It was sometime towards the end of January when we began getting the necessary paperwork done for Ayla’s passport.
We have no immediate family in Australia, so travelling in and out of Australia is always a necessity.
Levi’s first trip out of Australia was to visit friends and family in Singapore, and he was all of four months old.
Has anyone attempted to take a passport photo of your infant at home? It’s literally impossible.
As discussed in great detail back in May 2010 on my previous blog, it’s a challenge just trying to get kiddo looking into the camera while struggling with the technical limitations of a non-professional camera.
(And yes, those pictures of Levi aged three months just bring a smile to my day.)
Levi’s photo was taken at GPO Melbourne. It must be the location of the post office or the ‘up to date’ infrastructure of the post office, but the crew over at GPO Melbourne were easy to deal with and best of all, accepted the professionally-taken photo of Levi from nearby Ted’s Elizabeth Street.
Fast forward three years.
That weekend we weren’t too keen on heading into the CBD and decided to get Ayla’s passport photo over at Auspost Highpoint.
Remembering our great experience at Ted’s, we ambled over to Ted’s Highpoint, which was literally three to four shops next to Auspost.
One of the staff, Cody (still remember your name, mate!) was kind enough to put Ayla down on a mat and took some pictures of her.
He also explained passport photos these days need not adhere to the older passport regulations as Australia has upgraded their passports to include biometric system.
Long story short, passport photos no longer need to be presented with certain dimensions ‘framing’ the face.
Many of us still hold on to passports with the older, non ‘biometric’ system, myself included.
Fifteen minutes later, armed with four photos of Ayla (done the biometrics way), we walked straight into Auspost Highpoint for a passport application.
To our surprise, the counter staff rejected Ayla’s photo.
“Her hand is visible in the photo.”
“We need a photo of just her face.”
“She’s not looking straight into the camera.”
“I cannot accept this photo.”
We tried explaining to the staff this is the new way passport photos are taken and have confirmed with Cody from Ted’s (yes that right, just next door!) that this is accurate.
“No, it doesn’t meet our requirements.”
“Please refer to the passport requirements here.” *takes out folder and shows it to us*
Frustrated, we walked back to Cody and explained our situation to him.
To our pleasant surprise, Cody offered to walk with us back in to Auspost Highpoint to explain changes in the photo criteria.
“This is actually the second time in three days it’s happened. Someone came back here two days ago advising the same. I’m going to make sure the staff understands it right.” Cody explained to us.
Alas, same timid, non-progressive replies.
“No, it doesn’t meet requirements.”
Finally, a glimmer of hope.
“Let me get my manager.”
The manager came out and didn’t look like he was too interested either. Perhaps he looked like Santa Claus’s father, or perhaps he just needed to get with the times. It’s 2013 FFS.
“Sorry, it doesn’t meet the requirements. They can certainly try using the photos taken from you guys, but there’s no guarantee the passport application will be approved.”
Wow, just wow.
Frustrated, we decided not to get it done in Auspost Highpoint.
Cody explained to us again biometrics is definitely the way forward with Australian passports, and shrugged his shoulders and showed his dismay at Auspost Highpoint’s reluctance to adjust their photo policies.
“Nothing I can do, sorry guys.”
We thanked Cody and decided to ring around a couple of Ausposts around the CBD area, GPO Melbourne included.
Our rationale was, the post offices in the CBD area must be far more ‘advanced’ and ‘up to date’.
Fast forward to end-February, and Ayla’s passport finally arrived.
Thanks to the chaps in Auspost Carlton LPO. who were pleasant to deal with and accepted Ayla’s ‘biometrics-styled’ photo.