Friday, July 16, 2010

The permit renewal situation

Before we get to part two of our trip, I'd like to discuss Swiss working permits. We are here under a B permit and it is sponsored by Brian's company. It is good for a year and the Swiss government sends you the renewal paperwork every year in order to renew and have your new permit before your old one expires.


It sounds good in theory but it never happens like that, at least not in our experience. This year was especially painful.

We received the paperwork, took our new passport pictures for them, and took everything we needed to our Gemeinde house to be processed. And then we waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Turns out our permits ended up on someone's desk waiting for approval. Problem was, that person was out on burnout.

What is burnout you ask? Burnout is something that is diagnosed in Switzerland for people who have worked too much. A doctor will write out the diagnosis and then person gets a long vacation from work to rest up and recover.

Can you imagine something like this in the US? Nope, me neither.

Anyway, we didn't have the new permits by the time they expired on June 1. Brian didn't have them for his multiple business trips outside the country and we didn't have them when we left for our family trip on June 28. However, we did know that we had been approved when we left so at least we left with the knowledge that we should be receiving the new permits soon.

Fast forward to our arrival back into Switzerland last weekend. We hand over our passports to border control when the officer asks, "Do you live here?" and we know what is coming.

"Yes", we replied, "but we don't have our new residence permits yet."

"When did you apply for them?" he asked.

"Months ago" was our answer.

"Hpmh" grunted the officer, "That tells me that something is wrong."

"No, we know it has been approved, we just haven't received the new ones yet since we were on vacation" I replied, trying to be as polite. Meanwhile, Brian was muttering under his breath behind me, "WE didn't do anything wrong! The person was on burnout! YOU guys are the ones that took forever!"

The officer swiped our passports, confirmed that we were legal, and then we were sent on our way. Interesting to say the least- we did everything right and still got a scolding!

Turns out the timing was beyond comical. We picked up our permits at the post office the very next day and then Brian went directly to the Gemeinde to deregister.

Go figure.


Hoppy said...

Surely you had to do something wrong.... the Swiss are ALWAYS right!

Love to all.

caitlin said...

BURNOUT! OMG, we are totally missing the boat on this one. Gonna see if I can sell that at Hopkins.