I’ve been living in the UK for nearly three years now (can you believe it?!) which means it’s that time again: Visa renewal time.
We sent in our paperwork to renew our visas, and when I got back from my last work trip, we mailed in our passports to go along with our application. It feels weird to be separated from my passport, given that it’s my only current proof of identity. Thankfully, this time around our visas will come with biometric residence permits, which means I’ll finally have an identity card separate from my passport. (Hurray! I’m hoping I can also use it in the US so I don’t have to carry around my passport when I go out for drinks there.)
After the Home Office received our visa renewal applications, they sent us a request to have our biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) taken. Thankfully, you can do this at the post office so it doesn’t require a huge trip. Oddly, however, they require one of the following forms of identity for this procedure:
- Photo driving license
- National identity card
- UK Biometric Residence Permit
Um. In other words, I just mailed my passport to you to get a biometric residence permit, but two of the four options that you are asking for are those exact documents? Since I don’t have a valid driver’s license anymore, and my only government-issued ID is my passport (because the US traditionally doesn’t do identity cards, although passport cards are now a thing there), I don’t have access to any of the requested proofs of identity.
I do, however, have an expired US driver’s license and a German residence permit that (magically) has an expiry date in 2017. The residence permit shouldn’t be actually valid anymore (I seem to remember that it became invalid when we informed the German government that we had moved out of the country) but I’m hoping that one of these will be acceptable at the post office. Because if I can’t get my biometrics taken, my visa application will be invalidated.
Seriously. WTF. Someone at the UK Home Office needs to test out their visa application flow, because it’s broken.