Who are you?
September 14, 2010 § 3 Comments
If you’ve never had a passport before and are over 16, then you will find yourself needing a passport interview when you apply for your first adult passport.
I found myself in this position today. My parents never flew anywhere when I was growing up, and I never had the money to go abroad when teen DD was small. She then refused to go near an aeroplane as she go older. (I blogged about her first flight here).
Next year however we all want to go abroad for a family holiday / honeymoon after myself and Mr A get married. I also want to take Little Miss A on a plane sooner rather than later in case she decides she’s going to have a fear of planes too.
So my turn for the passport, and I received my documents back and a letter to state I needed to arrange an interview. The supporting information suggests that this interview will take approx half an hour, and whilst you can choose the location, you may not be able to choose the time or day.
I was actually able to choose the day and time as my nearest office wasn’t busy (I guess we’re coming out of holiday season now). I was able to choose out of three offices, only one of which was local to me within 20 miles.
The literature i quite strict and states that you must arrive ten minutes early, but if you’re too early you may be asked to go away and come back later.
I was in a slight panic yesterday as I didn’t know where I was going, and also coupled with worrying about my Dad, I don’t think I knew whether I was coming or going this morning.
Part of me was a bit miffed that I had to go and prove that I was born in the UK. I realise now after attending the interview that I was wrong to think that. It’s as much to protect your identity as it is to prove it.
You are not allowed to use any paper documents to prove any information during the interview and each interview is recorded.
I arrived and got through the security of the intercom system and then there were security buttons on each door before I reached the office. I was the only person in the reception, but I knew that once the receptionist typed in my reference number then my photo would appear on the screen, and if I wasn’t me then I wouldn’t be allowed to be interviewed.
I didn’t have to wait very long and was greeted professionally by my interviewer. They do tell you throughout that this isn’t an interrogation, but you still feel like you may make a mistake even when they ask you to spell your name.
I was asked lots of questions about what I had filled out on the form, as well as confirming address history, parents birth dates and locations etc. All the questions were standard, and I was advised to check my credit history once every year to make sure no one has been opening bank accounts etc in my name.
The whole process was enlightening, and part of me is glad I went through it, but the other part of me still thinks it’s a waste of taxpayers money and my time. Yes I could be a terrorist (but so could Joe Blogs who applied for his passport in 2006 just before this system came into place).
Yes someone could have stolen my identity (but many people’s identity are stolen on a daily basis without needing a passport to do so.
Apparently my passport application will only be approved after further checks by the passport office, yet I should receive my passport within five working days!?!?!?