Passport Office

It took a few days but I did get my passport back after they told us that my passport had been “blacklisted”. Thankfully, except for the next morning when we had to go and see the Passport Office Manager at the Kuwait International Airport, I didn’t have to go anywhere.

It was uneventful at the Passport Office that Sunday. The office was “hidden”, really out of the way at the airport. It was one of the places that hubby had been brought to almost a month ago when he was trying to find out why our passports were being flagged, so he knew exactly where it was!

Short and sweet. That’s all I can say about our visit. Hubby gave the manager the piece of paper they had given us at the airport, both of us thinking that, this was it, I will get my passport back. He entered something in the computer and then almost instantaneously said, “Your passport has been blacklisted. The computer says anyone who presents this passport is to be arrested.” We told him that both our passports had been stolen on new year’s eve and we both had been issued with new passports. Both our new passports had been flagged the last three times we had been travelling out of Kuwait but they had to call a number and then it was ok. But this was the first time this has happened – on arriving in Kuwait. On top of that, only my passport was “confiscated” not my husband’s. How come?

He said he didn’t know. Maybe it was a mistake. Someone entered the wrong information.

Oops!

Perhaps. But he told us that hubby had to go to another Ministry of the Interior office in Farwaniyah on Thursday and he would be able to collect my passport there. That was it. I was quite despondent as I really didn’t like the idea that my passport would be “travelling” all the way from the airport to the Ministry office in Farwaniyah!

Anyway, hubby would sort it out the way things are usually sorted out in Kuwait: using your “wastas” – or simply put, connections. Nothing illegal of course. Using a wasta just oils the bureaucratic process which could get really sluggish if you didn’t know who to talk to and where to go. And worse if you didn’t speak Arabic that well.

As it turned out, Thursday was subsequently declared a public holiday so then it had to be the following Sunday. Hubby had a big wasta this time. A very senior official with military connections and he was able to find out what was going on and get my passport back that week.

The “blacklist” order, was it removed I wonder? Hubby had booked a weekend trip to Dubai to see our Spanish cousins who had just relocated there so this would be the test.

It was fine at the check-in, which was an express counter for passengers without checked in luggage. The ground staff did not say anything when he checked us in. When we were at the Immigration counter, the official looked at my passport first. He called out my name and looked at me, then said “You lost your passport?” We said yes. He chopped my passport and returned it to hubby. Then he looked at hubby’s passport. He called out his name and then said questioningly, “You too?” And hubby said yes. He smiled then shook his head as he asked, “Both of you? How?” Hubby explained the short version. In Spain, on a train. Someone stole my bag. He gave hubby his passport and buzzed the gate open for us.

So that’s it. Back to “normal” I guess. The “normal” since we got the new passports that is. Let’s see if they stop us when we come back from Dubai. I hope not. I really hope the “blacklist” has been cleared.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

The Allure of the Seas

It was an amazing holiday and after New York, Florida and the Caribbean Cruise, I am finally back in Kuwait!

Never mind that we arrived just in time for the horrible hot and dusty weather, there’s always something so nice about getting back to your “base”, after travelling and collecting all those wonderful memories and experiences. Even if its just to get back to simple routine stuff like laundry, deciding the weekly menu, food shopping, cooking dinner, my painting classes and our nightly TV series or movies.

So, yes, after three weeks of travelling, it was good to be back. I looked forward to being in our apartment again, our own bed, our bathroom and a change of wardrobe, shoes and bags! Which girl didn’t eh?

But the experience on arrival at Kuwait airport got me thinking. Suddenly I didn’t feel so welcome.

Basically we were detained at the airport immigration counter after the immigration officer stamped hubby’s passport and started looking at mine. She said, “You have to go and see the Passport Secretary”. Before we knew it, she was waving my passport at another officer across the hall and calling his name. He came over, took my passport from the lady and gestured us to follow him.

BLACKLISTED

What now, we wondered…when we left JFK Airport in New York to fly back to Kuwait, there had been absolutely no hitches with our passport and we both thought: “Ahhhh that’s it, our passports are fine. No more flagging.”

