scribbles tagged ‘passport’

USA Embassy Non Immigrant Visa lines

Monday, September 8th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , , , ,  |

USA Embassy Grovenor Square, LondonI completed my DS-160 online and scheduled an appointment at the London USA Embassy

Being over anxious about finding the right place, I turned up 90minutes before my appointment ladened with half a redwood tree of supporting evidence, credit card, and my passport.

I had to line up, in separate lines to:

  1. Announce my arrival – be ticked on a checklist
  2. Go through security clearance
  3. Pick-up a (queuing) number from reception
  4. Hand-over key pieces of historical documentation for the interviewer to review
  5. Pay for the application processing
  6. Be interviewed

Standing in line, sitting in line with a number, is an integral part of the USA visa getting process. There are many ways that new technology could be used to streamline the whole process. Streamlining the process would remove the Kafkaesque quality. Perhaps being Kafkaesque is fundamentally important to government procedures.

The young, blonde, Brit who interviewed me was being observed by a senior member of staff who smiled when I got excited and when I behaved like a normal person… forgetting things, being uncertain.

Interviewer: tell me about your Diplomatic Visa, your A2

Wendy: Gosh, I’d completely forgotten about that, way back in 1999 I worked for the UK MOD on secret things, I signed the official secrets act and they got me a diplomatic Visa. Well done you for finding that out!

The USA are going to give me another  Visa, despite my having to declare that I’d repeatedly lost my passport several times while living in the USA. It seems they can tolerate my human scattiness in return for my fabulous expert knowledge…. mainly knowledge of human scattiness….


USA Embassy Non Immigrant Visa lines
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drawers for drawers

Friday, July 1st, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Riding the London commuter train back to Reading I realised I’d left my house keys in the office, luckily my neighbour was home, able to let me in with her spare key. It’s been a week for scattiness. I spent about 3 hours looking for my E11, EHIC, ready for my summer vacation.

Searching was a serious process that involved:

  • looking in all the pockets of 5 handbags (USA purses)
  • The contents of 4 old purses (USA Wallets)
  • 16 drawers, some containing drawers – I might have hidden the card in my underwear. It’s possible.
  • 4 trays of important ‘stuff’ , once recent letters that have faded to the bottom of unotuched piles
  • lesser-used jacket pockets

chest for drawersMy chest of drawers is more organised now that I’ve carefully inspected, sorted, folded and replaced each item. The search threw up some surprises, the condoms with a 2008 use-by date. Thrown away. Pre-Euro continental coinage from the 1990s, re-packed for posterity. No E11 card

Once I’d run out of obvious places, I gave up. A solemn swathe of paranoia about my ability to file and find key documents, a history of losing my passport, drove me to check that the passport was where I thought it should be. It was.

Tucked inside my passport was my E11 card.

A sensible place.



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duck and gulp

Friday, May 7th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

wendy: what’s the name of the bit of mainland britian that includes England, Wales, Scotland and Cornwall but excludes Northern Ireland (NI)

NI Lady: Great Britain, look at your passport it says ‘United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

German: Wendy are you British?

wendy: what do you mean am I British?

German: I thought you were American

simultaneously, everyone in the room

ducks and GULPS

wendy: I’m British, I did live in the US for about 8 years, what made you think I was American?

German: someone told me

NI Lady: It’s defintiely not your accent

German: I can’t recognise all the British accents!

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crack open the champers darlings

Thursday, January 31st, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

my new passport arrived.   Secure mail services  let me use an old passport as proof of ID to sign for the new passport.

Wendy:   OoooOOOoooo THANKYOU!

Secure Mail Service:    that sounded like genuine excitement

Wendy: its a long story,   OH,   its a 10 year real-adult-responsible persons passport! (jumping up and down and slapping the passport againt my hand in a clapping-like manoeuvre)

I’m a real proper UK person now, who can come back to the UK if I leave,   until I loose it again…

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registration requires a passport…

Thursday, January 24th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

Using this fun NHS service I pinpointed a GP surgery within ambling distance of the big white house.     It told me that the surgery was taking on new patients and performance metrics including patient-survey responses compared to national and regional averages.   While being impressed  I phoned the chosen surgery  and the receptionist made an appointment for  the registration process.   Guess what I’ll need to bring to the appointment?

  • Passport (luckily my drivers licence will do)
  • Proof of address (bill with my name and address on it)
  • Dr.’s card.  “The small card with a purple bit and your NHS number on it
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Friday, January 18th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

When I completed my credit card details on the form required to pay for my passport renewal I made an 8 look like a 9 so they had to send me a letter and delay processing.   Oooops.   Must relearn how to write,   and put subject lines in emails,   both these skills have been somewhat more lacking that the normal mere  absence of spelling and grammar ability.  

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not-dogy mums

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

My Geordie friend called IPS a second time to make sure they were fully appraised of quite how insulting it was to be deemed inelligible to verify my passport photo because she had opted to stay at home to bring up her young children.     She spoke to a different person who told her she is eligible to sign my passport photograph.    

