Almost as if
ten year old photographs are always a perfect likeness of the current individual.
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 …
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.
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?
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?
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, for one welcome our new Civil Serpent Overlords.
"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...
"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).
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.
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. *
"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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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?
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!
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...
...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.
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.
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.
Think about everytime you try to check into a hotel in Europe - You have to show your passport. When you want to book travel (or at least get on a plane) you need to show your passport. Open a bank account in the EU - show a passport. And in most european counties you have to show your passport in order to rent a flat or hire a car.
So this guy must have been well and truly screwed without having a passport! I hope he had some good friends in the Netherlands! Otherwise thats some serious hassles right there!
The last place you would want to get stuck like this is in Bangkok.
Many travellers going to the UK have their documentation referred to UK types who think they know all about documents. In fact a couple of the females are over-weight (and ugly). They are the worst of their type - small minded people with impressive power.
I had occasion to meet them when my passport was referred to them and they weighed their decision. To cut matters short, I rummaged through my baggage and produced another passport (I have them from three countries) which happened to be British which resolved the matter.
These obnoxious characters do a good business in 'holding' travellers who then have to put up at some unsavoury hotel, chosen by Thai Immigration, with appropriate bribes paid for the business, whilst these loud mouthed UK people do their checking at a pace that resembles a snail.
Never depend on your governments when travelling as they take every holiday of the UK and their host country and never are around on weekends,
OK, maybe there are occasions (such as when travelling in a party, booking in en masse), but my experience as a lone traveller is that every time I book into a hotel in mainland Europe I have to show a passport - even little gites and hostals require them. Every time I want to rent a car I've been asked for a passport as well as a photo driving license. It's not infrequent that I'm asked for a passport when using a credit card, too. (Maybe I'm just shifty looking?)
In a lot of places you'll get a hefty fine if pulled in by the fuzz and you don't have your identification with you, there and then - no "producers", just a €90 spot fine. So yes, without a passport or government ID in a lot of countries which have ID cards you are, royally, screwed.
What's this "in Europe" business?
I booked into a hotel in Europe the other day and I didn't have to show my passport. It was in Whitby and that's the point. The UK is as much "in Europe" as France, Germany, Spain or wherever. Why do so many Brits talk about Europe as if it were a single foreign country?
Until I read your post the most recent time I heard this shite was in a pub (in Whitby) some eejit decided to take a couple of little kids, no more than five years old by the looks of them, into a pub at about 9:30pm. The landlord pointed out that they didn't allow kids after 9pm, to which the numpty responded "In Europe they allow children in pubs so you've got to let us in." To which the landlord responded. "This is Europe and your kids aren't coming in my pub."
> The UK is as much "in Europe" ...
Hence the qualifier in what I wrote. The major point being that most other countries in europe are used to an ID card system and therefore are quire prepared to carry and show documentation. It's only the few who rattle on about "freedom" an' such who are a bunch of drama queens (and queeness's) about not carrying the means to identify oneself.
Oddly, I've come to the conclusion that as a whole, individuals in mainland europe (whoops! there's that qualifier again) are much more concerned with preserving their own personal freedoms - to the point of ignoring laws which supress them, than brits are. My guess is that we're more blase about loss of freedom since we haven't ever lost ours, whereas most other countries in europe have been invaded or occupied within living memory.
(For the record im the original AC poster)
When i said Europe, i did mean Europe including the UK. Every hotel and hostel ive ever stayed at in the UK has also asked for my passport.
But maybe thats because im one of those dirty non-EU foreigners who are taking your jobs and women, etc, etc. [Cue daily mail rant]
Actually i think if i remember correctly its actually an interpol requirement that hotels check ID's of everyone checking in. But maybe that only applies on mainland Europe... or for dirty foreigners...
I only have one passport. The next one will have RFID, and I must supply my fingerprints. They will be kept in an ill-secured shoddy server under some desk or other, so told me an insider. I find this highly offensive and needlessly disrespectful of my privacy. Given the choice I would indeed opt for a fingerprint- and RFID-free version of both ID card and passport. Yet I get no choice. One shot is all I get against small-minded "officials" with a bee up their bums. It would be very useful to me to completely legitimately have a backup or two. But I don't get that choice.
Back in the day, being issued a passport ment that the issuing government trusted you. Nowadays it's more of a nail to glue you to some dossier with, a stick to hit you with and a carrot you must keep safe and that far too many bureaucrats might take away on a whim.
Multiple passports? Nice work if you can get it. And increasingly, necessairy. But most of us can't.
I am assuming that Derrick Agyeman is black. Actress Freema Agyeman (possibly no relation) is black and I expect that it runs in the family. And, of course, being mucked about by the Mostly-White Powers That Be makes so much more sense when it happens to a black guy.
Sergeant: Savage, why do you keep arresting this man?
Constable Savage: He's a villain, sir.
Sergeant: ...A villain.
Constable Savage: And a jailbird, sir.
