The First Comprehensive Edition
( written by Zia holder)
STEP 1: Gird your loins. The next couple of months are a strong indication of whether or not you will survive the apocalypse.
STEP 2: Visit the official High Commission of T&T, London website at https://foreign.gov.tt/missions-consuls/tt-missions-abroad/diplomatic-missions/high-commission-london-united-kingdom/ You will be doing your renewal from this location. You may think that perhaps, using one of our consular divisions or High Commissions in China or India is a good idea because they are closer, and will cut back on fees, shipping times etc. This is NOT the case. AVOID these outposts at all costs.
STEP 3: Scroll down the homepage to find the Immigration Services section and there you will find links to the instructions and forms you need and a list of fees for the services you would like to use. There is a special fee of £58 that is listed for an expedited passport renewal, I suggest you just go ahead and take that option as it will actually speed up the bureaucratic part of the process.
STEP 4: Go ahead and call the High Commission’s offices during the Immigration Services business hours at 01-144207-245-9351 OR 01-144-207-201-9650, explain what you need to do, where you live and then ask to speak to someone in the Immigration Division. This is an important step as, instead of having the generic email for the immigration division (which they NEVER check), you can now get the name and email of a current officer who can be your point of contact. Even if they are all busy, ask the receptionist or operator for the email address of an officer, they will oblige, especially if you stress that you are calling from the wilds of Asia. Immigration Services is open from Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (CLEARLY your typical Government timing)
STEP 5: Get started on procuring you International Money Order for your application. The High Commission does not do business with Citibank of any country, so please make sure that your bank does not draw their IMO on Citibank Tokyo. You CANNOT get an International Money order from any ragedy Japan Post bank, they don’t even have a form for GBP. Go to one of the big commercial banks, it will take a full business week to get issued, so do this early in the game. You CANNOT use a Western Union or Money Gram order for this procedure, this ain’t no ratchifee operation.
STEP 6: Complete your application form and collect all the supporting documents. They say in the instructions that your application form should be printed on Legal –sized paper, but that size of paper doesn’t exist in Japan, so don’t fret. Just print on A4 and you’re good to go.
STEP 7: Make copies of your Japanese, American and any other visa pages AND biodata page in your old passport. You should already have these on you anyway. You will need to mail a copy of your biodata page with your application.
STEP 8: Mail you application packet ONLY AFTER you have emailed your contact with a scan or picture of your completed forms and they give you the go ahead. They will tell you if your picture is wonky, or your signature is too light, or if your crapaud foot handwriting is illegible. I used JP Post to mail mine, don’t even worry about FedEx at this point, save money on this part.
STEP 9: NOW you should worry about FedEx. While you are waiting on your application to be processed, get started on your plan of action for the pickup and delivery of your freshly minted passport. You will receive a document from the London HC that tells you how the pickup procedure goes. You must courier your old passport to them with a return airway bill inside the envelope; they will then send both the old and new passports back to you hunkey dorey. FedEx is the only service that can do this procedure from Japan. In order to include a return airway bill, you must get a FedEx account number, this is how it works, don’t ask me why, just do it. Japan is the one of the only countries that issues FedEx account numbers to individuals (they are usually only issued to companies) because it is the only way an international return airway bill can be made from here. To get an account number you MUST call 0120-003200 (English support is available 24/7). It cannot be done online at FedEx.com . The CSR will then email you a form and it will take a couple days max to issue you an account number and they will then ask for a credit card to verify payment. Go ahead and make your account on FedEx.com with this number.
STEP 10: Here is where things get tricky… When your contact tells you that your passport is ready, FedEx your old one to them with a return airway bill that you have printed DIRECTLY from FedEx.com . If you fill out a return airwaybill by hand, the T&T HC will reject it. You have to complete the shipping request online, print the airwaybill with barcode and include it in the envelope. When they have received your package, they will email you to say so and you must go online to FedEx.com AGAIN to then request a pickup of your package from their location for mailing. (They will not do it for you… it does not happen automatically… nobody told me this… I am bitter… can you tell?)
FINALLY: You should receive your old and new passports at your doorstep. If you follow all the steps correctly, it should take you about 1 and 1/2 months for everything to be completed. If you fumble at any point, maybe it will take three. I dunno, don’t quote me on these estimates. In fact, forget I even said anything about time.
High Commission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, London
Address: 42 Belgrave Square
London, SW1X 8NT
Phone: 01-144207-245-9351| 01-144-207-201-9650
Immigration Attaché: Mr. Sherwin Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com (Don’t… just…. Don’t even bother)