Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bureaucracy strikes again...

So. Now that Henry's Australian citizenship is all official and stuff, I figured it would be a pretty straightforward process to get his passport.

I did all the forms, found an acceptable guarantor, I even took a better passport photo just in case the shadow on the other one was wrong:

So many Henrys...

And then I looked at where I could lodge my application, and the answer was Denmark! Apparently for a child's first passport, the responsible parent must attend an interview. In Australia, this can happen at the post office. Overseas, this can occur at the embassy in your country, but since they don't have one here in Iceland, I'm supposed to drive the 300km to Reykjavik, hop on a plane to Copenhagen*, spend the night, present my documents in person, and then make my way home again.

Estimated cost? About a grand, plus the joy of either a) weaning my 9 month old son or b) taking him with me on an overseas trip by myself. Yay!

* Okay, it's not like I don't have options. They said I could go to Oslo instead, if that's more convenient! THANKS EMBASSY GUYS.

As far as I can tell, the interview consists of looking at your documents, checking that the forms are correct, and then lodging the application. Surely they can do that without me standing in front of them? Given that Henry himself doesn't even have to be there, I just don't understand what it achieves. I don't know why they need me there, except for the reason of 'it's policy'.

Which brings me to the lovely lady at the embassy in Denmark that I spoke to the other day. I sent an email first, asking if there was some sort of exception to the 'you must attend an interview here in Copenhagen' rule, to which she replied no. So I phoned, thinking there may be some creative solution**, but unfortunately I got the same person.

** Skype interview! Interview with someone at another embassy here in Iceland! Sending his Icelandic passport as a photo ID! 
I get that it can be frustrating dealing with the public - people sometimes act like rude entitled jerks who don't think the rules apply to them. And yes, I guess I sort of nailed that last point, but I feel quite confident in my ability to avoid the first three in most of my dealings with fellow humans.

I guess she was irritated that I didn't take her 'no' email as a 'no'. But from my point of view, it's not a small issue. It's not an extra two weeks' wait for the passport, or an extra hundred dollars in processing fees. It's a large amount of money, and a large amount of time and hassle and energy, so damn straight I will be exhausting all other options, and if I have to ask a couple of times to get anywhere, then I will do that.
And if she'd offered to look into it for me, even pretended to care at all, even agreed that one thousand dollars is a ridiculous amount of money to spend for a passport***, then I maybe could have let it go, but she was SO RUDE. And unhelpful.
 *** The words she said to me were 'Well, if you can't afford to fly to Copenhagen, how can you afford to go to Australia?' My internal reply: Bfffft. Shrlfk. WHAT?

And we can't even skip the passport and just let him go in as an Icelander: now that he's registered as an Australian citizen, he's ineligible for a tourist visa. Grr. Argh.

Anyway anyway anyway. Time to let go of the rage again. I had actually calmed myself down from the original phone call, but now I got myself all worked up again. I am sure that this can be sorted out one way or another, and if anyone has friends in high places in Denmark, let me know!

Otherwise, look forward to seeing pictures of my super fun trip to Copenhagen!


Unnur said...

What about Princess Mary? Do her children hold dual citizenship? Get Sigga onto it. British embassy in Iceland should be able to help too. Good luck and I like Henry's photo.

Maja said...

Wow that is so stupid! I bet that lady doesn't even know where Iceland is.

Anja said...

what?? That's unbelievable. that policy is the strangest I've heard in a long time. And I thought german bureaucracy is crazy. this is ridiculous. Hang in there Olga, maybe speak to some icelandic officials for help. What did she say to the skype suggestion? Maybe try and speak to someone else/higher in position. I am sure they can work around that rule if they only wanted to. Good luck!

Johanna said...

Þetta er nú ljóta bullið...
Hang in there Olga - keep fighting the system... have you tried the icelandic foreign office - ask Sigga to use her influence in the "Framsóknarflokkur" - Gunnar Bragi for example - that is what I did when Sorin was first comming to Iceland... I used a friend of mine who was in parlament .... Sorin was supposed to wait for 3 months for a Visa and work-visa - because the application had to go from one person to another!!! takes time that one!!!! But this guy talked to someone for me and Sorin came two weeks later... Bureaucracy (or how you say that in english) - is the most irritating thing ever... Good luck and dont give up - dont spend money going to Denmark - that is .....yeah that IS.....

northern musings said...

Unnur, I think that it might be an idea if you get in touch with the department for Immigration and Foreign AFfairs or whatever they are called. The British Embassy can't and won't do anything.... doesn't matter that we are in the Commonwealth EU is more important.