The biometric chip in my passport is broken: A free verse, slam poetry-esque rant by Flo

Yes, in the interests of accuracy, this is a photo of my actual passport even though it could just have easily been a stock photo.

The biometric chip in my passport is broken.
Or rather, the biometric chip in my passport is half-broken.
Although, I’m not sure broken is the correct term since it has never worked.
Not since the day my passport was issued
Which, by the way,
Was in 2012,
Before I turned eighteen:
The age you have to be for an epassort with a biometric chip to work.
I feel like that might have something to do with it.

While this doesn’t bother me on a day to day basis,
It makes any international journey excruciatingly irritating.
Which, as someone with a life in one country and a family in another,
Happens often.
I arrive at the gate and my passport is accepted by the first machine.
They point me to the ePassport gates:
“The biometric chip in my passport is broken” I say.
“If it worked here it’ll work there” they reply.
This is because my chip is only half-broken.
My Dad’s passport works every time on both machines.
My Mum broke hers and it works never,
but mine is half broken so I get the worst of both worlds.

I place the passport in the machine:
“Error. Please wait. Veuillez patienter. Erreur.”
“It does this every time, the biometric chip in my passport is broken” I say to the attendant.
“Oh no just try it on another machine they’re temperamental sometimes”.
I humour them and try, but I wonder why the machines are never temperamental on anyone else’s passport.
Only on mine.
Every time.
That sounds more like a sentient machine programmed to exact revenge on me than a temperamental system, if I’m perfectly honest.
Or maybe it’s because the biometric chip in my passport is broken?
I don’t know.
It’s just a theory.

So I go to the non-eu passports and confused chinese families wonder why I’m skipping the line.
Only to be told:
“Oh the biometric chip in your passport is broken. You should’ve queued up here from the start.”
Is it now?
I had no idea.

Now I could just replace my passport but that costs nearly 75 quid and the passport still has five good years on it.
Also I want to keep a GB/EU passport as long as possible.
Also I like the photo in this one and I don’t want to have to find my deed poll again to justify my name when I renew my passport.
Furthermore I may have a French passport within the next few years.
Although that will probably also require my deed poll, and my grandparents blood types while we’re at it.
In fact, I think I could apply for it now But you need two years of higher education and I don’t know if that means two years of consecutive successful higher education or bac+2.
One I have, the other I don’t
And the website is unclear.
Or maybe i’m not understanding the nuance of the French,
In which case my naturalisation demand is somewhat laughable.
If it’s bac+2 I could do the paperwork tomorrow and have a passport surprisingly soon
And I could travel with that passport,
Which won’t have a broken biometric chip in it.
We live in hope.

But if it’s two consecutive years I won’t have that ’til next summer.
And at that point I may as well wait another year and apply at the 5 year residence mark, which is less likely to be rejected.
But article 50 has been triggered already and waiting the full five years would leave me in France with a non-EU passport for a full six months.
Which seems like a situation I would rather avoid.
So whatever happens I probably have at least another year using this passport. The one that has a broken biometric chip in it.
And quoi qu’il en soit politiquement,
It’s a pain in the arse.



When you walk out into the future you will undeniably be walking on shaky ground.


I’ve noticed with a creeping, growing sense of irony, that I have been waiting to start my new, shiny united blog until I had confirmation that my two previous blog subjects were going to be united (namely, that my cinema blog and my education blog would meet in the middle as I head off to study cinema). Recent developments, that would make even the most experienced of red tape warriors cry, (including a situation where I had to provide a piece of paper I never had, due to a previous series of poorly-planned decisions), have brought home to me that this might not be something that happens.

In a clumsy segue, my country just pulled a shock move and voted to leave the European Union. I am a British student living in Paris. That’s the most technical definition, but I am also European, English and the daughter of an immigrant. Until this morning none of these identities seemed to be a contradiction in terms. There’s talk of an independent Scotland, an independent London, and a re-unified Ireland. We have no Prime Minister, potentially no leader of the opposition, and no unity.

Everything is up in the air but we have to keep moving until it hits the ground.

I’ll check in if anything happens.