Monday, January 08, 2007

come & get it

Travelling back & forth to Bermuda makes me wonder how Bermudians are treated when they enter their homeland. Surely their documents are not scrutinized as ours are & most are allowed through customs without being searched. Not so.

Bermudians don't actually have a Bermudian passport. Since Bermuda is a self- governing British overseas territory & not an independent country, the passport issued to it's citizens is a UK passport. Nowhere does it say that they are Bermudian unless they make a trip to Immigration to have their Bermudian status 'stamped' on one of the inside pages. In order to complete this validation, every Bermudian should technically be on the government Registry. If not, then entails a lengthy process of having to prove that both or either one parent of the applicant is Bermudian. A Bermudian co-worker told me that while his passport is Bermudian certified, it does not look authentic enough to him. So much so that his passport is scrutinized by Immigration practically every time he enters Bermuda. Apparently the stamp must not look authentic enough to Immigration themselves.

Previously, Canadians & Bermudians were able to travel to America sans passport. All they required was a citizenship card or a drivers license. But we're in the post 9/11 era & America has just changed their rules to toughen up. Fair enough given 9/11. Canadians & Bermudians now need to have their passports in tow when travelling to the U.S. More specifically Bermudians need to have their UK passports stamped with the customary Bermudian status. Well, apparently this has created chaos at Immigration in the past month. Thousands & I mean thousands, more or less 30,0000 Bermudians are scrambling to get their passports appropriately stamped. But some are having to go through the extended ordeal of discovering that their names are not & never have been on the Registry & so are having to prove that they are Bermudian. Imagine the stress & the frustrations of having to wait in line at Immigration to get through additional red tape. And while the staff at Immigration are doing their damnedest, they are understaffed relative to Bermuda's population size.

Wouldn't it be so much easier if Bermuda were to issue it's own passport? No stamp required. No hassles of any sort to be endured when new rules of other countries are implemented. No frustrations. No more drama than necessary. Sure, it may end up costing an extra buck or two but seriously wouldn't it save on a whole lot of everything else ?


Bruno Panetta said...

Actually this is not true. Bermuda is not part of the UK, it's a British Overseas Territory with a separate citizenship. Bermudians are Bermudian citizens and British citizens as well, which means they can get a Bermudian or a UK passport, should they want to. UK citizens on the other hand have no access to Bermudian citizenship and must get a work permit if they want to work in Bermuda. A Bermudian passport looks like this, and a British passport looks like this.

Ms. Cute Pants said...

Hello Bruno,
Thank you for your comments. While I did point out that Bermuda is a UK Territory & I actually forgot to mention that UK citizens did not have Bermudian rights like Bermudians do in the UK (so thank you for mentioning that). But when I asked a couple of Bermudians they explicitly stated that there is no such thing as a Bermudian passport. It's a British Passport, they said, & it may say Government of Bermuda on it, would still require the Bermuda status stamp.