How You’ll Get Screwed by the T&T National ID Process
You’ve heard the rumors. Public hospitals might not freely treat nationals without it. You’ve witnessed its power to change governments. Voting is tied to its registration process. You’ve experienced its utility. It can help you purchase insurance and even secure a job. The “it” of course is the National ID Card.
You may not have one because you never saw the need for it. Now, times are different. Times are uneasy. You feel anxious. You think that having this will make things a bit easier. Maybe you’re itching to punish elected officials at the next elections due to their growing laundry list of misdeeds. Either way, you decide to get one.
Here’s where you get screwed. Even if you wrap your mind around why there are so few registration offices, jump through the hoops at work to apply for a precious personal day, brave the volatile rainy season in a mini-maxi (with malfunctioning windows), reach there, get your bottom onto one of the scant seats, and stave off the sheer mind-numbness of the hour-plus wait, you stand a huge risk of being turned away. Why?
The information provided to the public is WRONG!
Take a look at the following screenshots. The first comes from the ttconnect website, which walks you through the documents you’ll need to provide.
Note that passports are not required for citizens born within the country. Now consider the Elections and Boundaries Commission website.
Again, there’s no mention of a passport for citizens born in T&T. In fact, as you’ll see below, this is also only required for citizens born outside of the country.
You read that and think you’re fine. Born within the country? Check. Have an original birth certificate? Check. Have a copy of the birth certificate? Check and check. You’re ready to get that ID card. Except for one thing…
For reasons that have not been explained — though it likely has to do with reviewing recent travels — a passport and a copy of its information page are also required to obtain your National ID.
It’s not just the websites that are wrong. You can even phone in and there is still a high possibility you will not be told about the need for a passport. Instead, you’ll have found yourself wasting anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire day. Even if you live close enough to return home for your passport, you’ll face starting over at the back of the queue.
Citizens of T&T — regardless of what you read on national sites or are told over the phone, don’t take any chances when applying for your ID card. Bring your passport.
Have your own bad experiences? Let me know below.
Update: While the below does appear on the EBC website…
…it raises the following questions. First, what is a “considerable period of time?” Are we talking a two week trip taken once every other year, a one month trip taken five years ago, or citizens who have actually lived abroad? Additionally, numerous individuals were never asked the question of whether they had spent “considerable time” outside of T&T. They were just told that a passport was required. And even if individuals were asked that question, how would the office verify their statements without needing to check their passports regardless? I leave you with these questions.
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