It had not been the same ever since our passports were stolen last new year’s eve and we were issued with re-entry visas to enter Kuwait with our NEW passports.

I thought it nothing when, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), returning to Kuwait from Malaysia via Doha on 9th February 2011, the ground staff of Qatar Airways told me when I was checking in, that she was not able to issue my Doha-Kuwait boarding pass. They had to call Kuwait. She said it was an extra security precautions for passengers travelling to the Middle East in view of the Egyptian uprising. She asked me to wait while they called and started processing another passenger. A few minutes later she completed processing my check-in and that was it. I later told hubby what happened and neither of us suspected anything.

Nothing happened when I arrived in Kuwait. I breezed through and was out in 15 minutes. BUT every time that hubby and I had left Kuwait on a trip since then had seen a repeat of my first check-in at KLIA after getting the new passports. At every check-in at Kuwait airport, the ground crew of the airline would say to both of us, “So you lost your passports huh?” Then he or she would tell us to wait. He or she would then call the Manager, then tell us they needed to “make a call” before they could complete the check-in.

Hubby travelled to the US on a business trip in March and the same thing happened and at JFK Airport coming back to Kuwait, the US personnel in charge did not know what to do when he saw the remark. He held back hubby’s luggage and told him to go ahead through security. If they didn’t stop him, then he would check in the luggage! Thankfully, he got through that one.

During the check-in for the trip to Amsterdam, hubby leaned over the check-in counter and asked the Manager what was going on. Apparently, when our passport numbers were entered in the computer, they got a remark that we were subject to “additional security” and they had to call a given phone number. Once they got the ok, which was usually a few minutes, they would go on on to issue the boarding passes.

Coming back from Amsterdam we left for the airport extra early IN CASE there was a problem. And there was. It felt quite scary. The ground staff put our check-in on hold and processed other people first before coming back to us. It was a long wait.

Hubby said he would start asking people he knew about how to check out what was happening when we got back to Kuwait. To cut a very long story very short, he was told that our lost passports were flagged in the Ministry of the Interior’s system with a note that the person carrying said lost passports were to be arrested if they tried to enter Kuwait.

Fair enough. But strangely, our new passport numbers were also flagged. It was part of the system. So that was why every time we checked-in to leave the country, ground staff had to call the Ministry number to get approval for I don’t know what. We guessed it was just to get confirmation that we were travelling with the new passports. We think. Who knows.

But at least we know what was happening. We were told that that was how the system worked and everyone was subject to the same rules. The flag would be removed either when our lost passports were found or presented or when our old passports expired.

I went back to Malaysia for a short while after Amsterdam and the same thing happened at Kuwait airport but nothing happened at KLIA and when I came back it was a breeze. I thought the problem had been solved.

And now this.

We followed the officer to a counter where he sat and entered my passport number in the computer. Then he started talking to hubby in Arabic. When asked to explain in English, he told us, “You’re blacklisted. Computer says, arrest this person!”.

  arabian-sheikh-laptop

But he didn’t say why. He took us to a room where there were three more Passport Officers and after a lot of going back and forth, one of them filled up a form in Arabic which hubby had to sign as my sponsor, I presume, taking responsibility for me. They retained my passport and another officer signed the paper and returned it to hubby.

2004-3-25-passport

We were told that we had to come back tomorrow to see the manager of the Passport Unit and collect the passport then.

It had been a long 14-hour flight and it had been a long time sorting this out. Nothing like this had ever happened to either of us. We couldn’t figure it out. What was wrong now? This never happened before. Why my passport? Why not hubby’s passport?

Anyway that’s it for tonight. It was getting late and everyone on the flight had cleared immigration and probably their luggage. I wondered what had happened to our luggage. Our taxi-driver too had called a couple of times to find out what had happened because he was waiting outside.

And so we left the airport without my passport. Thankfully our luggage was fine and waiting there for us. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Sebastian, our regular taxi-driver had not come for us. He had sent someone else who came in his little banger with his young son in the front seat and his boot full of I-don’t-know-what. He somehow managed to get the two big suitcases in the boot. The trolleys sat with us in the back and one sat with his son in front. Poor kid, but what could we do.

