Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Applying for babies British passport in Oman

This post is aimed to the British parents who have given birth in Oman and now need to start the long process of trying to apply for birth certificates and a British passport for their little Cherub.
Right from the start I will wish you luck, this is not a quick or an easy process **Sigh**

Do not plan to travel with your baby right after their birth, this process can take a good couple of months, sometimes more, from start to finish.

*~These details are correct as of March 2014 and may be subject to change at any time from either country. Contact your local embassy or Google for any changes. I am speaking about my personal situation - Two British parents, Married in the UK, Gave birth in Oman - different nationalities will differ on what is required from them~*

Maybe get yourself a cuppa and then we shall we begin...

Step One, Your Marriage Certificate-

This is an errand that can be done ahead of your babies birth to save time and hassle. In Oman you must be married to be legally allowed to give birth & you must have your marriage certificate with you to prove your marriage.
This certificate must be attested/legalised/verified/apostille stamped or whatever you want to call it. Basically it needs a stamp or a separate piece of paper attached to it to say that it is a legal document and all the details are correct. Mine hadn't been attested, I didn't even know what that was, so I had to send it to the UK to be completed.

This is the link for the online form:

The document should be couriered to the UK yourself via DHL/Fed Ex or any reputable firm. Be sure to keep the tracking number as you don't want to loose your marriage certificate. The cost to process the request is £30 and for them to return to you by courier is and additional £25. It took around 2-3 weeks to process mine.

Total cost £55 / 35OMR

Step Two, Notification of Birth from Hospital-

When you are discharged from the hospital with your little bundle of joy your hospital should provide you with a 'Notification of Birth' form to confirm the details of your babies birth. This includes details of the Mother, Father, passport numbers etc. Ensure that these details are all correct before you leave the hospital. It took a long time to have mine redone after I accepted the form and later realised an error. My form said that I was from the British Virgin Islands and not Great Britain.

This is not a birth certificate, just the hospital confirming that you did indeed give birth to a baby in their hospital.

Step Three, Obtaining a local birth certificate-

This is a job for the Daddies, apparently the Mother cannot complete this task - phew!

You will need:
- Copies & original of both parents passports, including the visa page
- Copies and original of both parents residents cards
- Copy of marriage certificate, although the original might be helpful it is not specified
- Notification of birth form that your hospital provided

The Daddies need to go to the Ministry buildings across the highway from the airport (currently still the main airport, not the fancy new one being built). It is the same location that you visit to obtain your residents card.
This step literally can take hours and you may be shunted back and forward from desk to desk, be prepared to spend at least a couple of hours doing this. If possible you might want to bring your companies representative (PRO) to speed things along and pull a bit of Wasta.
A word of warning, a friends husband was sent home to change when he turned up wearing shorts so dress respectfully and it may just help you.

You will be given both an English & Arabic copy of the local birth certificate. If possible ask for copies of these as I have heard it can be a right ball ache to get copies in the future. Your certificates will probably be laminated for some reason, that seems to be the norm here.

Step Four, Registering the birth at British Embassy-

You then need to register your babies birth with the British embassy which will then allow you to obtain a British birth registration form, the next best thing to a British birth certificate. You will get a letter confirming that your baby has indeed been registered in their books.

Before visiting the embassy you first fill in the online form found here:

Print out the form, fill it in and schedule an appointment online to visit the Embassy. Appointments are currently available on Mondays and Wednesdays and the form will take around 1 week to be completed so you need to visit the next week also.

Birth registration confirmation £110/70.500 OMR
Certified copy (like a birth certificate) £68/44OMR

Total - £233 / 114.500 OMR

Step Five, Apply for passport online-

**This step can be done as soon as you have a local birth certificate. You do not have to wait for your embassy registration forms to be returned but for the sake of a week it may be better to send everything away at the same time**

Visit the UK goverment website to start applying for the passport online.

  • Follow their instructions to fill in the application.
  • Include two pictures of baby on a white background. Many photo shops here have blue backgrounds but they can change at your request.
  • Have the form countersigned as per instructions. This was a step that I did not expect but thankfully found someone who knew us and was able to do so.
  • Send your application by reputable courier and keep tracking number

Current price £101.36 / 65OMR

Step six, Sit and wait-

Depending on the time of year it can take around 8 weeks for a passport application to be completed and returned to you. Keep that in mind when planning your holidays.

Total cost - £389 / 251OMR - The whole process is pretty pricey and worth checking if your employer/sponser covers any of the cost to help.

My application has been processing for just over 3 weeks now and the status online still shows "processing". Fingers crossed it doesn't take much longer!

The next step after this will be adding the baby and their new passport to your family visa. I haven't personally got to this step yet so I have no lead time on how long it might take.

This is a long and confusing process but hopefully this has helped some of you. Good luck!

Blog under construction

Over the next few weeks the blog may look a bit higgildy piggildy as I mess about with the formats, codes and whatever else You Tube wants to teach me.

Please bear (or is it bare?!) with me as I work on making the site flow a little better. 

In the meantime if any kind soles would like to contribute or teach me anything then it would be very much appreciated.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Keeping your dog cool in the summer heat

It is only mid April and the temperatures are already pushing 40 degrees Celsius. Most of us are dreading the brutal summer heat where the mercury will be closer to the 50 mark. I wanted to just take some time to remind dog owners to take some consideration for their furry friends through these tough months.

Here are a few tips that I use on my own dog to keep her happy & healthy when it is too hot to be outside. It is worth noticing that they do not cost any money, you don't need any fancy AC units or fans just some common sense.

