Monday, May 18, 2009

A Tale of Kafka's two Post Offices

These days airlines don't like minors travelling on their parents' passports.

So, although Kezia entered the UK on her mother's passport and now has a UK passport, we thought it wise, particularly as her appearance has changed so much in three years, to obtain a Santomense passport for her to facilitate check-in and immigration at Heathrow when they return to São Tomé e Príncipe at the end of July rather than getting a visa put in her UK passport.

So we duly wrote a letter, sent off her "Cedula Pessoal" (a kind of identity document for kids which is also a record of vaccinations etc), passport photos and transferred 40 Euros to the bank account of the nearest Santomense embassy which is in Brussels. They issued and sent off a passport the day after everything had arrived (March 18).

We waited and waited ...

Eventually, I asked the embassy to make enquiries at the Belgian post office. They said it had arrived in the UK.

We waited a bit more.

Then my brother enquired at our local UK post office. Nope - no trace of it.

We waited a bit more.

Then I went to the UK post office "Track and Trace" service website and ... nope you cannot "track and trace" incoming international registered mail. But they helpfully provided an email address for their Customer Services which I duly wrote to - only to receive the response that the originating post office must conduct the search.

So I look up the Belgian post office website which helpfully also has a "Track and Trace" service (in English even!), type in the registered mail code only to find the message "Dispatched 18 March. Arrived in foreign country".

So I send a screenshot of this and message back to the UK Royal Mail Customer Services Representative (at a "call centre" who knows where).

And we wait a bit more ...

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