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Decentralise passports for expats back to local embassies

Comment 2nd July 2010

British expats abroad are now being forced to renew their passports centrally in Düsseldorf. Like almost every other country in the world, I would like to see this return to local embassies and no longer be centralised in Germany.

Why does this matter?

Posting sensitive, personal and precious documentation (marriage certificates, birth certificates, credit card details) by post to German from places as far away as Bahrain and Kuwait no longer protects citizens personal data.

The risk of such documentation and personal data being intercepted and stolen en-route back and forth to Düsseldorf is simply too great. Also, expats are being forced to pay using a credit card and putting this credit card information into the postal system. This is totally unsafe – why can't at least some safe on-line system be setup? Pay on-line, get a receipt number and include this in the application process?

Why does the FCO and UK government just assume that everyone has a credit card? Many expats don't and this centralisation of passport issuing is a massive burden for expats.

Example of how this centralized system doesn't work: in countries like Austria all EU citizens must carry a "photo ID" by law. If a new born child, born to two British parents has to wait "up to 4 weeks" for a new passport and the Austrian police could fine or possibly hold the shild until a suitable photo ID is produced.

The current centralised system is ridiculous and control must be returnmed to local embassies immediately.

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