A few weeks back I went on a short holiday to Spain to try and find some sun (seem to have missed it in the UK this summer!)
When I went abroad last year things got pretty awkward every time I tried to go through a passport control… In fairness the passport was from 2008 and in the picture I may have had a number 3 haircut all over, so I can see why people did a double take when I handed it to them. It’s also in the wrong name, and has a male title. So it really felt like it was time for a new passport.
Having a passport is also really useful when trying to update details in other places as well; driving license, bank account, etc.
The Post Office offer a service where they check through your application form and send it to the passport people for you. Around 3 weeks later you should receive the new passport. This sounded great, and would fit neatly into the 7 weeks before I was travelling to Spain.
After 4 weeks of waiting I began to get a bit nervous, so gave the passport office a ring. I was told that there was a query on my account and a letter had been sent out to me that day. Unfortunately, the advisor couldn’t see the contents of the letter on their system as it was personal.
Another few days passed before the letter finally arrived. The passport official was questioning the fact I had put my title as ‘Miss’ but my gender as male. They also wanted to let me know that, if I was seeing a gender councillor, I might be able to change the passport to female without a full gender change certificate. I was aware of this, but unfortunately am not at that stage yet.
The letter continued to say that I needed to prove that I was using my new name in all situations. Proof could consist of a letter from the council, a driving license, or something else official looking. This was going to be tricky as, while I am using my new name day-to-day, the passport was going to be the ID with which I changed everything else!
Thankfully, that week a payslip from work and a letter from the NHS had both arrived, so I was able to get all that in the post straight away. Sure enough, 6 weeks after I had sent off for it, my passport finally arrived… phew!
It does feel good to have a passport that reflects where I am in my life now, as opposed to where I was 7 years ago. A lot has changed since then!