UNIT 84 Bureaucracy

A A What is it?
Bureaucracy refers to official systems with rules and procedures used by officials [bureaucrats] in an organization or a government. For many people it is a negative word, because it often means unnecessary rules, waiting in long lines, and lots of documents and forms.

B Documents
When you need to obtain [get] or show documents, it is important that you know the names of them. Here are some important documents:

passport: official identification that allows you to leave your country and enter others
driver's license: the official document that permits you to drive on public roads
visa: gives you permission to enter, pass through, or leave a country
certificates: official pieces of paper stating certain facts, e.g.,
a birth certificate gives facts about your birth; a marriage certificate states that two people are married

Officials often check [look at and examine] your documents, e.g., the police may check your driver's license; customs officials may check your passport. Sometimes you will be asked for identification/ID [any document that shows who you are; usually a driver's license or passport is adequate for identification].

Some documents are for a fixed period of time, e.g., a visa may be for six months. At the end of that time, your visa runs out / expires [it finishes / comes to an end]. If you want to stay in the country, you must renew it [get a new one for a further period of time]. You can renew a visa, a passport, a membership card for a club, etc.

C Forms
Sometimes you need to fill in / fill out forms [write in information in the spaces].

landing card: a form you may have to fill out when you enter another country
registration form: a form you often fill in when you take a course or go to school
application form: a form to write details about yourself, often when applying for
a job, for a credit card, for admission to a school, etc.
income tax forms: forms you must fill out when you pay your income taxes
With almost all forms, you will need to sign them [write your signature], e.g.:

D Formal language
Forms often ask for the following information:

date of birth (When were you born?)
country of origin (Where do you come from?)
sex (Are you male or female?)
marital status (Are you single or married?)
date of arrival/departure (When did you arrive/leave?)