Monday, November 24, 2008

The Passport Saga

Dealing with the Canadian Embassy when trying to get a child's passport has not been high on my list of efficient or pleasant experiences. With Kirsi, we had to get her a passport right away so we could get a visa for Chile. So, at 2 weeks old, I took her in to get the picture taken. I showed the photographer the paper with the requirements and he took the picture. Mom, Kirsi and I went to the consulate in Colombo (about a 30-minute drive each way) to submit all the paperwork. When I gave the lady the photos, she told me that they weren't good, that the size was wrong. I was so ticked off because it's not the easiest thing in the world to get a 2-week-old to look straight at a camera and have her eyes open. The woman recommended a photographer relatively close by so we went straight there (after having to look for it because I didn't know where it was!). Since I wasn't planning on having to get her photo taken again, I didn't really think about what she was wearing. Well, she happened to be wearing a white onesie, which was a no-no against a white background. So Kirsi's passport and citizenship photos have her wrapped in a pale yellow receiving blanket! I had to go back to get the photos a couple days later and then returned to the consulate to get the paperwork done.

With Aidan, I thought I was fully prepared for the application process. I learned how picky the Canadian Embassy is with the size of the photo, the size of the face in the photo and that the passport photo and the citizenship photo are two different sizes. I knew that you couldn't have a parent's hand showing in the photo (so forget about getting a photo before the baby can hold his/her head up) and that the baby has to be looking - eyes opened - straight at the camera and the head and shoulders have to be centred. I asked ahead of time which photographer they recommend so we went there when Aidan was just a couple months old. Unfortunately, none of the photographers (I went to three) were able to have him laying on floor and take the picture from above; they all had to be face on. I tried for half an hour one day to get a good shot but because he couldn't hold his head up, it was impossible.

So, I waited until he was 4 months old (end of October) to get his pictures done. He was able to hold his head up and was much more alert so the chances of a good photo were much higher. I got one set of photos taken at one place and then, just in case these ones weren't any good, I got them taken at another place. I went in to the Embassy a week and a half ago armed with all the paperwork and photos. I showed the lady the photos and she said that were fine. Yahoo!! I was so excited...but soon to be deflated. She told me of other paperwork that had to be done and then translated from Spanish to English. And I needed to get a certain document from a city office but all the city workers were on strike for a week. So that meant no paper until last Friday. Thankfully the line to get the document wasn't too long but I could only request it Friday and pick it up Monday. So, this morning, I took both kids down to Vitacura and we got the document we needed. Then we had to take it to a friend to get her to translate it (though I could have done it myself). With her translation AND her, I need to go to the Embassy tomorrow morning to submit the paperwork.

Now, let's hope that Aidan will get his passport in time for our flight!
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