Soaked passport, damn

21st July 2016 Thursday

So yesterday, Wednesday the 20th of July there were thunderstorms, in fact all of last week there were thunderstorms.  The point is that because my work visa is up for renewal, my passport was in my bag, and because I have been trying to ride as much as possible before I leave, some of those times I’ve been driving to work, I’ve been caught in the rain.

I wrapped up my computer in its little soft case, and a big plastic bag which protected it from water, and my passport was in a little case as well….but apparently it wasn’t as protected at the computer.

So this happened:

70.pic_hd 71.pic_hd 72.pic_hd


Yep,  shit.

So I spent today ringing the embassy to understand just how damaged is acceptable, and what is not.

It seems…. That this is not.

Nor would the China visa place even accept it for my new visa, so I have to go and get a new passport.

My original intention by the way, as this, now damaged passport is actually full, would be to peel off an old visa, thus creating a ‘free page’ and then I could stick in the new visa.

It’s not technically the correct thing to do, but from a couple of friends that have done it before…it works.  So instead of paying for a whole new passport that’s not expired you can do this.

Life hack – if your old passport is full because there are too many full page visas in there, take a damp sponge, dab away at the old visa, and then slowly pull it off.  Make sure you keep it somewhere in case you’re asked about it and you can say it just fell out by itself. 
And then voila,  you’ve got a free page for your new visa. 

Anyway, there goes that idea out the window.

Supposedly it takes 10 working days to get a new passport, because the request has to be approved in your country of temporary residence – at the embassy by qualified staff, and then the Canberra, or your country’s capital office has to issue a new passport and then it gets sent to wherever you’re living.

Unless you’re in certain places, for Australian passports, this is apparently only the UK in London, then it HAS to be done like this, and there’s no rush service.

Basically though, you just click on a few buttons online, here’s the link:

“The first step is to either complete and print out an online passport
renewal form (PC7 form), available from the Australian Passports web site,

or come to the Embassy and answer some security
questions for us printing a renewal form for you.

Fill in the form of the one you want,

Book an appointment at the embassy, check out the opening times, as most consulates only seem to be open during the morning 9am-12 or something.

And then go in with your old passport to the embassy, you may have to tell them that you’re there to get a new passport because its damaged, because if the guards look at a messed up passport, they may be reluctant to give you entry.

And then hand all of this, with your photos a 2 inch white background, unedited photo;

(For the photo, print out the photo guidelines sheet which is in Chinese & English, so the photo place can use it, without you having to explain too much)

Tips_Photograph (opens & downloads in a new tab)

; as well as the payment fee (in cash) to the consulate desk staff.

(It costs RMB1740 for a 35 page passport. They only take cash.)

Or call them, they’re really helpful.

Consular Services
Australian Embassy, Beijing
Tel:  (010) 5140 4111

Friday 22nd July

Went to the embassy this morning, with my photos I had done at a ‘non-regulated’ photo shop.  I had to tell them several times that they were not to photoshop my photo.

I have slightly messy hair, but that’s my hair, you can’t make it neater for a passport photo, but that’s not something that they apparently understand.

So anyway, handed all the stuff in.. and the photo wasn’t accepted because it didn’t meet the required specifications.

No worries, around the corner is the one that I was meant to go to originally, so drove there and got it done.

Here’s the address:
Name: Jin Yi Photo Studio
Add: Building 14, Shunyuanli, Chaoyang district, opposite to the
Huadu Hotel
Tel:  6468 6895
Contact: Ms Wang Wei

(please advise Ms. Wang it is for an Australian Passport application)

But this time, because it was a hot day…and I have to wear all my protection gear for the motorbike I was sweating… and your could see that on my new photo, and even though it met the sizing requirements, there was shiny parts beneath my eyes… so it was also not acceptable.

Back to the photo shop; the consulate gave them a call and they did it for free this time.

Much better.

So, in, done.  Better to have a perfect photo… or as perfect as it could be given that it’s me that they’re working with and have it accepted first time by Canberra, then to have more hassle later.

Supposedly 10 working days.

Friday 29th July

I actually emailed them on Wednesday because I was meant to go to Chengdu to visit a friend on Friday and they told me that it may be ready before I go, which is WAY less than the 10 business days.

And then Thursday afternoon I got a phone call to say that they’ve already received it.

So whole process took 6 working days.  Pretty good.
(6 because you can’t collect it in the afternoon, unless it an emergency, so Friday morning it was)

So Friday morning drove down, picked it up. And was ready to leave at 2pm that day to go to Chengdu.   Or at least I would have been if I wasn’t so hungover from the pub quiz the night before.

So I unfortunately ended up missing my flight, just by 10 mins or so because
1. And probably the main reason, I didn’t leave enough time to get to the airport and didn’t factor in the obvious –
2. Taxi driver taking the slowest possible route despite the fact that you know,…that’s his job to drive to places…. too bad he just does it slowly.
3. Of course there was problems at the airport because the ticket was booked under the old passport and the new passport has zero information in it.
Under these circumstances, you’re meant to go directly to the Airline management desk ‘duty manager on site’  desk, where there is a queue of only 2 people and ask him, because apparently only HE/ SHE has authorisation to give you the ticket.

Life Hack – you save loads of time knowing that you should go to the management counter if you potentially have problems with your passport, instead of lining up at a normal counter and then being told you have to do that.

But, I didn’t know that so I went to an express counter where 2 ladies were taking waaay to much stuff for a domestic flight and I got held up, and then by the time I eventually got to the right counter, he said  ‘oh it wouldn’t be safe to admit you now’

Safe?  Safe?  China has the worst record in terms of flights taking off at the right time, .. I have no check-in luggage, no computer, no lighters… sure I’m 10 mins late because… of meh, but I’m going to zip through security, and as the flight will be 30 mins late anyway…. I should be fine.  Why did you use the word safe anyway?
But I know from seeing other people that it’s not a good idea to get frustrated at a airport / airline managers.

So changed the flight to 4 hours later and went from there.

Overall the renewal of the passport was a fairly quick and painless experience.

Although now that I had to renew my passport I haven’t got time to apply for the new work visa before my flight leaves for the UK… but I guess we can’t have everything.