Drowning in Paperwork

Along with everything else thats going on at the moment Lily’s South African passport runs out at the end of the year.  Being as organised as I am (!) and not wanting a trip to London or worse I’ve been actively trying to get this sorted for her since late August.

I am on the 3rd set of letters back and forth and I’m filling in a set of documents so obtuse and badly designed I had to share it or go mad.  So apologies for inflicting my note like style on you all – just had to share some of the issues I’m having.

  • All the post they’re sending instead of being addressed to Melksham is going to
    Followed by the postcode.  Apparently our postman knows us well enough that they’re getting here but not a good start.
  • They need fingerprints.  Not one set but two complete sets on two forms, plus palm prints plus every form has to have a left thumb print on.  These have to be endorsed by a police officer.  Tried getting a policeman to do this?  Turns out they do run drop in sessions for this very irregularly which you can book (incidentally well done to the local police on this – took me less than 10 minutes on the phone to get this arranged) but at a cost of £63.00.  Right.
  • The form which states “Two recent photo’s to be submitted” only provides space for one.
  • Needing Lily’s mother’s identity number on every form.  This is something they seem to like – when Lily’s mother recently applied for a passport for herself she had to provide it for her mother.  Who died in the late 1950s. Why?
  • A form which is specifically designed for South African citizens not living in South Africa does not allow phone numbers longer than 9 digits long.  Or postcodes longer than 4 digits.
  • An area on the form which is a 2 inch wide circle with the tiny words “post receiving” in it.  In the area specifically noted for the applicant to fill in and next to the postal address.  Can’t figure out what this is for…
  • Marital status.  The options are: “Never Married” “Married” “Widow/widower” “Divorced” “Religious Right” “Customary marriage” “Foreign marriage” or “Civil Union Partnership”.
  • As Lily’s husband  my identity number is needed.  Not being South African I don’t have one but the lack was noted on the last letter.  There is a box for my nationality but the logical jump from not South African to no South African ID number doesn’t seem to follow.

Anyway I’ve got it all filled in – police for fingerprints later this week and it all gets bundled back up and sent off again with a very carefully written cover letter.

Fingers crossed for this time!