Applying for a passport is hard work, apparently

As of 28th of June 2009 I am without any form of valid ID as the passport I had expired. Not only am I currently unable to leave the country, but I also can’t provide ID when prompted in banks or similar places. For example I was unable to trade a game for money the other day as that required ID.

As I am no longer registered in Germany I cannot apply for a ID card as that typically carries the German residence on the back and is only available for people registered in Germany. My ID card expired in 2008.

When I was in Germany for several months this year I was unable to apply for a new one as this was only granted to citizens registered in Germany which I neglegted to do as my stay was only ever intended to be a short one. In order to apply for a passport the applicant has to be registered for a minimum of two months at a single address making a quick registration for the sake of the application impossible.

So yes, as silly as it sounds even though I’m a German national I am unable to apply for a passport in my own country.

Upon my return to the UK at the end of May I contacted the embassy and set up an appointment at the earliest time – 12th of July. I contacted the registry office in my hometown for a copy of my birth certificate as I had never had a copy of it.

July12th came and went and no birth certificate was to be seen. “It must have gotten lost in the mail” which, judging by my excellent track record, is actually fairly likely..

I requested a new one, but was told there was a two months break between applications, presumeably to stop people from wasting the resources. Sure, this is something I can understand IF I had actually received the thing in the first place!

Two months later and my planned trip [although nothing yet booked, thankfully!] to PAX is edging ever closer. However, the two months block also expired, so today I have:

  • Called the German embassy in London to request a passport application appointment. Time spent in the queue: 6:08 minutes. Earliest appointment secured for next week. Told that I will also need an additional piece of paper stating I have de-registered in Germany. This is something they have neglected to mention on all previous calls.
  • Sent an email to the registry office in my hometown in Germany requesting two new copies to be sent out to me.
  • Called the registry office in my hometown in Germany to make sure the email would get read speedily. Duration of call: 2:03 minutes, cost of international mobile call: £3.75.
  • Called the registration office in my hometown in Germany to obtain a copy of the sucessful de-registration as I had lost it and at the time couldn’t imagine I would need it again. Was told today’s mail had gone out already. At 10.30am.. Asked to email details. Duration of call: 4:23 minutes, cost of international mobile call: I don’t even want to know..
  • Emailed the registration office in my hometown.
  • Called the registration office in my hometown to be told there is a fee that has to be paid in cash. Explained my situation until she probably had enough and waived the fee ‘just this one time’. Thanks!

The speediest passports from the German embassy [apart from an emergency one which would not grant me entry into the US] take ‘two, but most likely three weeks’. Passports are only received by the German embassy in London on Tuesdays. My appointment is on Monday, the 10th. The earliest date I could have my passport is the 25th. The likely date is the 1st.

So technically, if all goes to plan, I should have my two forms of ID on time before Monday. Technically everything could go smoothly with the application. Realistically I think I might as well give up on PAX..


Update 06/08/09:

I’ve now had emails from both places confirming it’s being sent out today/now. Hope? #

Update 08/08/09:

Mail arrived late and it only contained a letter for the previous tenant. That’s it then..

Update 10/08/09:

Birth certificate arrived this morning, including a request to pay 60Euros for it. Makes me feel even better!

Missing several updates since then, but regardless, I finally have a passport!

This entry was posted in Life in general, PAX, Personal. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Applying for a passport is hard work, apparently

  1. Geek Wrestler says:

    At least it isn’t the Indian passport office. It’s practically hell here..


  2. Geek Wrestler says:

    It takes ages and ages and ages. The tatkal [meaning quick] passports take around 2-3 weeks. The regular time frame is anywhere around 3 to 6 months. And it involves a lot of bribes at the police stations so that they forward your files early. :|

    It’s better in the metros though.


  3. Cat says:

    This is for an express passport, too which is why it’s 2-3 weeks. Normally it’s 6-8 weeks.


