Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Passports

Bugger bugger bugger bugger bugger. My passport ran out three weeks ago. Due to being an ill-organised bastard I forgot to send off the renewal forms. And today, biometric passports start to be introduced.

You know what? Fuck that for a laugh. They’re supposedly being brought in purely to “save us the trouble of having to get a visa when we go to America” – but I have precisely no desire ever to go to America, ta very much. And if I did have to go, I’d have no problem applying for a visa. So they’re going to extract a load of information about me I don’t want them to have on the off-chance I might decide to go to a place I have no wish to go. Brilliant. Nice one, intrusive government types.

Update: The peers are on the case – but what’s all this?

“Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers are dropping their previous insistence that the scheme should not go ahead until the full costs of the project are revealed.”

Eh? You what now? Idiots.

12 Comments

  1. so… what are you going to do? restrict all future holidays to Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Mann?

  2. Well, at least at the moment, it doesn't mean entry on the NIR, there's that to be thankful for.

    My wife and I renewed ours during the summer last year to avoid this.

  3. i've until 2009… at two minds as to whether i'd take a biometric ID if it didn't mean I'd be filed on the Orwell-database.

  4. Relax, NM. These biometrics are simply an electronic image of your photo, designed to make it a little harder for unscrupulous types to half-inch your passport and replace the mugshot with their own. It's not an especially good use of public money, but it's not like the NIR.

    Now, the government is using this requirement as an excuse to set up the NIR. _That's_ the cue to head to Westminster for some pitchfork and torch-related activity.

  5. OK Chris. You provide the pitchforks, I'll bring the torches. See you in Westminster soon, unless our lords and masters, sorry elected representatives, come to their senses.

  6. If you are a citizen of the european union you do not require a visa for the usa. A passports issued in the european union will be biometric by 2008.

  7. Of course, there was a time an Englishman didn't need a passport to go anywhere. All borders were open to him, without any fiddle-faddling about with papers.
    Gary Glitter and his ilk are largely to blame.

  8. I believe this freedom applied to Scotsmen as well. A general requirement for passports to enter (never to leave) the UK only came in during WWI I believe – ISTR a 'Misleading Cases' episode based on this.

    Now, Gary Glitter may be a deeply unpleasant character, but it's going a bit far to blame hime for the First World War. Or is this some new bit of historical revisionism that I've not previously heard of?

    As it happens my passport runs out next year, so they will include the we-scan-your-photo silliness, but fortunately before the Stasi database gets under way.

  9. You don't need a visa to go America, I certainly didn't a few months ago. They ask you to fill out a visa waiver form at customs there.

  10. For the confused. No, you don't need a visa if you're in a visa waiver country (which we are) as long as your passport was issued before a certain date or has biometric data.

    The date has passed. You need a biometric passport or a visa. Old passports get you in fine while they're valid.

    *works in the tourism industry*

    That's from memory of the last time I read the regs, it's not my direct field these days.

    NM; renew, it's just a bit more embedded data, it's not the NIR. IF you don't renew now, then when the NIR comes in, if you need a passport, you're screwed; mine is likely to be renewed just before NIR if it does become compulsory. Just because I need to travel at times.

  11. What about expats? I'm a Brit living in Austria (since 1995). Therefore the NIR is surely not my concern as I'm not a UK resident. Or is it?

  12. Arthur; no idea, I suspect they haven't thought about it…

    Am I being to cynical? Or not cynical enough?