Sergeant: I know he's a jailbird, Savage, he's down in the cells now! We're holding him on a charge of being caught in possession of curly black hair and thick lips!
...and my previous one's photo (taken in my mid-to-late-twenties, with fairly enthusiastic hair, a goatee and skinny face*) looked nothing at all like my current face (balding, close-cropped pate, clean-shaven, cuddly) and the worst I ever got was funny looks at Charles de Gaulle.
Of course, my new passport has all my biometrics and DNA fingerprint digitally scanned which makes me feel SO much better...
*It was the nineties, dammit. This was de rigueur. I was careful not to mention the burnt orange shirt...
I have been using my e-passport for the past 3 years now in pretty much the same way at my local airport and have breezed through the automated border gate in less than 30 seconds on every occasion. What amazes me is that there never seems to be a queue to use this automated facility, despite there usually being a queue stretching back several hundred yards for the manual passport gates.
The IPS recently stated that there are already some 25 million e-passports in circulation, about half the total number of all valid UK passports out there. Perhaps people feel a little bit intimidated by the automated border machinery or are not aware that they are in possession of the new style e-passport.
I suppose if everybody starts using the new facilities however, then this may not necessarily be the attractive option any more!
While our Highly Skilled Technicians "tune" the lasers up to eleven. Nevermind the smoke out of your eyesockets sir. Nothing to worry about sir. Please do carry on sir.
Safety? I can't afford to trust a government that tells me to trust it because it sure doesn't trust me. I therefore must assume safety of life and limb, especially the eyes, is not guaranteed. Even if they opened the specs and showed no lasers were used in the design.
Security? RFIDs (which is what those "queueless" iris scanning things use to read your passport) can be cloned and tampered with. And because nobody is looking at the non-RFID part of the passport, nobody'll notice it doesn't even look like a booklet and doesn't even sport a photograph on the outside. Yes, very convenient. Also gameable up the yin yang.
Privacy? DVDs in the mail, dossiers in the train, loose sticks, lost laptops, unsecured servers, and so on, and so forth. Sweet dreams, sir.
Hang on a mo.
The guy was in Amsterdam, yes? So the airport staff who refused his passport would have been of the Dutch persuasion. Reasonable?
So why are so many people posting here assuming the staff who originally refused his passport were British government employees?
OK so the people who took three months to sort out his identity were British, but the original refusal of his passport had feck all to do with the British.
Actually I can see something of a problem as far as Dutch airport staff are concerned. Remember the brits spend a lot of time complaining to authorities in other european countries about illegals using mainland europe as a way to enter the UK. Now you're standing theredoing passport spotchecks and you are handed a British passport by a chap who presumably talks with a funny accent and doesn't look much like the photo in the passport. This being the EU there probably isn't a Dutch entry stamp on the passport, which doen't help. The guy can offer no other proof of identity that would help. What would you do?
Bear in mind that it's a fairly common scam for illegals to enter mainland europe on a visitors visa or illegally. And then try to enter the UK carrying a "borrowed" passport. I've heard a popular scam for getting into the UK illegally is to travel to Ireland by ferry from mainland Europe, then either cross into the north by road or get a ferry to the UK. All the while carrying a fake, stolen or perhaps borrowed British passport just in case you do get stopped. I've been travelling to and from the republic for a good few years now and have never once been asked for a passport travelling in either direction. Actually I don't even have a passport any more.
A friend had her passport stolen in Stockholm last summer. It got stolen in the evening and replaced the next day at the embassy. Two big differences:-
-- She's white
-- She's American
Unless this person got their original passport under fraudulent circumstances -- unlikely if he's domiciled in the UK -- then someone's jerking him about.
Much like folks throw away their "fat jeans" when they can shoehorn themselves into a smaller size.
I haven't heard of a similar situation happening in Amurka but perhaps TSA/ INS/ ICE are so used to the burgeoning American population (and increase in its number) that they can better discern whether the difference is due to weight gain or not.
Apparantly governments no longer require passengers to show any ID for flights within the Schengen area - but some airlines do. Lufthansa doesn't require any ID, great to bord quickly by flashing your boarding pass barcode at a machine! This may come as a shock to some: but I love these privacy respecting Germans!
When I moved to Britain is was shocked to realise that many British do not consider themselves to be European. Europeans are the (weird) guys living on the European continent! This makes it easier to understand the anti European stance in some of the tabloids. Then the Brits also had programmes like Eurotrash which paints Europeans as being crazy, weird and mostly naked - funny though!
I am as confused as everybody else regarding the showing of passports in hotels in Europe (Britain included :-). Sometimes they want it and sometimes they don't, seems like a 50% chance to me.
I have taken my coat and left for France. I really miss the good pub food and fantastic English humour. I do not miss NuLabours big brother attitudes and the long border control queues! Not to mention that you now have to register your passport details in advance when you travel to the UK - even from Paris! Crazy! I wish you Brits all the best in restoring some of your freedoms!
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