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back to article Underweight passport pic left traveller stuck in Amsterdam

Putting on weight can be bad for your health: it may also cause you difficulties when trying to enter the United Kingdom. That was the unfortunate experience of a Mr Derrick Agyeman, for whom weight gain led to an enforced stay in the Netherlands, and litigation that is still making its ponderous way through the UK courts some …

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Black Helicopters

"Major changes of appearance"

The rules are quite clear - if your appearance changes in a major and permanent way then you need to get a new passport photo. So there's a good chance that gaining 31kg and nine years may make you look very different.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Passports/Applicationinformation/DG_174152

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Welcome

@ Major Change

So, assume your face is disfigured in an accident. Yep, new passport. What, 150 squids. Then another operation changes you, and another forkout.

FFS, cattle and dogs have RFID's stuck in their ears. Why not us, if it's an option against a passport? Imagine just walking through the check-in, rather than waiting for the losers who can't find their passport after a 2-hour flight. Make Heathrow's 'express stream' a bit redundant.

I'd volunteer.

I, for one welcome our new Civil Serpent Overlords.

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Anonymous Coward

You said...

You said "major and permanent". Who is to say that putting on 31kg is permanent. Sure it's a majore change, but it's not necessarilly permanent.

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FAIL

@Andus

"So, assume your face is disfigured in an accident. Yep, new passport. What, 150 squids."

If your face is mutilated in an accident, and you try to cross the border with your old passport, what do you think will happen? And this only applies if you go on holiday abroad while in the hospital waiting for the reconstructive surgery...

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Downvoted???

No doubt by an 'uncivil serpent'.

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Re:Major Changes of Appearance

"In August 2006, Agyeman, a British citizen who had been issued with a British passport by the High Commission in Ghana, was returning to the United Kingdom after a weekend away with friends."

I may be reading this incorrectly but, to me, that says he was returning after a weekend away. Hence his passport was ok on the way out but not on the way back. Maybe it's worded badly but if it isn't then they're twats.

Regarding major changes of appearance a child can receive a passport at age 1 that will last them for 5 years. They can still travel on them (admittedly accompanied) but they generally look fuck all like they did when they were 1 when they're over 5. Go figure.

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@Andus McCoatover

"What, 150 squids"

A passport renewal costs 77.50 GBP, unless you want it in a hurry - the one day option costs 129.50 GBP

Dogs RFID chips are actually injected into the neck but can sometimes migrate around the body. They can also fail, which could make things rather complicated.

There have been some experiments with retina scans but these are actually a bit slow and unreliable (from my own experience).

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Heh.

God help you if you choose to go abroad for that reconstructive surgery then, I suppose.

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Sorry, JohnG

I was talking Euro-squids, not British squids. Still, I accept I overshot a bit.

"Dog's RFID ..can migrate..." Makes that pooper-scooper a bit more essential, I agree ;-)

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@Mark 65

"I may be reading this incorrectly but, to me, that says he was returning after a weekend away. Hence his passport was ok on the way out but not on the way back. Maybe it's worded badly but if it isn't then they're twats"

Different passport officials. Some countries are more lax than others. Leaving the UK is always easier than coming back in, unless you're going to one of a handful of countries.

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Emergency passport?

OK, so to get a replacement I can see that you'd need to provide proof of identity. But how did it take this guy 3 months "languishing in Amsterdam" (although as languishing spots go, I can think of many that would be worse) to come up with the necessary info to get a new passport.

Normally if you lose yours while abroad, or have it stolen, you can get a replacement document in a short time, so long as you can prove who you say you are. There does sound like there's more to this than meats the eye - and since when did people put on weight around the ears?

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replacement document

They are not going to give a temporary passport to someone they just took a 10 year passport from because they don't think he is who he says he is.

If he had been travelling with some alternative identification, then they probably would not have taken it in the first place!

Then you have to convince someone from the bank to open up your safety deposit box to get your original birth certificate and hand it to a family member. But since your family cannot provide your death certificate, they will not open the box. Neither can you go in and change the paperwork and the wont accept a faxed authorization.

I am surpised it only took 3 months.

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Joke

Meats the eye?

There does sound like there's more to this than meats the eye

Very clever, I saw what you did there :)

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Stop

check file-copy of photograph?

I assume one of the things that happens when you get an emergency passport is that the photograph is sent to the embassy/consulate (originally the file-copy the passport office hold, now it will be a scan of it). The consulate staff then check this photograph against the applicant. Ooops. The applicant's face is fuller than the legitimate passport holder. Must be an imposter trying to get a British passport.

* Application rejected. *

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Paris Hilton

Change your pic

Can you change the picture on your passport? Mine is 6 years old, and i am quite a bit less fat than i was in that picture.

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@Richard 31

Not without providing proof of ID, you impostor.

