Monday, 23 February 2009

Don't lose your Passport!

I was forwarded an email today from the British Embassy in Sarajevo. It was about passports. In the interests of efficiency and rationalisation they are grouping certain consular functions together at regional centres. The email assures British residents in Bosnia Herzegovina that “similar mergers have already taken place between Portugal/Spain, and France/Benelux countries and all are working smoothly.”

So where are “all passport services” moving to? Perhaps Zagreb, the Croatian capital; or Belgrade, the Serbian capital? No! The logic of proximity and shared borders does not apply here. Then perhaps Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital. It shares no border with Bosnia Herzegovina and is within the EU; perhaps that tips things in its favour? Wrong again! Why be bound by any obvious geographical grouping?

Portugal and Spain may be neighbours and France and the Benelux bunch a natural cluster but it’s hard to see it any other way than the British Passport office is making a strategic withdrawal from the Balkans. Because for people like myself the office we must relate to for all Passport matters is in Dusseldorf. Yes! Dusseldorf in Germany.

It’s not all bad news. “The Consulate General in Düsseldorf will issue passports within 10 working days of receiving the correct documentation.” This is handy because I checked on Google maps and it’s a ten day and five hour walk from Mostar, passing through just four other countries before you reach Germany! Now I know they don’t intend on people walking to pick up their passports but the mind boggles as to how they expect British nationals to feel reassured in any way by this announcement. Dusseldorf is twinned with Reading and it only takes ten days and twenty two hours to walk there, and that's back in Blighty!

I shall leave it there before, in my bewildered state, I say something that truly upsets the Crown. I know we live in cash-strapped times and I suppose I should be applauding this proactive approach to making the tax-payers pound go a little further. It's just I’m a little lost - all I know is I can't afford to lose my Passport! Can anyone explain what's really going on here?

1 comment:

fraught mummy said...

"So secure, quick, simple and efficient." I'd like the British Embassy to know that I don't consider that line in their letter to be a full English sentence. And I don't want to have to go to Dusseldorf either to sort out any passport issues. I'm with you on this one!