Monday, May 31, 2010

Why does it take so long to get your permit?

As an American in Switzerland, every year, I must renew my B-permit in order to live here legally. In 2008, it took over four months to get my permit renewed. That's a third of a year. Yes. To process one sheet of paper. Other times, it's taken two months, sometimes three. This year is still to be determined, but it's a snail's pace so far--I've already waited over a month.

Because of these amazing lengths of time, I have often wondered what exactly the Migration department in Canton Aargau does with my renewal paper.

Are they making complex origami figures with my paper and displaying it at the Kunsthaus? Are they doing experiments in dust collection? Or are they just too busy looking at porn to bother with my application for B-permit renewal?

Well, now it's official. We can blame the porn.

At least in Zurich, porn is one of the reasons given for problems with the Migration department. Zurich-based solicitor Ueli Vogel-Etienne has cataloged a list of failures on behalf of the migration department: disregard of working hours, routine circulation of porn via the department's email system, staff surfing the Internet during working hours, office workers not ever reachable during office hours. Wow. Switzerland isn't innocent, after all.

As far as I know, Canton Aargau's migration department's efficiency has yet to be investigated. But since I've already waited over a month for my permit to be renewed so far this year, I would recommend a little Aktion on Mr. Vogel-Etinenne's behalf.

After all, it just doesn't make sense that when a Swiss train is one minute late it is cause for a heart attack, but when a foreigner's piece of paper delayed for four months, it is no big deal.

How long have you waited for your permit to be renewed?


Deb said...

We submitted our paperwork for the renewed Permit B on March 11th and received them May 21st. My husband's HR Dept. was calling/nagging them and they were blaming the delay on the card processing company. Maybe they should have stuck with the old paper permits, but then who would they blame?

Chantal said...

At least last year, the cards went faster than I had experienced with the paper permits.

But then again, maybe the card company has fewer employees that look at porn.

But why do any of this at all? Shouldn't there just be some kind of online form you fill out and be done with it?

Jenna said...

We submitted our paperwork the end of November last year and did not have our new B permits when we de-registered on March 10th of this year.

Our theory is anything the Swiss have to do is lightening fast (drivers license) Anything foreigners have to do gets done when they feel like it.

The best is when our town told us that Canton ZH had forgotten to process my daughters b permit. We moved there in January and we had to get a temporary one for my 4 year old in JULY. Just Crazy!

ps - I love your blog - it makes me homesick for Zürich - and we were only there for 2 years.

Happy Memorial Day!

Chantal said...

Hi Jenna.

Thanks for reading.

And wow. Talk about impressive lengths of time.

I guess I wouldn't mind the wait if they wouldn't require me to pay MORE money for pieces of paper that state the permit is in process. I had to get one of these papers in 2006 and it cost CHF 20. Thank God I declined the coordinating envelope. Who knows how much that would have cost.

Deborah said...

We are going through this process right now. Surprisingly, my husband's new L permit showed up after only 3-weeks. However, I am still waiting on mine. Anyone ever had this happen? I know they didn't come together last year when we applied for our initial permits, but this just feels a little strange.

One other question. Has anyone traveled out of the country when their permit is expired and you are waiting for the new permit to arrive? I was told to go to the immigration office and they will stamp my visa. Any helpful hints? Nothing is ever straight-forward here.

Chantal said...


Never had our permits come separately. That's strange.

I have traveled. Shh. But things have gotten more strict in the last year so if you are traveling anywhere outside the Schengen countries (i.e. U.K., U.S., etc) you will probably need that Visa. Other places like Denmark, Portugal, Spain, etc, they never check.

Bill Harby said...

WHAT? We have to do this every year? Great! My Swiss wife and I have been jumping through hoops since before I arrived in March, and I still don't have my permit. The experience has been positively Kafkaesque with our marriage certificate criss-crossing the planet getting translated, being forwarded, backwarded and no doubt now sitting in an in-box somewhere in CH under a pile of porno magazines. I think I better get started on next year's application now.

JuanitaTortilla said...

Well, submitted our pictures and signed forms to Migrations 3 weeks ago. I was waiting for my new (2010) permit to come rolling in my mailbox ever so patiently.
Came the 4th week, and a letter from Migrations came, saying we *didn't* submit our photos and signatures. Strange. That was the *first* thing we did. So, off we went to do the same thing, all over again.
Now it's Week 5, and I'm still counting. Not going to hold my breath, though.

mrsmac said...

i can't remember when we submitted ours (oops) but i do know that they are sitting on someone's desk in zurich, waiting for a stamp of approval. unfortuantely, that person has been on vacation the last two weeks. since my husband is traveling for work and our permits expired today, they gave my husband a printout saying that the renewal was in process.

we had to do the same thing last year. at least they realize the process takes really long!

Chantal said...

so you didn't need the visa? just the sheet of paper? that's good to know. but ridiculous that it takes so long that you have to do this every year!

mrsmac said...

yep, just a sheet of paper. the passport control guys at the airport just nodded, said we should have it next time, and waived us through. i'm pretty sure they deal with this a lot :)

Chantal said...

Good to know. But was he heading outside the Schengen?

mursya said...

I waited over 4 month to get a permit from Zurich Migrationsamt, and now I have less than 2 month left to renew. I wonder how it will go. Hope to send them all docs next week.

Chantal said...

Good luck with your renewal. May it go fast!

Unknown said...

I love this blog. Had it been other way around, a swiss living in us and u wouldnt wonder or complain at all. renewing ur residency permit, 2 yrs is the fast lane, understanding that ppl dont use the metric system was given...seriously some ppl are total idiots!

Anonymous said...

Die Schweiz built on NAZI gold.
They hate Europeans more than the Chinese

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