I’m Being Held Hostage by Red Tape.

I am in the most ridiculous situation. It’s complicated, keep up.

My Austrian passport has expired. Or is going to, on the 22nd February.

In order to renew my passport, I need to have my birth certificate Apostilled by the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperations.

My birth certificate is too old (yup) and DIRCO can’t Apostille it for me. Therefore, I need to have a new one issued.

It will take six to twelve weeks for Home Affairs to reissue my birth certificate.

Once I have the birth certificate, I need to courier it up to DIRCO in Pretoria to be Apostilled.

Then, and only then, can I apply for a renewed Austrian passport.

Which will take six to eight weeks.

I have to be in Austria in April for my grandfather’s 85th birthday.

Let’s do the maths so long: Best case scenario, I get my birth certificate (R75) at the end of March. Add on three days for the courier (R1 000) to Pretoria and back to be Apostilled (free). And then six weeks for my passport to be issued (R1 500). Which takes us to mid April. Right about the time I climb on the airplane.

So, to sum up, R2 575 for a passport which is unlikely to arrive before I need to fly.

I can’t rely on being issued an emergency passport in time, as this also requires an Apostilled birth certificate.

And the icing on the cake is that I cannot even apply for a Schengen Visa on my South African passport because, as a European citizen, I don’t qualify.

If I can’t get on that airplane, this is what I will be missing out on:

1. My grandfather’s 85th birthday with the whole family.


Opa’s eightieth birthday, 2009

2. The beautiful spring fields, dusted with the last remnants of winter snow, in the picturesque town of Dornbirn.

3. Staying in London with my beautiful, wonderful friend of nineteen years who’s face I have not seen in three years.


Spain, 2007

4. Catching up with the many sensational Britons I met in India

5. The Henri Matisse exhibition at the Tate Modern

5 thoughts on “I’m Being Held Hostage by Red Tape.

  1. Pingback: The Winds of Change | The Jolly Jammer

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