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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  1. John Robson Silver badge
    Joke

    Almost as if

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

  2. Gavin Jamie
    Happy

    Fuller ears

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

  3. Conrad Longmore
    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

  4. Richard 31
    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.

  5. Pete 2

    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?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    nice to know

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

  7. Anonymous Coward
    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?

    1. Andus McCoatover
      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.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge
        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...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. C. Nelson 1

          Heh.

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

      3. Andus McCoatover

        Downvoted???

        No doubt by an 'uncivil serpent'.

      4. JohnG

        @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).

        1. Andus McCoatover

          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 ;-)

    2. Liam Johnson

      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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 :)

    4. Colin Miller
      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. *

    5. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      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

    6. Scott 19

      Xmas

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

    7. Mark 65

      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.

    8. Mark 65

      @Richard 31

      Not without providing proof of ID, you impostor.

      1. CD001

        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.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        @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.

    9. JohnG

      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.

    10. The First Dave Silver badge

      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.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        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.

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

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

        Yep - institutional racism.

  8. Lee Thirteen
    Happy

    I've just chatted him

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

  9. Andus McCoatover
    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....)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Jane Fae

      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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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?

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        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...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    newborns

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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!

    2. Grease Monkey

      10 years

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

    3. martin burns
      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

    4. El Richard Thomas

      Expiry dates

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

    5. fatchap

      10 years

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

    6. LateNightLarry

      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...

    7. Brian Morrison
      Thumb Up

      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.

  13. SynicNZ

    Careful where you go here ...

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

  14. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  16. Rainer

    Too bad

    ...that the original passport was canceled.

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

  17. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  18. TeeCee Gold badge
    Joke

    Weight gain?

    "his fuller lips and ears did not match his passport photograph"

    So presumably this was after "the authorities" had given him a fat lip and a thick ear twice then?

  19. James 5
    FAIL

    31 kg even !!!

    Should pay more attention !

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    finally a case where iris scans would come in handy

    I for one welcome the iris scanning overlords

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This actually is a huge deal...

    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!

  22. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Be careful in Bangkok International - dumb UK passport checkers on duty

    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,

    1. Hnk0

      bullshit AC

      "everytime you try to check into a hotel in Europe - You have to show your passport"

      No you don't. This isn't North Korea you know.

      1. Pete 2

        I call your BS

        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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      WTF?

      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."

      1. Pete 2

        _mainland_ europe!

        > 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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          Just to qualify...

          (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...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This annoys me greatly

      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.

  23. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Although the Daily Aussiegraph used a picture of a fat white person,

    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.

  24. Naughtyhorse

    hang on

    this bloke put on a a shitload of weight over 10 years (and no, that amount over that period is not temporary) and now is suing the govt?

    because HE's a fat bastard, whos too bone idle to change his passport?

    feck that!

  25. LawLessLessLaw
    Boffin

    oblig

    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!

  26. BorkedAgain
    Troll

    I recently renewed my passport...

    ...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...

  27. Phil A
    Welcome

    Iris scans

    I've registered with the government eyeball scanning program (www.iris.gov.uk) and it works quite nicely for me - get off the plane, walk straight into a scanner, wave passport at machine, wave eyeballs at machine, straight out the other side. I haven't seen a queue yet. Their privacy policy seems fairly good for HM gov as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ouch!

      "get off the plane, walk straight into a scanner,"

      Doesn't that hurt?

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      For a moment, I thought you were joking...

      I see you're not...

      Gasp.

    3. Captain Mainwaring
      Go

      Same with e-passports too

      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!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Please wait a moment, sir.

      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.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dutch

    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.

  29. Martin Usher
    Black Helicopters

    His problem was that he was African

    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.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    haha...

    I like the new stratagy to keep the fattys out the uk

  31. Rattus Rattus

    Keeping them OUT?

    Have you looked around your local streets?

  32. skeptical i
    Joke

    If he'd LOST 31kg, he'd have replaced the photo by now.

    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.

  33. Steen Larsen
    Coat

    Flying European Hotels

    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!

  34. Adrian Midgley 1
    Thumb Down

    Not retinas I think

    They are mildly difficult to see, and not very distinctive.

    The iris is difficult not to see, and fairly distinctive.

    One of those stories like "satellite location" that just sticks for no discernible reason.

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