Thursday, August 12, 2010

Paperwork woes

Byzantine hardly begins to describe the difficulties I have been having to acquire one of the new Turkish Passports. My old style passport expired and so I had to apply for one of the "biometric" passports deemed so essential these days.

Easy you may think. Well think again, maybe in Turkey but when dealing withe the Consulate in New York.....!!!

First step, let me check the ekonsul web site to see what it says about passport applications. Ah yes. obtain pictures, fill in forms, provide money order, return envelope and submit your application. So I did all of that and as requested included my old passport and my ID card. That was on July 12th. After hearing nothing for 3 weeks I call the "Hotline" as the consulate phone is never answered and no-one ever answers email and am told, in contradiction of what I was told previously that "Postal applications are no longer accepted and you have to make an appointment at the Consulate." Couple of questions I had, will I ever receive my documents back from the consulate so I can make the personal appointment. no idea was the reply, please call the consulate!!!!!!!!

On checking the website again I now see that as of August the 3rd there is a new notice that says "As of June 1st, appointments have to be made to process passport applications." That's useful, 2 months after this started the website is updated!!!

So I make an appointment, 1 month after I sent the documents, which by the way have still not been returned to me. I arrive promptly at 2.30 and am processed promptly at 5.30. From 2.30 to 3.15 the 6 people who are scheduled for appoint ents at 2.30 are completely ignored by thej consulate staff, in fact we are asked "What are you doing here, there are no appointments this afternoon?" All of us are attemptiong to renew our passports we reply. Oh well the passport person is not here, please rescheule your appointments we are told. Err, No we reply. Now considering that some people had driven 4 + hrs from Boston as the NY consulate serves the whole NE of the US that would be a bit of an inconvenience.

So at 4pm I am called to a window and asked for my paperwork. You still have it I tell them,, I sent it here one month ago and you have not returned it to me even though there is a prepaid envelope. One hour later they find my paperwork.

At 5.30pm we are finally called in one by one to be processed, including fingerprints.

So what now. Well they will see whether the photo I provided is okay, if not I will have to take another and make another trip to NY. After that they will contact me and ask me to resend my old passport so they can cancel that and then send me my new passport, I mean why can they not just keep my old one when I was there? All in all the process may take 3 months which is just ridiculous.

On the other hand my father just renewed his passport in Istanbul, took him three days. The difference, the Polis issue passports in Turkey not the uncivil service.......