- This passport-less limbo is disquieting. I handed my old passport through a window at the post office and watched a stranger seal it in a bag to be sent off ‘special delivery’ to the passport office (despite the fact that the passport office is approximately two minutes walk from the particular post office I was patronising). Now, for two to three weeks, I wait, bereft of any way to prove that I am who I say I am, or that I have any rights to live where I do.
- The cost was not small: nearly £90 for a little book. I’m not sure how I feel about the price to be honest. Perhaps it is a symptom of living in a country with such a prolific welfare system, but I feel irritated by the fact that I’m forced to pay for the privilege of being able to prove who I am, or at least by the fact that I’m forced to pay such a lot. Why is it so jolly expensive?
- The photograph rules have changed in the last ten years. Back in 2002, when I applied for my last passport, one was permitted to smile in your passport photo. Not any more. Now one must affect a ‘neutral expression’, which generally causes everyone to look equal parts like a convict, and entirely unlike themselves. My new photograph is not an exception to this rule.
- I’m sad to say goodbye to the fullest passport that I may ever have. Pretty much all of the travelling I’ve done in my life has been with that passport, and it was full of cool stamps and visas. I will miss them.
In summary: bereft of identity.