Last Thursday at around 10am, my dad turned up at the office I work at. Having planned that we’d go to apply for my citizenship two days before, I knew he’d be coming at some point that day.
We had all the documents that were needed except my birth certificate, or at least that’s what I thought. Little did I know what was in store, it was 11.30am when we left the office and drove to the nearest and affordable photographers to have my photos taken. Four passport sized photos cost 15 Turkish Liras; my dad had paid 30 TL at another photographer’s last year! Mine works out at about £5 in English currency, but when you start living out here the conversion slowly begins to dissolve.
The next stop was the Interior Ministry office, yet I still didn’t have my birth certificate with me. We drove round in circles a few times because the road we could have taken was closed; teachers were protesting at a school there. It had reached noon when we arrived, up three flights of stairs and we found the room we needed.
I explained that I wanted to apply for a TRNC identity card; we were then sent to another room as I was born in London. The man there told us we needed my birth certificate, both of my parent’s identity card photocopies and their marriage certificate.
As we left to meet a family friend who had brought my birth certificate, I was shocked as was my dad to see a car blocking us from leaving. The driver had parked horizontally in front of ours and another person’s car, the funny thing was that there were several spaces that could have been parked in. Half an hour later, a man and woman came strolling down the steps like there was no tomorrow! I had a right go at them; they’d wasted our time and been very inconsiderate.
Three hours later, we were back there, this time with my birth certificate and the other documents (found in their archives may I add) and speaking to a lady in the same office. She was adamant that she couldn’t accept my birth certificate, it was a photocopy and not full size, there was no way she could allow me to fill the forms in.
After speaking to the supervisor there, we were told the same thing and that it must be original. We went back to the lady where I asked for a list of the all the documents needed, she wrote them all down and said she’d happily help me when I have them. It was 4pm by the time we got back to the office, almost a whole shift wasted and nothing!
The next day, despite having the original copy we were back there, this time a close friend of a relative was going to help us out. He spoke to his supervisor who said they would allow these documents and I should be able to make the application. It was now the third time we were back there and surprise, surprise, still nothing! An original birth certificate (hard copy) or you can forget it.
It’ll be a week since then when this is published and I’ll still be a ‘tourist’. Anyone would think you’re trying take out a British Passport or Visa and I can assure you, even that’s simpler.
For now, I’m waiting for my original hard copy birth certificate to be sent out so I can apply for my identity card. Let’s hope it doesn’t take till Christmas…