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Joke

nice to know

that the high end facial recognition software used by customs can be fooled by eating a few kebabs.

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Black Helicopters

He works in my local...

Maybe those people saying Bin Laden has actually been in the UK for years have been right?

Maybe he just ate a load of kebabs and crossed the border

Black helicopters, because Bin Laden doesn't travel with screamin kids

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Xmas

Could be fun at the airports at xmas when alot of people put a few pounds on.

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Not quite

We're not really talking "a few pounds" here - the guy put on 31 kgs apparently - that's *back of a fag packet calculation* more than 4 and a half stone! If it was me that would be more than a third of my total body weight and I'd imagine I'd look rather different after that.

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change

31kg of weight gain is slightly more than a few kebabs - its four stone 12lbs in real money, which is going to affect anyone quite considerably, particularly if we assume he started off quite skinny. I am also going to assume from what was said that this gentleman is probably off African origin, so you can understand why there was doubt.

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So?

Who was he hiding in his clothes? Bin Liner maybe? - I understood he's shed a bit recently, what with the scarcity of Kebab shops in the wilds and caves of Pakis....oh, wait a moment. If them mountains and hills have a corner, there'll be some shop.

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"...this gentleman is probably off African origin, so you can understand why there was doubt"

Yep - institutional racism.

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Anonymous Coward

Human rights? Well, not that one.

I don't know whether he had another passport but if he hadn't, then cancelling this one left him effectively stateless. There's an international rule telling governments not to do that.

Anyway. Is there any actual research into how people's faces change over time and with the amount of fat carried changing, but still stay identifiably the same person? Or is this basically as much unfounded assumptions convenient for the courts as there appear to be regarding how well DNA identifies single people? Or, for that matter, fingerprints. I'd expect those to change with fingers growing fatter, too, not to mention getting cut. What IS the research in the field?

Suppose we were to force everybody to get fancy electronic passports full of intrusive data and that data couldn't be guaranteed to do what it is purported to do. Wouldn't be that a right shame?

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They thought the passport was not his

We haven't seen photos to compare but I guess the Dutch authorities and the British Consulate were fairly convinced that he was not the person in the photo and therefore that the passport was not his. In that event, they would seize the passport on the basis that it was being used fraudulently.

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Happy

Fuller ears

It is pretty serious weight gain when your ears get fat.

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Joke

Almost as if

ten year old photographs are always a perfect likeness of the current individual.

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Joke

Gobsmacked*..

...about this story. Has beurocracy gone fuc*king terminall*y bonkers at last??

* (If I were gobsmacked, it might lead to me having "fuller lips")

Sheesh. Hope the bloke gets a mint. (Of money, not to ease the sores....)

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Anonymous Coward

"You've changed a bit!"

Twice now, I've had a woman at the check-in desk (possibly the same on both occasions) joke "You've changed a bit!" You can imagine my nervous laughter. It's true, I've gone from clean-shaven with long hair to skinhead with a beard (keeping the balance ;) but I'll be buggered if I'm gonna pay another £80 or whatever it is these days.

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eeek!

for some reason, it hadn't ocurred to me that this issue might just apply to me. In view of the number of people who lately have told me i look "totally different"...maybe i'd better not be doing any international travel in the near future.

jane

xx

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Happy

I've just chatted him

and he's all for the UK joining Schengen now :)

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Anonymous Coward

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it

Schengen was a major reason why various governments now force everybody to 1) have ID cards and 2) carry it with them all the time. No border checks? Checks everywhere and everywhen else. Obviously. Do you really want that?

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Dont know what your on about AC!

I've never been asked for ID here in Germany except when trying to get on a plane or when checking into a hotel, which is standard procedure even in the UK.

Whilst i think technically, I'm supposed to carry ID everywhere over here, in over a year I've never been asked by anyone for it and neither has anyone i know. The only time I've heard of someone being asked for their ID was when they were being questioned by the police about a traffic incident, and thats the same case as it would be in the UK.

So please stop spouting anti-Schengan rubbish, which is blatantly false...

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WTF?

Hotels...even in the UK....I think not.

I stay in hotels all the time for my job (on average about 2-3 days each and every week) and have never, repeat NOT ONCE, been asked for ID in the UK when checking in - be it a b&b or major hotel chain...I've only ever had it happen abroad.

PS. I also never give my real home address when checking in either and have never had it checked out.

So less of the....'standard procedure in the UK'...'cos it isn't.

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Anonymous Coward

The plural of "ignorance" is not "truth".

The law here in the Netherlands, explicitly mentioning "Schengen" when introduced, is that everyone from 14 on up is required to always carry some form of government identification, and to produce it when requested by duly appointed authorities. Failure to do so brings a 50 euro fine and more likely than not arrest to "determine identity". In fact, the first thing the plod is likely to ask when they deign to talk to you, even to tell you not to spit on the street or something, is to ask you "for your identity".

