So it’s that time of decade again where I need to renew my passport or find myself without proper documentation, read: possible illegal immigrant.
Renewing the passport this time round could not have been simpler, or more straight forward. Last time it cost me an arm, a leg, and part of a kidney with all the associate fees.
This time around I was able to do everything, and I mean, everything, online. From filling out the form(s), to supplying the requested digital documentation, to providing a digital image of myself (without having to bribe the dentist to sign the back for the exorbitant fee), to paying securely with the credit card.
All this done directly with HM’s Passport Office online, for the princely sum of £100.
So civilized. Just pop the old passport in the post to London and, on receipt, a new passport will be issued.
The one thing that never changes in this scenario, however, is the quality of the photo.
Last time around I had to go to the local pharmacy and have some myopic university student stand me in front of a plain background while they took my mugshot. No smiling. No hair across the face. No frowning. No glasses. No squinting. Look straight at the camera and lose the smirk.
Basically, look like you’ve just been hauled up on drug or larceny charges at the local Police Station!
Now? Now you can have a friend take your snapshot with their smartphone, upload it directly as you are filling out the forms and say simply: ‘Yes’ this is an exact likeness and representation of me … and that’s it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the photo is any better looking than what the pharmacy kid took ten years ago, but hey, who’s complaining, right?