When I returned to the Netherlands from NZ I had a few issues with reestablishing myself here. The issues were mostly of a bureaucratic nature. I had to get registered here and I had to have my Dutch drivers license re-issued. Both caused me some “say WHAT” moments. These moments though should be well and truly in the past after 8 years back you’d think.
You’d think yes. But no, clearly NZ and Dutch ways are not always compatible and I got a taste of that again. It all originates really in the Dutch rules that states; One can only hold a Dutch passport and no second citizenships. This rule has been ever so slightly modernised up over the last few years, but not enough to include the situation of holding dual NZ and Dutch citizenship for me. So I kept my Dutch passport as with it I am EU citizen with many freedoms around that and I have a NZ residence and returning resident visa. All I need to do is when I have to have my passport renewed is this returning residents visa transferred to my new passport, therefore always being current. It costs a few Euro’s but it is worth it to me. The Dutch however do it differently (and more silly IMNSHO) as I found out today.
- Me: Good morning I have come to renew my passport.
- She: Great can I have your current/old passport, your ID card and the photo required please.
- Me: Hands over all that is requested
- She: is there anything in there that needs special attention
- Me: yes there is a NZ returning residents visa in there and that needs to be kept intact for transposition at the London embassy.
- She: Ok, but there is a notification here in your passport to your old one that states you have the visa in there and that means you have to travel with both passports.
- Me dumbstruck Sorry?
- She: Yes because of this reference you cannot travel on this passport alone, you have to have your old one too.
- Me; No I don’t . I travelled to Korea, NZ and Japan on this passport and I never got asked the question
- She: Yes you do because of this note that refers to your old passport with your original visa.
- Me: No it does not. It refers to my old passport yes, but that one already had a transposed visa from the passport before this one.
- She; That is impossible
- Me; That is how it works; I get a new passport I send the lot to the embassy in London The re-issue the returning residents visa et voila back in business.
The latter four remarks go back and forth a fair few times in various forms. Obviously in increasingly terse ways as neither of us wishes to give way on OUR rules. Then she tells me that I am violating the law by not travelling with my old (and no longer valid) and new passport simultaneously.
- Me Nobody told that I needed to do that so I consider that negligence as not telling me could have resulted in major issues workwise, when travelling to Japan or Korea.
- She but that is your fault as they did tell you when your passport was issued.
- Me No they did not tell me as I would have remembered and done it regardless of the fact that I think it is wholly illogical to make it compulsory to travel with a passport which is invalidated and no longer within its valid period. I can’t legally travel on that passport, why would I need to travel with it then.
- She: well it is because your visa is in that passport. (refer back to earlier conversation part on how it works in NZ, which was repeated twice again)
By now I am starting to feel like a broken record and she clearly does not feel very comfortable with somebody telling them that NZ has a so much more pragmatic approach to passports than the Dutch do. So she get reinforcement and most of the above conversation here is repeated again, to ensure new co-worker is up to speed. The new lady then asks me where my old passport is. Uhm no clue it is not longer valid. I cannot legally travel on it, Can’t use it for identification purposes and therefore it is in fact a useless piece of paper. So it is probably somewhere in the house, but I am clueless as to where that somewhere really is. Oh and thinking about shredded may even be an acceptable answer, but I am not sure.
As I needed a new passport for business travel in the next few months I was not willing to make a new appointment ruffle up our whole office, become grouchy, and even more irritable, and probably still not finding it. In the end I ended up filing a missing passport form to get around it all. I will have my new passport next week, then it will be sent to the NZ embassy in London with payment of some hard-earned cash and my returning residents visa will be transposed or re-issued (not sure which one, that is legalese). And I will then travel with my new passport and my old- hole punched- no longer valid- not useable for identification-passport together because the Dutch government maintains that my passport needs to refer to the old returning residents visa because that is their opinion the original and the way the Dutch government maintains tractability in their passport system. Cna you just imagine. When I am retired I’d have to travel with something like 15 passports!
This bureaucratic nonsense reminds me of my drivers license saga Where it is also the Dutch that insist you can’t hold a drivers license in two countries This is why the Dutch rules to dual citizenship are the root cause of this saga. If that rule had not existed I would have had both a NZ and Dutch passport as soon as I could have had. In my heart I am from and home in both countries. And this utter nonsical rule and me having to travel with an non-valid passport would never have occurred.
I love my country, honestly I do, but really they could do with a massive dose of Kiwi pragmatism.