Do you think they’ll  replace my  passport?…   …its been gone for 2 weeks….   …will they send me a 1 year scatty person passport or the full 10 year reliable-person version?  

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Juggling ID papers

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

The DVLA returned my Birth certificate promptly, Hooray! In an envelope on its own. No letter. No note indicating whether my friend of 21yrs, the one who’s picture verification skills were not acceptable to the IPS, provided acceptable picture verification skills. What are the odds on this renewal progressing smoothly?

The solicitor who will be handling the purchase of the next Wendy House wrote to say that they will accept a Birth certificate instead of my passport given all the other (US) ID I’d provided. Hoorah! No sooner has my birth certificate been returned than it is off out of my hands again….

What will come back next?

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dodgy mums

Monday, January 14th, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

A professional person that has known me for at least 2 years had to sign my passport photograph to verify it was a true likeness. A  Geordie friend  of 21yrs that I met at Loughborough University did the honours. She’s currently a full time mum. It didn’t occur to me, silly me, that full time mum’s don’t count as professionals worthy of verifying identity. Even if they have British passports, clean driving licences, no criminal records, like my friend. IPS rejected her. She’s mightily insulted,  that’s insulted that takes about 90 mins to fully detail . I’ll have to track down a friend that’s currently employed, even retired professionals don’t count because obviously they get unreliable and dishonest once they retire….

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acceptable ID

Monday, January 7th, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

My out of date, useless, passport is on its way to be renewed in the UK with a covering letter and supporting documentation explaining the scatty circumstances that lead to the requirement that it be renewed in the US while I’m resident in the US and the exceptional travel circumstances that made this virtually impossible.

My ancient UK drivers licence was sent to be renewed to comply with legal requirements that it show your current address. I don’t have the new-fangled UK photo-driving licence. The DVLA didn’t renew it, rather they are holding it hostage until I’ve applied for a photo-licence. I needed proof of ID to apply for the photo-licence, original documents only. Luckily my birth certificate counts as proof of ID.   Birth certificate, driving licence and passport all in the mail at the same time.   Risky?   Asking for trouble?   I’m so  reckless,  living life on the edge.

To buy a new Wendy House I need a solicitor. During previous UK Wendy home purchases the solicitors were happy to get cash for their services. Now they need, yes, acceptable ID.   All my acceptable ID is being renewed.

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Saturday, December 15th, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

During a rather unrare  planningy moment:

Spanish person:   you’ll need your passport number to complete this form

Wendy:   will an out of date passport number work?

Spanish person:   I don’t know. They accept other documents

Wendy:   My Birth certificate?

Spanish person:   No,     it has to be a UK Birth Certificate

Wendy:   It is,   I’m born and bred in England!

Over a lunch of chicken and chips with lashings of vinegar:

Someone from the Colonies (don’t know which):   Are you Australian?   I can hear an accent

Wendy:   I’m English

SFTC(DKW): but you’ve lived abroad for sometime?

Wendy:   Yes,   8 years in the US,   but its probably my regional English accent that you’re hearing

Over a disturbingly small cup of tea:

New Zealander:   I can hear your American intonation

Wendy:     that’s actually  my English regional accent intonation

New Zealander:   (immitates raising voice-pitch towards end of sentence)

Wendy:   That’s right,   Bristolians raise their voice towards the end of a sentence,   well spotted!   (I squeaked the last bit in a higher pitch)

I don’t think I convinced anyone.   Maybe I’ve been colonyised?

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complicateder and complicateder

Thursday, November 29th, 2007 | tags: , , , ,  |

Condensed recap of the story so far, I

  1. lost my passport-1 in my US home
  2. applied for a replacement
  3. received replacement 10yr passport-2
  4. lost the replacement 10yr passport-2
  5. found the lost passport-1 while looking for lost passport-2
  6. sent passport-1 back to Washington DC consular and passport services with an application for to replace passport-2
  7. received ditsy-person replacement passport-3 that will only last for 1 year – until November 29th – must be renewed at Washington DC consular and passport services
  8. found lost passport-2 in September and sent it to Washington DC
  9. Sue from consular services phoned to say that she will hold onto passport-2 and renew it (10yr version) when she receives my renewal from for passport #3 towards the end of November.
  10. Accepted UK job offer to start on November 26th. Planned to fly to the UK on November 23rd with my old passport then mail it to Sue in Washington DC for renewal promptly upon arrival thereby getting my 10yr passport back.
  11. My belongings are being shipped to the UK, they require passport details. Shipping service confirmed that having my passport renewed should not be a problem.
  12. Completed passport-renewal form on November 13th promptly after returning from a UK visit to secure a place to live when I arrive on the 23rd. I can now complete this form in less than 10 minutes due to regular practice. The last page before signing includes a set of statements that I hadn’t yet memorised If you squint you might be able to see the unforeseen challenge in bold-type:

 The new stuff:

“I am, today, in the country of application and will be at the time of issue.”   This says to me that when I get to the UK I can only renew my passport in the UK.   This is at odds with the ditsy-person renewal requirement of only renewing in the Washington DC office where they have my 10yr passport-2.    I can’t renew in the US because I discovered this requirement 5 working-days before I am due to fly to the UK,   insufficient time for passport renewal US-side before I repatriate.   I phoned the Washington British Consular and passport services who charge at a rate of $2.45 per minute for the luxury of talking to a real, expert,  person.   I explained my situation and the passport expert said:

OH, that is a tricky one

Then put me on hold to discuss the options with other expert people.   We made some decisions that will get me to Britain on the day that I sell my home here and 2 days before I start work there.   I suspect this is not over yet.   Stay tuned.

