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December 20th 2006
Published: December 21st 2006
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Currently our passports are with the Indian Consulate in Coburg, Due for collection on the 4th of January, and we fly out on the 6th. Nothing like cutting it fine. But it’s not our fault - I blame the Irish …

The joys of dual citizenship (apart from the joyous privilege of voting in both countries), means that you have a choice of passports from which to travel on according to the preference of the day. Now my preference was always to travel on my NZ passport as I identify with being a kiwi first and foremost, and hold dear to that funny accent, amidst the “fush and chups” taunts. And as my 2005 trip to Fiji proved, identifying as an aussie was a somewhat tricky concept. I’d taken my Aussie passport for it’s virgin trip abroad but I had trouble remembering that I was infact an Australian for this trip and kept writing “New Zealander” on all the official forms, causing a wave of confusion in resorts across the Yasawas. Despite this, I had decided that for the ease of obtaining pre-departure visas I would be an Australian for this trip, and travel on one passport only to avoid the dodgy missing entry/exit stamps that switching between passports would entail.

However I soon discovered that being an Aussie for the purposes of an Irish working holiday visa had certain disadvantages, namely a three month working restriction with any one employer. The New Zealanders had obviously negotiated a better reciprocal deal and no such limit applied for Kiwi working holidaymakers, and kiwis are free to work out the whole year with the one employer if you so choose.

So back to being a “kiwi” it is (she says with elated glee!).

However, you can’t apply for an Irish visa in Australia on a NZ passport - they absolutely have to be sent to Auckland for issuing since the Irish Consulates here do not have the capacity to handle non-Australian passports. Send your passport to a family member in NZ and have them send it in for you I was told by the helpful staff at the Auckland Consulate. They also don’t post passports over international borders - so you have to arrange a friend or family member to receive it back and then on-post it, lengthening the process somewhat.

Now this wouldn’t normally be a problem when you have family in NZ who can all of this running around for you. The trouble is, my mum lives in London and my brother dropped out of civilization to camp on the Great Barrier Island at about the same time the drama unfolded. Time to call in the big guns … a phonecall and frantic e-mails to my Aunty and Uncle who dutifully agreed to undertake the mission. Thanks Russell and Jill, my passport arrived safely - just in time to be whisked off to the Indian Consulate.

Off Dave trotted to the Indian Consulate armed with passports and application forms. Simple process … or so we thought. The application forms we’d filled in were the wrong ones. The Melbourne consulate has different form to the Sydney consulate - they have the exact same questions but they’re laid out differently on the form. So several new forms, phonecalls between us, and a couple of hours later, the passports were successfully lodged. With a $15 surcharge for issuing my visa on a non-Australian passport!

So providing there’s enough staff on over the Christmas / New years period we’ll pick them up on the 4th, just in time for our farewell party!

- Suz


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