Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Forms, forms, forms

Okay, after having filled in literally kazillions of forms since my arrival in the UK, I had to fill in two more today. (Actually, I filled in about five, but I’m only going to talk about two.) Since the government runs the healthcare over here, UK travellers to other countries in Europe have to carry a special form in case they need emergency medical care. The form you carry is called an E-111 and has to be approved by the Post Office. (You just have to find a post office that stocks the E-111 forms…several times, I’ve seen signs saying the Post Office was currently out of E-111 forms. Imagine…a government office out of forms. It must feel rather unsettling.)

(As a side note, from what I gather, the Post Office serves as a general catch-all government forms repository. You can get travel insurance, fill in passport applications, pay your car tax, exchange money, but stationary supplies, and get your medical forms approved. On good days, you can even buy stamps.)

Rather than risk the Post Office being out of E-111 forms, I downloaded one from the Internet. I also downloaded the application form for the E-111 form. I filled out the application for the E-111 and then I filled out the E-111 (after messing it up once and having to reprint one and walk to the next building to get it from the printer).

After my copious experiences filling out forms and trying to get things approved, I made certain I was ready for this one. I didn’t want to Post Office lady to deny my E-111 on the grounds that I had an American accent and therefore wasn’t entitled to an E-111 form. (I am entitled to one…I’m a maths teacher.) I headed to the Post Office with my E-111 form (carefully printed on white, high quality paper in accordance with the instructions), my application for an E-111 form, my passport, my original work permit, my letter saying my work permit has been extended for 36 months, and an original letter form my school saying I was employed there.

After only six minutes in the queue (that in itself is amazing), I reached the window. I handed her my application form and my E-111. She asked me one question (was I planning on moving in the next 12 months?) and stamped my form. Ten minutes from when I entered the Post Office I was leaving with my virtually unquestioned E-111 approved and in my hand.

I’m still amazed.


Post a Comment

<< Home