Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Immigration BS

Photo by hjl.
Josh said it best. "The immigration office is the bastard child of the Swiss government."

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.


  1. You can contact your Gemeinde or the immigration office to get a letter saying that your renewal is in progress. We did that last year when we hadn't received our paperwork in time for our trip back to the US.

  2. You have to be kidding. I even asked for a piece of paper stating that my permit had been extended and that I was just waiting for the card. He just looked at me like I was crazy. I feel like I am dealing with used car dealers every time I have to deal with these agencies. Unbelievable.

  3. I hear something different too, depending what "official" I ask. But the last time I inquired, I did hear that I would need a Visa.

    90 CHF is BS. Having to pay for someone else's porn obsession...uh, I mean incompetency. Give me a break.

    I think a month is a reasonable amount of time to wait for a year permit. But any longer, what is the point of making it a year permit?

  4. This is a MAJOR bummer. My husband and I have been battling work permits for YEARS! Thankfully today he received his PR so THAT is awesome, but begah, I wish the system was easier!!!


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