There are almost daily mentionings in the press that someone failed to produce ID and had another fifty euros slapped on the stack of fines they were about to issue, for nowadays road controls and such are increasingly no longer just the police, but done in concert with the customs and revenue services so as to scrub you squeaky clean. That, also, is regularly reported in the press, with totals cashed, often literally paid-on-the-spot.

This is also the law in France, where in certain banlieues youf of usually Algerian descent get asked for their ID card by grumpy French plod on just about every street corner. Yes, some people get asked for it more often than others. The law is the same for everyone, however, regardless of application.

In the UK, last time I checked, you could go home and show your ID the next day at the police station. In the rest of Europe, count on being detained first.

This doesn't even begin to touch on the increasing pressure to "prove your identity" at the drop of a hat, even when no credit will be issued or liability transferred. But "Schengen" has been used to introduce these laws, including explicitly so. Your ignorance does not change that fact.

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Anonymous Coward

newborns

The govt seem quite happy to issue 5 year passports to new born babies.

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Happy

how does it work in the UK?

in my country, we need to renew our passport, ID and driving License every few years, and each time we do that, they take a fresh picture of us.

doesn't the same thing happen in the UK? (with the exception of ID card), or is it because the documents don't have some sort of an expiry date?

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FAIL

10 years

AC, Your passport is valid for 10 years in the UK. As his had 1 year left on it, he probably didnt think it was worth the bother of getting a new passport just yet...

But to be honest, im not at all surprised this. Anyone whos had dealings with UK border police or the Home Office will know how big a bunch of lying, obnoxious, and just plain incompetent w*nkers they are!

I had an Aussie friend who when his visa ran out, he planned a fair well trip on the continent, and then was planning to come back to the UK, collect his stuff and fly out. He checked with both the Home Office and the UK Border Police that he would not have trouble getting back in on a tourist visa to collect his stuff before flying out. They told him "No problems under any circumstance". So what happened when he tried to get back in? REJECTED... He ended up having to get his girlfriend (a UK-Aus dual citizen) to take all of his belongings to france so he could fly out from there and the added cost of having to cancel his flights and book new ones.

Utterly incompetent w*nks. i hope this guy gets a bloody good payout! Fail icon for the Home Office!

AC because i might like to get back into the UK at some point too!

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Expiry dates

An adult UK passport is valid for 10 years. The other info you require is in the article..

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Big Brother

New photos

When you renew a passport, you need to supply a new photo, which must be taken in the last month

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Passports/Applicationinformation/DG_174152

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10 years

Yes you have to renew every ten years and his passport was nine years old.

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10 years

The passport normally lasts for 10 years so this one was nearly out of date.

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how does it work in the UK?

Not sure how it works in all the other states, but in California, you can renew your driver's license by mail (good for four years) several times, and the original picture is used. My current DL picture is at least 20 years old... I understand Arizona, your DL is good from the date it's issued until you turn 65, with no new picture...

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Renewals....

...well I don't require an ID card because the plan to introduce them is being scrapped. My passport expired a couple of years ago, I have not renewed it because I don't wish to travel anywhere at present.

My driving licence is current because I have not changed my home address in more than 15 years, which is before the time when photo driving licences came into being.

As a result, I have no valid ID that contains a photo of me, and I'm perfectly happy with that.

Recently I needed to obtain probate in the Probate Court, it was no problem without having photo ID.

Excellent news, I shall be fascinated to see what happens the next time someone insists on me providing them with photo ID. As far as I can see, I am not required to have it.

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Careful where you go here ...

5 year passports get expensive and annoying - and are also the solution to this issue.

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Anonymous Coward

Scare tactic?

Does anybody else think that this whole sorry episode is little more than a scare tactic to get people to spend more money? It would cost more after all if people went about regularly updating passports that should not need to be updated.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't mention the bloody elephant in the room, eh?

I've known UK citizens who have been able to return to the UK without a passport at all (because it got nicked). I've known a non-UK citizen who was allowed into the UK without a valid visa (because it was single-entry and she'd been to France for the weekend). But none of them were young(ish) black men from Africa.

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Anonymous Coward

it wouldn't surprise me

Bad as it sounds, it's a fair point. If you're not sure about the passport, check one, do they look like they are the nationality they claim to be? Do they have the right language, accent, clothes etc.

it's not the best test, but you can hardly hold it against them for double checking, let's not forget we've just had a load of mossad agents get into the country on fake passports.

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Anonymous Coward

31kg!

That's a lot. Very nearly 5 stone. I can see where that would change your appearance considerably.

However if the FO had concerns they should have made efforts to confirm his identity and there's no way that should take months.

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Too bad

...that the original passport was canceled.

He could have slimmed down enough in the three months "languishing" to match the photo again.

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