Getting to Norway on a cancelled passport
“Here is it but it is cancelled”
“Well if you don’t have a valid passport then we will have to deport you”
It was October and we had just booked flights to Tromso, Norway for new years to sample how the Scandinavians celebrate the new year but more importantly to see the northern lights. I had been to Iceland before and didn’t see them so was very excited about this proposition. But in the mean time I changed jobs and was due to head on my Saudi Arabia expedition in the middle of December so I had resigned myself to forgo my flights to Norway. Between the jigs and the reels of new passports and countless visits to passport office and then getting the Saudi Arabia visa I now couldn’t go until January. Excellent!
Sh1t! My new passport is with the Saudi’s for 2 weeks and my old passport has ‘cancelled’ stamped on all pages and all four corners cut. Not sure why they do this other than to make sure it is very obvious that you can’t use it again. So again I was resigned to not going. I took no part in the final preparations for the trip and a few hours before we were due to fly a friend said ‘why not go to the airport and try it’! Feck it, I will!
Beating the System
Checked in online, through security and at the queue to board the plane. Now I knew that whatever chance I have of getting onto the plane because they fly through the boarding passes that I had very little chance at the other end in Norway’s passport control. Regardless I ploughed on, picked my victim carefully from the two boarding the passengers, covered one corner with one hand and had the other leaf twisted back to keep two cut corners out of view but not too much to draw suspicion. He was in such a rush he didn’t notice. I was on the plane. Stage 1 passed. Of course I couldn’t relax on the plane because I was so sure that I couldn’t possibly get into Norway. Eventually we were there and I deliberately waited until the back of the queue so when the inevitable scene came about nobody would be there to witness it.
My friends went ahead of me and through, I was now the last to approach the counter. Heart beating quite strongly considering I had only been standing still for the previous ten minutes. Before I go on I want to explain that I wanted to be sure that I didn’t blatantly lie. Now I know going with a cancelled passport is a type of lying but give me a break I had a valid one but it just happened to be with the Saudi Embassy in London! So with this in mind I brought my driving licence and was going to use this. So when they police said ‘what is this crap’ I would have shown them my passport and explained the story. You can kindof see my logic?
Driving licences in Ireland were/are pink pieces of paper with your photo on it and look extremely amateur. Thanks God that is changing now. I handed over my feminine paper to the old policeman with a moustache who looked at it like a dog would with his ears up and a tilted head. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. It wasn’t the same as what the other 200 passengers had given him. Between Ireland and Norway (and almost every other country) you must have a passport, no other documentation will do. He checked it under the UV light. Turned it over. Handed it back. I looked at him for probably a bit too long before heading around the side into Oslo. Bingo Bango I had made it.
For the two internal flights from Oslo to Tromso and back I used my dodgy looking Irish driving licence but because these are internal flights, any ID will do. So these went without a hitch.
Getting Deported (Sort Of)
Back in Oslo on the final flight home and happy out that I was invincible and my dastardly plan had worked. Well I didn’t really have a plan, it was more that incompetence won the day. At passport control on my final flights and this young policeman knew the rules and issued the “Well if you don’t have a valid passport then we will have to deport you”. I think I went bright red and was wondering in my head why would you deport me to Ireland when I am queuing to board a flight to Ireland. He asked me questions about where I had been etc while I was frantically looking around wondering if anybody had noticed the scene I was creating.
“I can clearly see that you are Irish from talking to you (I am not sure what I said that made it so clear) but as you are heading back to Dublin now there is no point in deporting you. If you come to Norway again, make sure you have a proper passport or you won’t be allowed in”
Like I wasn’t allowed in the last time?? Okay I said and skipped through the gate. Nobody had noticed any scene and as the plane took off the red had just about disappeared from my face.
I never did get to see the Northern lights after all as it snowed the entire time we were in Tromso but at least I know how easy it is to bypass the system! One good thing was that this trip was my inspiration for point 1 on my tips on seeing the Northern Lights.