Saturday, April 07, 2007

Passport Scandal

I just realised the other day my Passport has expired which was a bit worrying as having just booked a trip to the UK it would have been a small disaster if I hadn't checked.

So I got busy on the British Embassy in the Hague's website to renew it. The last time I did this it cost around 25 Dutch Gildas around €12-. At the time this was very good value, even cheaper than renewing it in Liverpool. Things have changed of course and due to the biometric encoding and the fancy pictures of birds on each page I did expect it would be a bit more expensive this time.

I also got a little bit concerned when I read the notes for the countersignatory "That person should be a British citizen, other British national or Commonwealth citizen who is a Member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace, Minister of Religion, Bank Officer, Established Civil Servant, or professionally qualified person, e.g. Lawyer, Engineer,Doctor, School Teacher, Police Officer or a person of similar standing."

I honestly don't know any British Citizens that fall in that category living in Maastricht. But fortunately after a phone call to the Embassy I was assured that an Air Traffic Controller is considered a 'professional' or 'person of similar standing'.

So all complete and in the post I just went to check how much 'wonga' I had to transfer to complete the procedure. I nearly fell off my chair! €193-. Only a 1600% increase then since last time. The Embassy justifies this with: "We recognise that these fee increases will be unwelcome news to many, however we are determined to continue to offer the best service possible to British nationals who require our assistance. We also believe that at £1 per month, the passport is still exceptional value for money."


Glynn said...

Unfortunately, as a British citizen, you can only get your passport from one place - so they have a monopoly and can charge what they like. If you are unhappy with the cost, then I suggest you do what Spike Milligan did and become an Irish citizen. I bet their passports are cheaper...

Polarbear said...

75 euros cheap at half the price
But they ar rubbish at cricket