  4. Sylvia says:


    Somewhat bizarrely, I have found the German Embassy in Malaga much simpler to deal with than the one in London. Having said that, when I went to pick up my passport (straight-forward renewal), I waited for two hours at which point the security guard came up to me to say the queue was too long, so they weren’t going to get to me, so I should come back another day. I was *furious*.


  5. Cat says:

    That sounds crazy, even crazier than my problems. I’m just hoping that I’ll have a passport this year. I can’t even leave the country at the moment and heaven’s forbid I need to prove my ID anywhere!

    Saying that, I’ve never been to the embassy in London and I’m not too sure where it actually is. But I’ve still got plenty of time until my appointment on Nov 4th..


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  9. Bernhard says:

    So I am not the only one with a problem. Been informed that my mother is dying in Germany. Passport run out in 2005! Got a mortgage with it in 2007. Opened a new Bank account in 2009. Oh, I forgot to mention the Master Card in 2008. I never checked the validity of my passport and as no-one told me that it was out of date, I just took it for granted that it was in date. Now I HAVE to travel to Germany to see my mother off and I can not go. German Embassy wants to make first a Home Office enquiry if I am not a UK citizen by now (I got married in the UK in 1998) even my last passport was applied for and handed to me by the Embassy in London and I never ‘cancelled’ my citizenship with Germany. Home Office says I am still German and have to go to the German Embassy and German Embassy wants to do the Home Office check first (Cost £70 for that alone!) before I may can apply for an new Passport. I am in a catch22 and can not get out of this, but I bet that as soon as my mother has passed away I will get letters to pay my inheritance tax etc even I can not go to Germany to get the ‘estate’ in order. Red Tape all the way through!
    Welcome to German efficiency and the compassion for citizens in distress here in the UK.


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  11. Cat says:

    Bernhard, I hope you ended up getting your problems sorted out. I finally have my passport, but it took months.

    Your comment was actually timed quite curiously as I had gone to the embassy on that exact day to pick up my passport after speaking to them on the phone on the Tuesday to make sure the opening hours were correct and that my passport was actually there. Turns out the embassy was shut on that Thursday due to Christi Himmelfahrt, something they neglegted to tell me on the phone or update on their website. This ruined some travel plans I had for that same day [emergency situation in Germany] and caused me to lose a lot of money cancelling.

    Absolutely ridiculous.


  12. Bernhard says:

    Ok, here is a tip for everyone in the UK. As most of you have read, I had a huge problem of getting a Passport from the German Embassy in London to go to Germany and see my mother off which, at the time was on her death bed and only had a few more days. My Passport was run out in 2005 and I did not realised it, because every time I needed it no-one was telling me that it was out of date so I was in desperate need for a new Passport.
    Now I was in the first place in a Catch 22 with the British Home Office and the German Embassy and did got nowhere. As a last resort I contacted my local MP. I have to say so many thanks to her. Within 24h Annete Brooke got back to me that she was looking in to that matter for me. 24h later another phone call and I was told that the German Embassy was expecting me. Waited over the weekend as it was too late to get to the Embassy from Dorset. Got to the Embassy on the Tuesday after (had to see my Doctor on the Monday regarding travel, because I am Disabled and need a checkup before traveling and it would have taken longer to get a new appointment for the checkup and the certificate that I was fit to travel) I got to the Embassy and right from telling the security outside I was told that I was expected. Believe it or not but I had my Emergency Passport within 2h on the same day. Ok I had also to order my new BIOMETRIC Passport at the same time and all in all (incl. Travel to and from the Embassy in London) the whole thing has cost me nearly £200 with all the fees etc.
    At least I made it in time to see my mother a last time and she past away on the Sunday after.
    So if you are desperate try your local MP, they may not all be as good as my one but for me it opened all the right doors that I needed to have open to cut through the red tape.
    May my mother rest in peace and I now wait for the Grman Tax Man to ask me to come up with the inheritance money, but this will be another story for another day when he has been in touch.


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