So that’s it, now I’m blacklisted. And hopefully everything is ok tomorrow. It was too late to call anyone tonight but tomorrow hubby will call his friend who helped us out when we lost our passports. Hopefully all this will end.

Today hubby brought home my passport complete with my Kuwaiti residency visa….yaaay!

And yesterday, hubby gave me my new American Express card, ATM card and insurance card. So my wallet is almost complete. What a relief…only one more hurdle to go – my civil ID.

Kuwaiti civil ID

They kick off the application process tomorrow and the good news is that they don’t need my passport to do it. For now of course, I need to carry my passport wherever I go. Not that I’m terribly happy to do that. I’m quite paranoid about it actually. I have to choose which handbag I carry so I am sure the passport is safe and secure. I’m always checking that its there. Arrrrrghhh!

Can I just carry a photocopy of my passport and the residency visa instead?

Hubby said a vehement no. You’ll get into trouble if they stop you and all you have are photocopies. So I resign myself to carrying my passport around until I get that piece of paper hubby has been carrying around for almost a month now – the temporary civil ID. And inshallah, soon after that, my Kuwaiti civil ID.

Sometimes I still can’t believe that all this actually happened to us. Despite the fact that I still shudder every time I think about it. One thing’s for sure, we’ve certainly learnt a lot from this experience. Mainly that we can’t take anything – safety, security, comfort – for granted. You always have to be on guard and alert and take every precaution to secure your passport.

You can lose anything – but not your passport!

The flight back to Kuwait was uneventful. Or should I say everything went smoothly. As it should. I slept well. And I didn’t overeat.

Finally, almost 12 hours after I left Malaysia – hello Kuwait! Hello hubby! He had told me on the phone it was 10 degrees Celsius outside – so put on a jacket. He had also arranged the “Marhaba” meet and greet service for me and an Arab lady dressed in a light black coat holding a placard with my name on it was waiting for me as I exited the plane. I waved at her and smiled. She was holding my visa and asked for my passport.

Downstairs in the arrival hall, we went to a counter where she presented them to an immigration officer behind a window. They exchanged some remarks in Arabic, he stamped my passport and then I followed her out to the baggage claim area via the exit for “Crew Only”! Amazing. All that in less than 15 minutes. The regular immigration queue was exceptionally long in all counters!

A few minutes later the baggage carousels started moving and I got my two suitcases. All my worries about being asked to open my luggage after it went through the scanner were unfounded because as usual the officer was sitting there very relaxed and certainly not in the mood to stop anyone! Maybe it was still too early.

It was so good to see hubby. All dressed for work. And the airport looked…..festive….decorated with lots of green, red, black and white balloons and flags.

Welcome to Kuwait!

To welcome me? Awwwwww…..nice touch! Of course it wasn’t to welcome me back…it was to celebrate the Kuwait national and liberation days in a couple of weeks. LOL

Kuwait airport all done up for 5/20/50

Hubby immediately asked for my passport and visa and slipped them inside his breast pocket as we made our way towards the car. I thought he was worried we might lose it before we even got home but no….he had to rush off to meetings at the office after dropping me off and he was taking my passport and visa to the office so that the mandoob (messenger or runner working for a company) could take them to the Ministry of the Interior to obtain my residency visa again.

He reminded me that I didn’t have my civil ID. So I shouldn’t go out anywhere. At least not for a couple of days. Not until I get my passport back with the residency visa.

So this is the last bit of Kuwaiti bureaucracy. Hubby had to go through it and I have to go through it now. Once I get my residency visa in my passport, I can apply for my new civil ID. The civil ID takes 2 months! Apparently they have to make an announcement in the local papers about the loss of the civil ID. If, after 2 months, no one has reported finding the civil ID, then a new one will be issued. In the mean time, a temporary document will be issued which must be carried around for identification..

Basically its KL all over again. Arriving with no papers…but I’m not in my own country, so better to be safe than sorry. So, unless I’m out with hubby, I’m a prisoner in my own home LOL!

