrong, and someone’s going to leap out and go ‘Aha! You have done this incorrectly. Return to the beginning, do not pass Go, Do not collect £200…’ This time, it ended up being the woman doing the passport check and send at the Post Office (although with less leaping around and fewer Monopoly references).
After breezing through the passport photo stage, I’d finally got around to filling in Minnie’s form and trying to work out who I knew who could act as countersignatory – as well as having known me for at least two years, and owning a UK passport, there’s a list of approved professions. While you can go outside that, I was struggling to find someone who wasn’t related by blood or marriage, and more importantly, that I was actually going to see so I could avoid posting forms and pictures around the country.
Fortunately, we were off to visit friends, one of whom happens to be a police officer. I could hardly ask for anyone more reputable. In exchange for a hug from Minnie, who was happy to oblige, he filled it in, and I trotted down to the Post Office a day or so later to have it checked and sent off.
Luck seemed to be on my side – no queue (and our Post Office has notoriously long queues most of the time) and a friendly person on the counter who didn’t make me feel too foolish for having forgotten to bring Minnie’s birth certificate along with the form.
Unfortunately, she did point out that both my friend and I had gone outside the boxes when filling in the form. While mine might have got through, his wouldn’t as it’s all checked electronically and the computer would almost certainly say no, thanks to a few pesky extra millimetres.
A vain attempt to find someone else who’d fit the bill and who I’d see in person failed, so I ended up filling in the form again (the Post Office gave me two, obviously despairing of my ability to do it properly) in my neatest handwriting. Seriously, this would have won me awards when I was at school. And inevitably, then putting them in the post back to my friend to ask him to redo his countersignatory bit.
Hopefully, they’ll be back with me before too long, as you’re advised to allow three weeks, and there’s now less than five until Lanzarote. Which means I really need to start sorting out a few other things as well…