Passport – of course, I collect them and every Brit has to have one if they put a foot out of Britain. As I have said before, why have a simple solution when you can do it complicated. Britain has been talking about a simple identity card as a solution and most other European countries do not even think about it, they just do it. The little plastic identity card on the left gets me all over Europe. If I want to travel further, then I have to use my passport, but which one? I often wonder why the photos make you look like a criminal.
That is a very good question. When I entered Switzerland in 1966 I did it all on my British Passport, because that was the only one I had. I would go annually to the British Embassy in Zürich to register. There was no law to register, but if Switzerland were involved in a major international crisis, the Brits would know I was there and get me out. Switzerland being a neutral country, this would hardly be the case, but you never know. On the right is the back page of my original British passport with the registration stamps. The bottom stamp is very special. On 6th December, 1966 I entered Switzerland on my work permit to stay. I had to break the journey in Basel on the border to report to the health authorities for a medical examination. I had to have an x-ray of the chest and a blood test. After a wait of two hours I had to report back for the results. If they were OK, they let me in. There were a few dramas at the border exminations where the results were not as they should have been, but I could travel further from Basel to Zürich.
The blue british passport on the left in the photo is obsolete. It is an original 100% british passport. The Brits joined the EU and we were issued with the british version of the European Union passports – at the bottom on the right. And now after the Brexit episode they will most like have yet another new version of the british passport. My british passport is no longer valid since last year, and I do not intend to renew it.
In the meanwhile I met Mr. Swiss and on the day of my civil marriage I did not only get a husband, but Swiss nationality. This was way back in 1968 and a few years later a new law was passed in Switzerland that just marrying a Swiss was not enough. I do not know the exact details, but I believe you can apply for Swiss citizenship a few years later. There were too many of us only marrying a Swiss to get the passport. Me? No never, the Swiss passport was not a pretty as the British passport, but it did simplify matters living in Switzerland. I no longer needed a work permit, I was Swiss.
I have now divulged enough secrets of my private life, with the documents concerned. Of course no-one discovered that I was actually an undercover agent for the British secret service, but you do not have to know everything. I had to be careful not to get my documents mixed up, as they all had a different name according to the mission I was working on. I told Mr. Swiss I was visiting my realtives in Britain on my various journeys: little did he know about my secret second life.