I have already told you how long it took for our marriage to be registered in Switzerland in my original The Swiss (In)efficiency post. This time I discovered that we physically had to go to the consulate simply to renew Second Daughter’s identity card.
As obtaining a new passport entails having your fingerprints scanned nowadays, I totally understand that there is no other way than a visit, really (for the moment at least!). But an ID card? This could be done in a much more practical way. We had to bring with us a long list of documents and official papers, but nothing that could not have been copied and sent through the post together with the expired ID card and the necessary photo. And it would not be that difficult to provide an on-line ordering form that the person can fill in, print and sign, right? You can then imagine either electronic payment facilities or a bank transfer at the time of the order. This method could of course be applied to other official documents that you might need to order at some point in your life. But no, you have to get in your car or on the train (in our case, the consulate is about an hour away from our home) and waste at least half a day on such a standard procedure. Not to mention that it makes the new identity card quite pricey.
We had of course made an appointment, so we got there with Second Daughter and announced ourselves at the door before being buzzed in. The consulate was empty. Still, we had to take a number and wait five minutes before being called to the counter. I thought this was really funny!
The whole process took quite a while, but the lady was very friendly and to be fair, although we were told it would take two to three weeks for the new identity card to come through the post, it arrived a week later. Also, Second Daughter and I turned into a day out what originally was a hassle, having lunch together on a nice sunny terrace and doing a spot of shopping, so it was quite nice in the end.
I am however curious to see if next time we need an official document the system will be less archaic? What are your experiences? Is it the same in every country?