Friday, 5 February 2010

Identity might be cheap... to some

Going overseas requires proper passports, this is to do with the establishment of identity. Indeed the peculiar issue of the status of marriage certificates (see here) is exactly about this issue; though it is to be noted that even though Marriage Celebrants (such as myself) will now be issuing certificates that are numbered, these will not be "official" and couples will still be required to purchase an evidentiary certificate from the registrar. This is also the case with birth certificates, at least in SA, new-borns although registered are only ever given an 'extract' and a full certificate also needs to be 'purchased'.
As only full certificates are acceptable means of proof one wonders why they are not issued instead of these non-acceptable means. Why are you required to pay an extra $30-$60 for a document that, in reality, everyone is required to have?
Don't get me wrong I think we should have legitimate and authenticated certificates of birth and marriage, it has long concerned me that the process of registering marriages is far too loose. I wonder how many people have found out years after they were married that some hiccup has occurred (like the documents were lost in the mail, or the envelope never got posted) and the marriage was never fully registered. No receipt or counterfoil, for example, is issued to either celebrant or bride and groom to say that the official lodgement process was completed. I have at least on one occasion found forms that I thought I had posted off a couple of weeks later (I now make a point of posting off forms on my way home from the wedding).
Passports, too, that are lost or stolen will now cost at least an extra $50 (on top of the application fee) to replace.
Identity is a costly business.

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