Monday, 20 July 2009

Thank you dankie ngiyabonga.

South Africa rules! Well, obivously I may be a bit biased about such things, but I do have a specific reason for saying it this time.

I have to get a new passport because my old one is full. It is quite a procedure for people living overseas.

BFG has had to do this twice, so he knows the ropes. He gave me a printout listing all the letters and forms I need to send for and told me to do it asap as it takes an age.

One of the requirements on his sheet was a letter from the British authorities stating that I do not have British citizenship. BFG told me that they did it for him both times for free, but I got a letter from them stating that as of this year, they have decided to start charging £75 for the privelege. £75!!!

Wait, in case you did not catch that:


I admit that we should probably pay something for such a service, but to go from free to £75 in one foul swoop is a bit astounding. Let me say it one more time: £75!!! And why only now?

The whole procedure is costly, I need to pay a solicitor to verify documents, I need to get photos, I need to get my fingerprints taken and the police charge for that, and then of course there is the application fee, which is surprisingly little. But this £75(!!!!!!!!!) pushed me over the edge.

My only solution was to go back home. I have one spare page in my passport. I figured what the heck, I was being robbed blind by the fairly efficient British officials, so surely it would be better to move back home, and pay far less for the privilege of suffering through the special hell that is South African beaurocracy? Makes sense, yesno?

But then. I went onto the South Africa House website and saw that the requirements for getting a new passport had changed just a few months ago (hmmm, roughly around the time the British doodads started charging £75 for a letter). We no longer need that terrible letter of doom worth £75!!!


Now we just need 2 verified copies of our British visas.

I have no proof of this, but I can't help imagining some nice person from South Africa House down in London nearly keeling over at the amount of money we would have to pay that freaking letter, and deciding to change the requirements. After all, most South Africans I know cannot stand to feel ripped off. We are cheapskates by nature. And often a bit dodgy too.

So thank you, my dear South Africa House, for saving me the indignation of paying !£75! for a piece of paper. I love you.


LadyFi said...

Yep - I had to pay about that much or a little less for renewing my passport here in Sweden!!


Being Brazen said...

wow, that was alot of moola...for paper...think of the food people could buy that that moola here :)

Ches said...

It seems these hard times are even affecting illegal aliens. ;)

I agree, 75 squids is ridiculous.

Helen said...

That's totally ridiculous! I hope you write an angry letter (after you've got your new passport of course)

Prixie said...

if you ever get a chance, go see an event at the SA House. It is such a beautiful building!

yay for your passport!

Anonymous said...

wahahahahahaha... yeah we are cheap skates ... wahahaha

cybersass said...

i think you should have used the very good excuse to make that trip back! 75 pounds! yikes!

Jeanne said...

I always renew my SA passport in SA - it's sooooo much easier & all you need is a tame relative who will go and pick it up from Home Affais 6 weeks later & keep it till you are visiting again. Of course, this means you have to apply for a new passport BEFORE you are down to your last page/week in your old one ;-)