Finally the day I go back to Kuwait arrived. Somehow it seems as though I’ve been away from Kuwait a really long time. Hubby said that and I felt that as well. In reality I’ve been in Malaysia just under a month. But add to that the two plus weeks we were in San Sebastian and Madrid…well I guess it WAS a long time to be away from Kuwait.

It was a tearful goodbye with Mum and sis Ann, as usual. My flight was at the ungodly hour of 3:45 am and Danial insisted on taking me to the airport. It was a long check-in. We first got the wrong check-in counter. Silly but at half past midnight your eyesight gets affected too! LOL

Waiting at the wrong check-in counter!

After waiting almost 40 minutes for the wrong check-in counter to open, we had the wisdom to go look at the announcements terminal again and that’s when we found out where we had to go!

There wasn’t a long queue for us but the Qatar Airways ground staff seemed to take a long time checking each passenger in. When it came to my turn she said they were not able to print out my Doha – Kuwait boarding pass. In view of the events taking place in the Middle East right now, they had to call Doha on a passenger-by-passenger basis seeking approval to issue the Doha – Kuwait boarding pass. Eventually I got my boarding passes and it was way past 1:30am. I hurried Danial off. I didn’t like the idea of him driving such a long way back – 50 plus kilometres – this time of night…morning rather, but what to do. We didn’t want me to take a cab that time of night either.

After passing Immigration, I had to take a coach to the terminal as the train was under maintenance. It was 2am and the flight had been brought forward to 3:30am. So I had just over an hour to pass in the MAS Golden Lounge. I was starving but there was a disappointing array of what looked like day-old sandwiches, buns, and slices of patisseries. Even the so-called chicken rice looked unappetising. I immediately thought of Qatar Airways’ Premium Terminal in Doha and said to myself, “You ain’t seen a premium lounge until you’ve seen the Qatar Airways’ Premium Terminal in Doha!” Nonetheless, I was glad I had a place I could hang out in but I was still hungry. I looked forward to the “indulgence” snack they would serve on the plane. I spoke to hubby and wrote on Facebook and then it was time to go.

Goodbye to all that hassle with the passports. I mustn’t let it daunt me though because I was almost paranoid,  continually making sure my passport and boarding passes were where they should be at all times. And my iPad. And my phone. I checked and double-checked each time I changed seats or moved about. Relax, I kept telling myself. You’ll be OK.

Who can blame me for feeling that way after what we had been through the last few weeks, eh?

Exactly one week after hubby submitted the copy of my passport to the Ministry of the Interior, my re-entry visa was completed. Yaay! Hubby called me and told me that today.

And its been exactly one month since our passports were stolen on new year’s eve.

Seems like it has been forever. We almost don’t remember our Spanish vacation. Our culinary experience in San Sebastian. All the things we did in Madrid. San Sebastian really seemed like another lifetime. But there we are. My passport is ready. My visa is ready. My flight back to Kuwait had to be postponed from 5th February to 8th February because hubby wanted to be sure that I arrived during a work day and during working hours – in case something went wrong and we needed to talk to someone.

Well, that meant I had 3 extra days at home. I still had a lot of stuff to do. Well, no more excuses. No more holding my breath.

I printed copies of all the documents – e-ticket, re-entry visa, hubby’s new passport, his re-entry visa his temporary civil ID and put them away, all set for travel day. Then I began ticking things off my to-do list.

It was a busy weekend attending the solemnisation ceremony and the wedding reception of a friend’s daughter.

Nevertheless all I could think about was getting my new passport today.

I wondered what would actually happen. Would they really call me? I had no time to waste, waiting around for someone from Immigration to call so I went about my normal routine. Driving Danial to work. Hanging out with mum and my sister. And a lunch appointment with a BFF.

Then the call came. It was 11:30am and the lady said "your application for a new passport has been approved. You can come and make the payment and collect your passport."

Approved

Yippee! I was elated and made my third trip to the Subang Immigration office. I think the parking people know me by now. I went upstairs and spoke to the lady who had called me. I showed her the letter of acknowledgement Mr Abdul had given me when I submitted the documents last Wednesday. She printed the “approval letter” and gave it to me.

