Saturday, 11 December 2021

Renewing a passport

is a simpler matter than applying for one.

One of the neighbours came to see me yesterday. He told me he wanted to renew his passport.  One of the things you need to do is have someone certify you know them. That person needs to either be on the electoral roll or have a passport of their own. I am on the electoral roll and I have a passport so it was not a problem. 

I have also known R... ever since he moved in next door twenty-one years ago. That was not a problem either.

But the passport R... showed me is out of date. It is more than two years out of date and that will be a problem. 

I have not been out of this country for many years. Circumstances have conspired against that. I still hope to make at least one last trip abroad. I want to see friends in other places. Some of them are getting very elderly and, sadly, some of them have already gone. 

I cannot go anywhere, not even interstate, while the Senior Cat is still with us. We all know that might not be for too much longer and I want him to know we are here for him until we lose him. That's going to be tough on all of us and I don't want to leave Middle Cat with all the responsibilities. I certainly could not risk the border closing and not be able to get back in because of the pandemic. 

But, I keep my passport up to date. There's always the chance I might actually need it. It was there when I thought I might need to make a trip to Kunming and bring back my seriously ill friend E... I was in the process of trying to find out the most direct route to get there when a member of the university staff told me they were actually going there. They made the necessary arrangements instead. 

I also need to use a passport for the purposes of "photo" ID sometimes. I have a "proof of age" card but I don't have a licence to drive - both have the same sort of photo issued by the same authority and require the same identity check but only the latter is acceptable for some purposes. Passports have other uses as well as for the purpose of travel.

Getting one involves forms and documents and photos and more. The process is more complex than renewing a passport - and that is hard enough. 

R... also has his wife to think about. R... has a Downunder passport and a Taiwanese passport. He needs to travel on the Downunder passport in order to return to the country. His wife only has a Taiwanese passport and a residency permit for this country. 

And therein lies a problem. The residency permit is also out of date. They didn't think to renew it because of the pandemic. They have only thought of it now when they are considering a trip "back home" next year. It should have been renewed before the five years were up - even if she couldn't travel. 

Given the restrictions on travel because of Covid19 there will no doubt be arrangements within the relevant department. Even so there are likely to be additional hurdles when obtaining the necessary documents. 

I know there will be more knocks on the door as R... tries to work his way through the bureaucratic maze for both of them. Of course I will help as well. It's the neighbourly thing to do.

But I checked my passport. It's fine. It still has another five years to run.


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