Living overseas: renewing British passports

One of the joys of living overseas is renewing passports. Renewing a Brazilian passport is a fairly straightforward process, you just turn up at the consulate or send stuff in by post and five days later your new Brazilian passport is ready. However, the British consulate really does not want to hear from British citizens in Peru, so the whole renewal process needs to be done online. This led to great fun renewing Ana and Regiane’s passports.

Step 1: Take passport photos.

Step 2: Start the online application. Discover that Passport service now demands digital pictures.

Step 3: Return to photographer for digital passports.

Step 4: Online application service rejects passport pictures.

Step 5: Go to another photographer, who has all the instructions for British passport pictures.

Step 6: Online application service rejects passport pictures.

Step 7: Get Peru Action Team to take pictures with their high-tech camera.

Step 8: Online application service rejects passport pictures.

Step 9: Decide to take pictures at home with Ana’s tablet.

Step 10: After 8 pictures for Ana and 26 pictures for Regiane, manage to get one approved for Regiane.

Step 11: Finish online application process. Pay fee. Discover Online application service requires us sending in full copies of Ana and Regiane’s Brazilian passports and of their Peruvian ID documents.

Step 12: Send documents to UK. Discover that DHL costs a fortune (no reliable postal service in Peru).

Step 13: Online application service requires further documentation. Pay another fortune at DHL.

Step 14: Online application service argues that there is a problem with the documentation claiming that Ana and Regiane are known by different names on British and foreign documents. Point out in a polite but sharp email that they are not, only that Brazil and Peru have 2 surnames, Britain just one. Send digital copy of Regiane’s certificate of naturalization to prove my case.

Step 15: Have to write and sign a letter allowing Ana’s name on her passport to change from Ana Sophia de Lima CLARK to Ana Sophia DE LIMA CLARK.

Step 16: Nearly 2 months after starting the process, receive passports.