I was thankful that my application had been approved and in such a short time but I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed that my new passport was only valid for 2 years.

I asked her why not 5 years? Could I appeal for a 5-year passport? And the reply was “Don’t push your luck!” LOL No, of course she didn’t say that at all. But she might as well have. She said that was the normal case for lost passports. You’re kind of on probation, I guess. Or was it a kind of penalty or punishment? It seems like it because I also had to pay RM300 (which was what was normally charged for 5-year validity passports). The normal fee for  2-year validity passports was RM100.

I was also given a terse WARNING and a reminder in the approval letter that Malaysian passports are the property of the Malaysian government and that I’m required to take proper care of it. In other words – DON’T LOSE IT.

I was asked to go downstairs to the main office and make my payment. The passport would take one hour.

I waited and got my passport before the one hour was up. A crisp clean new passport. With a remark typed in on one of the “Remarks” pages that I had previously travelled on passport number bla bla bla which had been reported lost on bla bla bla date. OK fair enough.

Anyway. I was relieved.

I rushed home to scan the passport and e-mail it to hubby who would kick off the process of applying for my re-entry visa from the Kuwait Ministry of the Interior. Thank God again for the 5-hour time difference. Now we’ll wait for a week before that’s done and then we can book my flight back to Kuwait.

Phew. Now time for lunch with my BFF at Pressroom. Time to breathe.

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Today was the big day. Again. No, really today is the big day.

My cousin had told me that he had spoken to his friend at the Subang Immigration Office. He finished his meeting at 3pm yesterday so I wouldn’t have been able to see him yesterday anyway. But he WILL be in the office this morning and so can see me. I went there again after dropping Danial off at work and was asked to go into the office area and into a room. My cousin’s friend seemed to be a friendly person and straightaway asked me what had happened to my passport. I told him the whole story and also that I had prepared all the documentation ready to be submitted.

He picked up the phone and told his secretary to send Mr Abdul in! Ahhhh, the familiar Mr Abdul. He told Mr Abdul to please “open a file” I suppose to kick off the process for my new passport. After Mr Abdul left the room, I asked him what happens with the one month period and he told that normally that’s the amount of time it would take to process an application for a new passport to replace a lost passport.

But it was possible to appeal to get the passport earlier to meet extenuating circumstances and he asked me by when I needed the passport. I told him hubby was booking my flight to Kuwait for 5th February and he also needed 7 working days after I get my new passport to apply for my Kuwait re-entry visa. Then he said “I can’t give you your passport today but will 2-3 days be OK? Today is Wednesday. Tomorrow was a public holiday because of Thaipusam then it’s Friday and the weekend. There are some procedures we have to follow and your application has to go to the Director in Shah Alam for approval. We’ll give it to you on Monday. Is that OK?”

Oh wow. Its more than OK. I was elated. I told him I had written an appeal letter – was that necessary? He said not absolutely necessary but attach it as it would help. I thanked him profusely and left the office to see Mr Abdul. Mr Abdul, who had earlier said no one could help me avoid the one month waiting period, was just doing his job and explaining the Department’s policy and procedures.

He was very friendly now and he actually smiled. He checked all my documents, ticked the checklist, took my thumbprints, printed an acknowledgement letter, signed it and gave it to me. Hmmmmm….I saw that it said they would inform me if my application was approved in one month. He said that was the normal procedure. Don’t worry. My application was in the right channel now. They would call me when the passport was ready. He asked me to write my phone number on the application form.

So that was it. I think this is the final bit of bureaucracy I have to endure here in Malaysia. After this it’s back to the Kuwait bureaucracy. I can’t wait for Monday.

I have a wedding to attend on Friday and the reception on Sunday….now I have the peace of mind to go and find something to wear.

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After dropping Danial off at work, I texted my cousin to let him know that I was on my way to the Immigration office in Subang to see his friend there. I knew how to get there because that was where I went the last time to renew my passport. The one that was now stolen. It was part of the old Subang airport and had been turned into a branch of the Immigration Department.

