Yesterday I had to “pop” down to the immigration office to get a copy of my resident certificate having lost the original.

By a stroke of luck I managed to get an appointment within a matter of days due to a cancellation, and despite the whole operation taking a good two hours, most of that spent standing outside keeping my social distance, the actual bureaucracy took a matter of minutes.

However, and here is the rub. The majority of the large crowd of people I was initially confronted with did not have an appointment and the security guards, later reinforced by members of the National Police, had to explain to the throng of people that the system is operating on an appointment only basis and that can be carried out on line. But, as the officials pointed out, there is a serious delay and some people may have to wait until next year for an appointment. And this applies to EU and non-EU nationals.

While many were forced to leave with their heads in their hands, a few were up for an argument but the police were having nothing of it.

But, for the many, the clock is not ticking and because of the backlog and the pandemic all IDs have an automatic extension. I didn’t ask if that applies to the British as well, but wouldn’t chance it. So, I can only echo what the Ambassador is saying and if your paperwork is not fully in order, don’t waste any more time, get on with it now.