  • Time your walks- Early morning and later at night are obviously the cooler parts of the day when the sun is less intense therefore helping prevent sun burn and over heating.
  • Burnt Paws- The ground and sand can get really hot and stay hot for hours into the night so beware of your poor dogs paw pads burning. If you don't want to stand barefoot on the hot ground then your dog shouldn't either.
  • Dogs don't sweat- Quite an obvious point but just incase it helps one dog then it is worth pointing it out. Your dog won't sweat like a human does, instead it pants with its tongue out. A clear indication that it is hot and a warning sign for you that over heating can occur.
  • Access to fresh, cool water and plenty of it- Just like humans, your dog needs to drink more in the summer to stay hydrated. Keep the water in the shade to stop it heating up and burning their mouth.
  • Freeze treats- You can freeze toys, treats, even a flannel rolled up & soaked in water then frozen as a chew toy. I give my dog ice cubes to play with and crunch - refreshing, easy and totally free.
  • Let your dog swim- Whether it is in a swimming/paddling pool, at the beach or in a Wadi. If the water is cool enough then it is great for them, please watch out for hot springs and test the water first as it could scald. Swimming is a great way to tire them out without over exerting them.
  • Dogs die in hot cars- We must all know this saying by now but it really is true. Never leave your dog in the car, even with the windows open! They can over heat in mere minutes.
  • Yard dogs- If you have an outdoors dog then you must provide them with adequate shade and plenty of fresh water. You could possibly look into an outside kennel with a small AC system if you have the money to spend. Remember that dogs get sunburn and sunstroke just like us, we wouldn't want to be outdoors all day! 
  • Play games in the house- Me and Penny play hide and seek. I tell her to sit and stay then I hide and whistle for her so she has to come find me. Another idea is to throw a tennis ball up the stairs and have your dog run and fetch it. 

Swimming is a great way to stay cool and exersize 

Early signs of dehydration-

  • excess panting
  • weakness
  • confusion & clumsiness
  • increased salivation
  • dark red gums
  • seizures

How to cool your dog quickly-

  • Get them out of the sun and into the shade, preferably under the air conditioning
  • Give them cool water or if they can't drink themselves trickle some onto their tongue for them
  • Wet a towel to lie on it or wrap them in it
  • If these don't work then contact your local vet ASAP

Wet a towel and wrap it round your dog for a quick cool down

Penny finding the shade for a lie down

Spare a thought for the homeless dogs and cats outdoors at this time of year. If possible please leave a bowl of water in the shade for them at the very least.

Do you have any other tips on keeping your dog cool in the summer time?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Grand Hyatt Competition Winners

A couple of weeks ago the local bloggers here in Muscat were given the chance to share a great prize with their readers, a stay at the beautiful Grand Hyatt Hotel here in Muscat. You can read my previous post here.

 The winners have been announced and the details below:

Congratulations to the winners!

I noticed that both Divia and Absar Aga were entrants on my page so that is good news! Enjoy your prize guys.

Ssssshhhhh......A little birdie tells me that the next competition from the Hyatt is a lot more generous than a hotel stay but fear not as I shall keep you posted. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Babies First Swim

Okay, so what if I'm turning into one of these people that only speak about their baby. He is pretty darn sweet so I can't resist talking about my little love. Maybe one day I'll find something else to talk about..

This week at 10 weeks old it was time for Spencer's first swim. The first splash in the water must always be an apprehensive time for new parents; Will they hate it? Will I drop them? Are they going to scream blue bloody murder and embarrass us all? I prayed for the best and we headed to the Intercontinental Hotel Muscat with my friend Paula and her baby for a splash in the pool. Spencer was all kitted out with his new Finding Nemo swim wear complete with factor 50 UV protection, you are never too young to take care of your skin.

The initial splashes of cold water on Spencer's toes made him wriggle but soon he started to enjoy the bobbing in the water and Mummy singing silly songs to him in the water. For a first attempt in the pool he did very well, he didn't hate it and cry which is always a good start. Once he is old enough I will definitely have him enrolled in swim classes!

Looking a little like Mr Potato Head.. The sun hat came off for a photo to save the grimace, he just isn't a hat kind of guy.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Competition Time - Win a stay at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Muscat

The Grand Hyatt Hotel right here in Muscat is hosting the Truly Thai Food Festival from 8th-12th April with renowned chef Supattra Boonsrang coming to cook up a storm. If you love Thai food, which I certainly do, then this festival is right up your street.

To celebrate the hotel is offering a one night weekend stay for two people including breakfast at Mokha Cafe. If you are interested in winning all you have to do is post a comment on my page below answering the question and leave your email address where you can be contacted. Simples!

How much does the business lunch at the Hyatt's Tuscany restaurant cost per person?

a. RO 20
b. RO 15
c. RO 12

(A little hint for you, check out the Hyatt's website and head to the 'Events' option under News & Events)

This prize is available for three separate people so for a better chance of winning you can also enter by visiting other local blogger's sites from now until 3pm on 12th April:

- Andy in Oman
- Muscat Mutterings
- Oman Collective Intelligence
- Fat Su

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My First Mothers Day!

To all you lovely Mum's out there, especially the new mums celebrating this year, I want to wish you all a Happy Mother's Day.

I feel so fortunate to have my little Squeak here and for us to spend our first Mothers Day together. He makes my heart so full of love and I couldn't imagine our lives without him now.

Being a Mummy really is the most wonderful feeling.