Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Long Wait. Or Permit Renewal in Switzerland.

Well, I won’t hold my breath until I actually have it in my hand, but my renewed residence permit is ready for pick-up, for a mere 199 CHF, as I was informed from a letter from our Canton yesterday. Renewing this residence permit is a yearly process for those of us from non-EU countries.

The process begins with a letter telling you to show up to your Canton’s office with a form filled out (in German) and to bring your permit and passport. This letter arrived in March (the expiration date on our permit is early May).

So in April we showed up at the office with our forms and passports and turned in our expiring permits (thank God they don’t take your passport too…) expecting our new permits to arrive in a few weeks.

Make that more like a few months. Really. Four months to be exact. (Not to mention, they had the audacity to pay for second rate postage on the letter informing us they are ready—a mere .15 cents less than first class—to extend this laborious process by another five days.) But heck, what’s the difference at this point?

Now if they would date the renewed permit August 27, 2009, that would be one thing. But no. It will be dated May 7, 2009, which gives us a mere six months until we will have to start the process all over again if we intend on staying. Talk about inefficiency. I’ve never seen a country with such efficient and reliable public transportation with such poor public paper processing. It’s really quite amazing.

So now, after months of delay, I can finally fill out some more paperwork I was given in June to be sent, along with my shiny new permit, to the Canton of Zurich to approve me to write a column for a magazine that’s been waiting on me since early June. I’m bracing myself for another long few months. But in the meantime, I'll have plenty of time to write.

The fun times of Swiss living to be continued…

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