Monday, December 21, 2009

Brits vs Yanks

Yesterday my couriered package finally arrived from my Mum, containing the much awaited university certificates that my employer needs before I can start work. So, this I went to the British Embassy (there isn't an Aussie one here, so they do most of the stuff we need, rather than sending everything to Riyadh in Saudi) to have them attested so my visa can be processed.

I get there and go through the usual security rigomoral and given it was raining this morning and therefore really humid, upon arrival to the main gate I looked like a wet dog shaking myself off to dry. Humidity is my nemesis or kryptonite some would say, my curly hair frizzes and my face shines so brightly that I tend to reflect light for kms. Its a whole lot of fun I tell you.

Then off to the consular visa section, where they proceeded to tell me that they could only attest my Aussie degree and that I would have to take my US one to their consulate, down the road. And RO 16.5 later (AUD$45) tomorrow I should have 5 copies ready to pick up. Seriously, do they really need that long to check me out and stamp my bloody paper?

So I trek off to the US Consulate and passing the Indian Embassy it looked like something big was going down = >300 Indians on the grounds queuing and hanging around + Omani police patrolling...not sure if it was a National Day for India or if there were protests, but unfortunately in that area of town no photos are allowed. So if anyone knows what was going on, feel free to enlighten us all and leave a comment below. Cheers.

After reaching the US Consulate I went through the security rigomoral again and was sent through a big steel door and left to roam around the grounds on my own. But not before an American (we call them Yanks or Doodles, as in Yankee Doodle) woman got pissed off because she apparently had been waiting to get something notorised and yelled to the security guard "but hey, I'm an American and SHE gets to go in first?" to which I replied "Sorry but how do you know I'm not American? And I don't think it has anything to do with where I'm from, my query is probably different to yours". She shut up briefly as she was getting stared down by the guard, but then said " I can tell your not American because of your look, unless you are Hispanic"...ha. As if I haven't had that said to me before, but seriously you knew I wasn't American because of my look? Maybe it was because I don't walk like I have a carrot stuck up my a$$? I didn't say that but God I wanted to. I was just real tough and chuckled to myself instead, but loud enough for her to hear me. Real tough right?

So once I'm in I get escorted to the right area and the woman takes my certificate, leaves for 10 minutes and then comes back with 1 attested US College degree and 1 copy for my employer. And how much you ask? FREE! That's right, the Yanks did something for free, whereas the Brits try to squeeze as much time and money out of you as they can.

Now, you may wonder why I felt inclined to post about this, but the whole process irritated me. Australia is a part of the Commonwealth and therefore the Queen is our Monarch. You would think that The British Embassy would cut us a break and consider an 'us' mentality where they would help a fellow Commonwealther (I agree, thats not a word) out, in a time of need. But instead they told me to come back in 24hrs, and took my money in exchange for a whole lots of papers that I don't need. I only need 1...not 5. And whats with the charge? Where is the money going?

But it was instead the Doodles who came to my aid and regardless of whether I was an Aussie or a supposed-Hispanic (I guess I did walk in looking like I just crossed the Mexican border), they gave me what I needed with no fuss, no delay and more importantly FREE! Hooray for the Doodles :)

So far, between these people - arrogant Brit couple in our apartment block, the British woman I met @ Al Fair, and the Embassy...the Brits are severely losing the Brit vs Yank Battle.

Ok so the smart a$$ American lady was obnoxious but she can be forgiven since the US Consulate didn't charge me or make me wait for the sake of waiting.

Just another day in the sands of Oman...


  1. Not all Brits are tossers! I met one that wasn't, once, I think?

    Something that I know irritates British passport holders here is the charge to get a new passport - RO 150. The charge for a new passport in the UK? £77.50 for the regular one, or £90.50 for the jumbo 48 page one. RO 150 = £241.50.

    Co-incidentally, for the yanks, the passport is free, I believe.

  2. Hmm ok so there may be a couple of good ones out there ;) There are always some exceptions to the rule, just like not ALL Brits have bad teeth lol.

    Thats bloody outrageous! Would love to know the reason why its so expensive here to get a new UK Passport.

  3. :O - I take offence...
    As Sythe points out - am sure there are some brits that are not tossers... but then again maybe it's just the ones that have been "Saffer-arised" (naw thats not a word either...)

    ALSO - gotta admit - maybe they only made you pay because in theory you are decendent from a prisoner no??? ;)

  4. Ha ha you don't take offense Saff, you take the piss out of the ones that are tossers more than me :)

    Nice dig @ the prisoner ancestory though, touche my friend lol. its all in good fun or all fun and games...until someone loses an eye! x

  5. well, the British embassy charges Brits to authorise documents, why shouldnt they charge you?

  6. Welcome Fred :)

    I'm not saying they shouldn't charge me mate, my post was comparing them to the Yanks who didn't.

    It begs the questions: why charge the specific amount they do? Why is their policy to offer 5 copies of a document that I don't need 5 of? And why have a policy of 24hrs to collect them, when clearly the US Consulate did the same 'check and stamp' for me in <20 mins?

    Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Oh and why we are questioning a few things, perhaps you have an idea as to why they wrought their own people by charging more for UK passports here, like 2 1/2 time as Sythe points out above?

  8. This is all to do with the mentality of the British Civil Service (Not necessarily the Government) who feel it is their god given right and patriotic duty to screw every last drop of blood from the population. ("Service" is really an oxymoron in this case). Maybe if you were not a British citizen, they would attest you documents and give you unemployment benefit for free.
    Speaking of 'free' I am pretty sure that the US passport is issued at no cost which is why the most miserable bunch of immigration officials on the planet (USA) waste so much space whenever possible on everyone elses passports.
    Oh' and it was very nice to meet you last night and good luck with the new job!

  9. Delirious - because it is score-card management at a government level. The embassies are not allowed to spend large amounts of money without recouping it somehow. So they scam their citizens instead of charging at a government level. Of course, nothing is for free, even the USA stamping - it costs money to have someone sitting at that desk doing the authorisation. It's just the USA get the costs back through their horrendous worldwide tax income on expats. The UK doesnt have as much tax income.

    5 copies is probably standard, because of the number of times a single copy gets lost in the post, or required more than once. When I emigrated from the UK to Australia, the Australian government (immigration department) required 3 notarised copies with signatures and stamps of all my legal documents, which cost me a fortune because Australia required that it had to be done by the issuing country. And dont get me started on why I had to re-do them all because some twat at the Aussie DHL inexplicably managed to get them all wet (in plastic envelope?!) and so they needed to be redone, at my expense, because paperwork is not insured (because you cannot insure paperwork!).

  10. Praise the Yankees all you like UNTIL you have to apply for a US visa through Oman. The Brits won't seem so bad after all.