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different in your parents’ day

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Shipping (air or land) frieght to the UK requires that the owner  have a valid passport at all points when the freight will be moved.   Frieght moval times are unpredictable because of seasonal and weather variations and because frieght,   especially home-frieght,  is very low priority.   Remember by ditsy person’s annual passport?   It’s due for renewal this autumn…   …while the Wendy House is in transit….   Apart from guffaws of laughter this is what dad had to say when I asked him if I could hand-carry some stuff over to his home and leave it there ready for when I arrive,   just to be sure it would actually get there…

Mum says that will be OK…         …Passports and Passport timings are highly critical factors in travel – at least it is not as bad as in war time when you had to bring your Ration books with you if you were going out of the country – these had to be checked and if you had used next weeks rations woe betide you! That still applied the first time I came to England after the war – I nearly was not allowed to leave!

I should have guessed that it was worse during WW2.     I’m lucky that Britain and the US prefer peacekeeping to war or I’d probably have to live in a bunker at the bottom of the garden.

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hidden passport

Monday, November 5th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

Because my home is going to be visited by lots and lots and lots of people many of whom will be thinking about buying a house and some are nosey parkers and one may be a nefarious evil doer,   I have hidden my passport.  

Hiding passports is a risky thing if you need to travel soon and you are prone to losing them.   I’ve sent myself an email telling me in coded language  where I have hidden my passport.   Gosh,   do you think I’ll lose it again?   The passport?

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3 cheers for Sue

Saturday, September 15th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

Hip Hip Hurrah!   (1)

brrrrrring-brrrrring..   ….brrrrrring-brrrrring…

Hello   Wendy speaking,   how can i help you (I was at work.   I can do polite)

Hi,   it’s Sue from passport and consular services.

A couple of weeks ago I mailed my recently rediscovered previously lost passport back to the passport and consular services department.   I put  a yellow post-it note on it apologising for the inconvenience and restating my utter embarrassment.   This covered the legal requirement to return  the passport  once found and the moral requirement of  an English person to keep the apologisation muscle flexed incase of emergencies.      Meanwhile my annual scatter-brain limited-to-one-year incase-I loose-another-one passport is about to run-out on November 29th (if I don’t loose it first).   I hope the tension is building for you.   It was for me.   The mere mention of ‘passport’ can reduce me to a quivering mass of unbound quivers.


I’ve got your passport here,   the one you just sent back to us,   and I see that you are using a one-year passport that is about to run-out.


I can either   decommission this one and send it back to you decommissioned and   then when I receive your one-year passport renew that one with another one-year passport.   Or I can hold onto this one until I get your one-year passport,   then decommission the one-year passport and replace the full passport at that time.   It will only cost $15.

Holy SHITE!  

Hip Hip Hurrah!   (2)

An  English person working in what may well be a fairly dull UK government   role has just taken the time to find my phone number,   call me and be proactively helpful.   I explain my upcoming travel arrangements and she says

send it along when you’re ready I’ll keep this one on my desk and sort it out when I get the temporary one.

Do I need to put your name on the envelope?

Yes,   Sue

Sue Who?

Just Sue,   I’m the only Sue here

Hip Hip Hurrah!   (3)

Followed by lots of sycophantic stuff from Wendy and some ‘you’ve got such a cute accent’   (it was English and I suspect I’m an anglophile…)

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under sink passport

Friday, August 10th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

In November I lost my second passport in one year.   I found lost passport # 1 when looking for lost passport #2.   When the UK Govt. sent a replacement passport #2 they put me on a special limited edition.   Limited to 1 year validity.    They call it the  scatterbrain edition.

Tonight I found lost passport #2.    It was under an unused dusty note-book,   in a cupoboard, under a sink,    in a bathroom,   a cupboard that I didn’t think I had ever used.  

Passport.   Bathroom undersink cupboard.   Now I think that’s a bit silly.  

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Wednesday, July 5th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

This passport is a replacement for a passport ‘Declared LOST’, urgh.   I anticipate delays and humiliation at US immigration.     My new 10yr UK passport ID page has this special warning printed on the back:

LOST passport replacement

Pretty illustrations of different birds on each page and dual language (English and French)  almost make up for the likely extra detailed questioning when trying to get back into the US.   Sigh.

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