The threat on National Security by my Toddler

I have come to the point that I cannot wait for a computer chip to be inserted into the brain of my children and we can get rid of passports and the like.

This is not because I particularly like the idea of Big Brother watching them all the time — I am a big defender of personal freedom…. but I just cannot deal with having to spend another minute in a government office sorting out passports and social security or anything else, especially with an overheated, overtired toddler squirming in my arms.

The regulations for passports in France have gotten to the point of an absurd comedy. The entire team in my local passport office spent a whole half an hour debating if they could accept the photo of my daughter as she had her mouth slightly open. She got off on the technicality that you could not see her teeth, because, in fact, she does not have any teeth! They then spent another half an hour trying to override the automated computer system what was rejecting the darn photo as my toddler had a shadow under her chin. The fact that she has no neck, being a toddler, means there is always going to be a shadow… but this exception had not been programmed into the computer.

I think security measures are getting insane. I understand the need for national security but a little bit of common sense needs to be applied! My little toddler is not going to get up to much mischief…. though her mother might if, she ever has to deal with the French passport people again!

Is this only a French thing or are all countries getting this ridged?

- Emilie


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8 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Courtney | June 20, 2009 | Reply

It’s just as bad for American passports. When we tried to get Quin’s passport photo taken, we spent over an hour in Snappy Snaps trying to make sure he was looking directly at the camera, and there was the perfect amount of white background space around his head. We walked out of there with a photo of him that made him look like a big, fat, football player on drugs. It didn’t look like him at all — but at least the white space around his head was proportionate!

Now… for the British Passport, it’s much, much easier. You can even take a photo at home and just crop it. The regulations seem to be much more relaxed.

2. fleur | June 21, 2009 | Reply

I could barely stop myself from doubling over with laughter when we were getting our little one’s first passport (dutch) – they demanded that we put her length in centimetres on the application. Not having a ruler to hand whilst we waited in the queue (!!!) we plucked a number out of the air and hoped for the best. since it’s a baby’s full time job to grow i can’t believe that their length in cm’s is in anyway useful… unsurprisingly i haven’t yet been stopped at any border because she doesn’t match the length on her passport!

3. Esther | June 21, 2009 | Reply

When we needed a passport for Pim when he was 2 months old I had to go back to the Dutch embassy THREE times because the picture was not perfect. crazy!

4. maria | June 21, 2009 | Reply

Don’t get me started on Italian passports, as we all know it doesn’t get much worse than Italian red tape. I am in the process of renewing mine and had to go through the whole process again because of the new chip system. Only I had to replace my photoes because the ones I had were a little too small. Thankfully my sons’ were fine as I had a photographer taking the shots rather than one of those passport machines! After I went through the process of adding my son to my passport, they told me he will actually need his own passport to travel to the US. I replied he has a British passport for that and they were deeply disppointed!

5. Katherine | June 22, 2009 | Reply

I got an American and French passport for my son a few weeks after his birth. It took us 45 minutes to get the US passport photo because my son did not want to wake-up and his eyes had to be open for the photo. This, however, was the only problem we encountered for the US. The French passport photo is another story. Because the French passport requires a certain amount of white space on either side of the face and exact measurements pertaining to the eye to eye, chin to forehead ratio, my son’s head was distorted to fit regulations. He looks like an alien. This will not be a souvenir passport. We are considering applying for another one just so we will not have to show this photo again.

6. Celine Padestres | June 23, 2009 | Reply

Little bad luck and some lack of information for Emilie.
I’ve got the French Passport for my two babies at Mairie du 14eme Paris and I did not have any problem with the photos.
I have gone to a professional boutique (differents ones each time) that have taken the photos knowing the gov contraints and that’s all. Photos are nice and right.
Then for the third passport when my older have to renew we have gone to “photomaton” and that was OK.
Be care of Chip, it is nowadays inside the passport and body is not far away…

7. Natalie | July 3, 2009 | Reply

Afraid it’s a similar situation in Australia. When I had to get a passport photo for Little C when he was just three months old I had to abide by a strict set of rules about how he must look in the photo. He had to be staring straight ahead, not smiling, he couldn’t cover his face in anyway and a whole host of other silly rules. He was a newborn. Just to get him to stay still was virtually impossible for the photo and now when I look at his passport I laugh because he looks like a criminal in jail.

8. Kristy Disch | January 7, 2010 | Reply

I noticed the same thing returning from Paris to London on Eurostar. It took 20+ minutes to fill out paperwork and examine our passports for each of my three daughters…Meanwhile my 3 year old squirmed out of my lap and tried to break free through the security ropes. Not a great experience for us.