My cousin called while I was on the way there to tell me that his friend had texted him to say that he had to attend an urgent meeting and did not know what time he would finish. He suggested I waited at Mum’s place and he would let me know when his friend became available. I was only a few minutes away from the place so I told him I would go anyway and wait there. Mum had a doctor’s appointment that morning so no one would be at home.

When I got there I was surprised that it was so empty. Usually the car park would be packed tight but now it was empty and the place looked dead. Then I saw a banner.

The branch has moved!

They had moved in December 2010 to a new office in Kelana Jaya, about 20 minutes away! Oh dear.

My cousin was as surprised as I was. His friend obviously hadn’t said anything about it to him. Not an issue. I had my trusted Garmin GPS so I easily found the new Subang Immigration Office at Plaza Glomac. Parking there was a breeze – nothing like any immigration office I had ever been too.

I went into the main hall of the branch and it looked like any regular Immigration office. Lots of people. An electronic queue system that worked. And a high noise level. The place buzzed with activity like any government office in Malaysia. Busy..busy..busy. I decided to go to the lady manning the information desk and told her who I was there to see. She made a call upstairs and told me the gentleman was out but I could go upstairs and talk to one of the officers there. Upstairs was where they dealt with lost passports.

Strange – as far as Malaysian Immigration was concerned, there seemed to be no differentiation between "lost" and "stolen" passports. Whether you lost or misplaced your passport, it was considered "lost". If you were robbed at gunpoint, it’s considered "lost". If someone stole your bag right under your nose, it’s considered "lost". There must be some wisdom there.

Anyway, I made my way upstairs. The was a counter with a number of computer terminals, a waiting area and two rooms labelled "Investigation Room". I wondered what the rooms were for. At the counter, I spoke to an officer called Mr Abdul (not his real name) and told him I was there to see my cousin’s friend. He told me the same thing – that he was at a meeting and he didn’t know when he would be back.

But I was at the right place to apply for a new passport so he gave me a couple of forms to fill. One was the official form to apply for a new passport and he had ticked the box "lost" for me. The second form was a questionnaire about the lost passport and was very similar to the form I had filled at the Malaysian embassy in Madrid. Lots of information about my passport, when I last saw it, exactly how it was "lost", what I did to recover it, was it likely to be found, how many passports I had been issued before, how many times I had lost my passport etc. It was quite tedious. I thought I could fill them up and submit the forms today but on the back page of the questionnaire I saw a "Statutory Declaration" where I had to summarise how I "lost" the passport, and sign it in front of a Commissioner for Oaths.

Oops. That meant the forms cannot go in today.

But that was not the worst news. A guy had come in and was talking to the lady next to Mr Abdul. He was complaining that no one had told him it would take ONE MONTH for him to get his new passport after it was stolen. He had a ticket to travel somewhere and needed his passport quickly.

What????? Oh my God. One month? Really? No way…no frikkin’ way. I needed my passport soon if not today. Real soon.

I asked Mr Abdul. One month? Really? I thought passports were issued the same day of application now. I thought the Immigration Department was one of the most customer-conscious government departments in Malaysia, what with opening their offices all week including on Sundays.

He said "lost" passports are not treated the same way as first-time passports or expired passports. They needed to be investigated etc etc.

I kind of argued with him. What was there to be investigated? That was the job of the police. I had a police report lodged with the police where it was stolen – in Spain. My passport was gone. What was there to be investigated? I was courteous though more than a little bit irate. I couldn’t understand it. I felt he didn’t understand that I was the victim here. It’s was like I was the bad guy now.

Anyway he said that the government took this very seriously because there were syndicates out there whose work involved buying or stealing passports and selling them on the black market. I had heard before that Malaysian passports fetched almost USD8000 on the black market. But I argued with him. (Why not eh?) How is that possible these days? Our passports come with a microchip inside the passport cover. Our photos are no longer pasted in the passports. They were scanned into the page. It can’t be easy to forge our passports now. Well, I didn’t get an answer to that question. But he did pick up a pile of papers to show me the amount of Malaysian passport losses in Rome which were currently being investigated. The work of a syndicate there, he said.

