|Photo by hjl.|
It blows me away how things run like clockwork around here until it comes to something vital for us Auslanders. Each year we are required to apply for a new work permit. This is sort of like your get out of jail free card when you are traveling out of the country (among other things). And, lucky for me, we are going through the renewal process as we speak and we also have a trip to the States coming up in a few days. Drama just seeks me out.
A little background. Our current permits are set to expire on June 1. We got our renewal paperwork at the beginning of May. They were signed, sealed, and delivered to the Gemeinde. Then yesterday Josh's new permit shows up in the Post...but, ONLY Josh's.
So, here we are today. I am all ready for the buzzer to ring this morning when the postman shows up apologizing for misplacing an important piece of mail for us yesterday. I had actually changed out of my pajama pants...but for no reason it turns out. There was no surprise piece of mail. Which means I got to have an exciting trip to the Migrationsamt today.
I had been told at the Gemeinde that it can take up to 6 weeks for the new permit to arrive. I have also heard horror stories of it taking up to 4 months by other expats. Who are you going to believe? The expats always. Any who, the Gemeinde told me not to worry. If my new permit hadn't arrive before our trip, then we would just need to get another stamp on our visa to show it was in the works.
As you probably know by now, nothing is that straight-forward here. I was already preparing myself for that condescending look given by the person who is supposedly helping me as they tell me that this isn't possible and that I am stuck in Switzerland. Thank goodness I had the worse case scenario figured out, so when they told me that I would just have to pay CHF 90 for a travel visa, I didn't want to break the glass separating me from the little man and beat him senseless. We have already paid CHF 200 for these permits and now I have to pay more because they are slow and incompetent.
This is just another one of those expenses you can't plan for, but you should know are out there. The good thing was that at least it could be taken care of right away. Maybe it was the steam coming out of my ears or the devil-shade of red my face was turning that scared him into submission. We will never know. But, I left that Migrationsamt with my travel visa in hand and CHF 90 poorer.
For another story on the fine establishment of the immigration office, check out One Big Yodel to find out what is keeping these employees so occupied that it can take months to get a new permit. Unreal.