Saturday, September 24

Diplomatic services

I am having some trouble with my passport. When I renewed it in 2009, our Ministry of Internal Affairs gave me a passport valid for 10 years. But when I saw the amount of pages, I wondered, where was the logic of giving a 10 year passport with the same amount of pages (34) given for a 5-year passport. The officer smiled, said there is nothing they could do about it, that they might change the system, but for now, thats how it is. He informed me that I will just have to come back and get a new one once I run out of pages as there is no policy/ regulation in place with regard to inserting additional pages to a passport that runs out of pages. 

At first, I didn't think about it too much. But as the time went by, and my travels increased I began to worry about this. Finally it was time to deal with the issue. And so I did, I went to Azerbaijani Consulate in Istanbul (two days ago). I was already skeptical but thought it was worth of try. It was a very useful visit indeed to my surprise, as I have learned a lot. For instance, while we all live in a 21st century with advanced technology and all the high- tech conditions that come with it our official consular services, only sends diplomatic mail to Azerbaijan once a month if lucky twice (and please don't tell me that its because its too expensive!) Not only this, but that getting a new passport would take me between a month and three months. In fact, the official sitting behind the window told me that it would be best, if I traveled to Azerbaijan myself and got my passport renewed there. 

In vain search for yet another try, I then called the Azerbaijan embassy in Ankara. Unfortunately my hopes were crashed as quickly as the embassy staff on the phone responded to my question: "no, we don't add pages and it takes several months to get a new passport".

I am just curious, so what if I was in a rush, or had a serious health issue and had to travel abroad as soon as possible, what then? All of this just because they haven't really worked out the process of it all. As according to another consulate official in Istanbul, there is a "working project" but its going to take some time for that kind of system brought outside of the country he told me when I questioned them on how is that possible that they don't have some kind of solution to this. Surely, I am not the first Azerbaijani national who came to them with a similar problem?

Its a real pity as I am missing on a conference I was supposed to attend at the end of October in Brazil. I was invited as a speaker there but I had to inform the organizers that I wont be able to come because of this silly complication. 

Pity, pity, pity... But it has to change, sooner or later. I just hope it changes soon.

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