Later, a friend told me that if Ah Chong had no money to send his son to college, all he needed to do was find one of these syndicates and "sell" his passport to them for USD15000 or something like that!

I continued to tell Mr Abdul that I needed my passport urgently and that I was supposed to see this gentleman who was the friend of my cousin who used to be a senior official in the Immigration Department. He said, "Well, your friend couldn’t do anything. It takes one month to investigate. You would have to write a letter of appeal to the State Immigration Director. He’s the only one with the authority to dispense with the one month period." He gave me the the name of the Director I had to write an appeal letter to.

I sighed a heavy sigh. A really heavy sigh.

I felt blessed that I had the “wasta” which, as far as I know, wherever you were, often helped to reduce the "bureaucratic effect" but obviously I wasn’t in that channel right now. I was talking to the wrong person, I think.

So I took the two forms I had to fill up and a check list with documents I had to attach with my application which Mr Abdul explained in detail to me.

Immigration checklist

He told me that once all the documentation was complete, I should submit my application for my new passport and then wait for the application to be approved (in one month).

Of course I spoke to my cousin later and he said not to worry. Just get all the documents ready and see his friend tomorrow. He WILL be able to help me get my passport as fast as possible.

So, hopeful that tomorrow would be a brighter day, I went home and started filling up all the forms and wrote out the statutory declaration. I tried to find a Commissioner for Oaths nearby our apartment but there wasn’t any. Thankfully I still had the phone number of the Commissioner for Oaths I had discovered when I needed a statutory declaration for Mum a couple of years ago. She had moved too but it was easy to find her. It was a five-minute job – I gave her my identity card, signed the declaration in front of her, she attested to it, put her chop and it was official. Later at home, I printed the copies of all the documents they wanted.

At night, I decided that I should probably write an appeal letter to the Director IN CASE they asked for it when I submitted the documents tomorrow. I printed out copies of my marriage certificate and various documents to prove my husband lived and worked in Kuwait and prayed everything would be sufficient for me to get my passport ASAP.

We’ll find out tomorrow. Mañana. Buqra. Today wasn’t wasted at all. Despite the fact that I couldn’t see the right person, I was thankful that I went there. I now had all the right documentation and tomorrow will be a breeze. Inshallah.

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I had really hoped that the police report translation would be ready yesterday – Saturday – so that I could go to Immigration on Monday but when I called our Spanish translator-friend, he had told me that it would be ready “sometime next week. I’ll call you when it’s ready”! I was horrified. Disappointed. Even upset. That was not acceptable. Somehow I expected him to be a little more understanding seeing as it WAS an important event in my timeline..

Despondent, I texted my cousin to tell him we should probably reschedule our appointment at Immigration. He didn’t reply so i guess he knew the appointment was off. On Monday I spoke to him and told him the translation wasn’t ready and it still needed to be stamped. He told me the translation was not a problem – a simple one would do. No need to stamp etc.. I spoke to hubby and asked if maybe HE could do a simple translation and e-mail it to me. But he said that a draft of the translation had actually been emailed to him that day for “approval” and he’d just forward a copy to me. Marvellous. That solves my problem.

The Immigration appointment is ON tomorrow. Tuesday.

That evening I was food shopping at Mercato downstairs when I got the text message from our translator-friend that the police report translation was ready “just now”. He said I could go and pick it up from him. But I didn’t have a car as Danial had gone out for the evening so I told him that. That was really too bad because he could have told me that it might be ready tonight when I called him on Saturday. Anyway, I received another text message later which said that he would drop the translation at our apartment. That was helpful.

So I did get the translation just after 10 pm. I was a bit upset but thankful nonetheless that I now had a “certified” translation of the police report. It was too late to call my cousin to let him know the good news..I’ll just call him tomorrow morning after I drop Danial off at work. I sat down to prepare all the documents I had been told to bring.

Despite the “events” since the weekend I was excited about the next step. Finally after more than two weeks, this silly episode of the lost passports would be over.

Tomorrow….Tuesday 18th January 2011 is a big day. I’m getting my passport. Then I can breathe.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia

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