Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Secrets I Will Tell

I have a secret. It's a big secret. People in America would flip out if this situation were reversed.

Until about 10 a.m. today, I was technically an illegal immigrant.

Let's debrief.

See, the immigration process is tricky and takes time. You have to apply for a work permit in the country you want to live. Then you have to apply for a visa in a country other than the one in which you want to live at an embassy of the one you want to live in.

I know, I've already lost you.

Example: If you want to live in the Czech Republic, you must go to a Czech embassy in another country to apply for your visa. Any other country. Most people go to Germany or Austria. Something close by.

For those of you who are still confused, a 'visa' in this case is not a credit card, it's a permit that says you can enter and exit a particular country. The one specifically in question actually allows me to enter, exit and travel throughout the EU as many times as I want in a one-year period.

We're already complicating the process by having to be in two different places at one time. Then further complicate it by the fact that technically you're not really eligible to work yet. But you probably are. I mean, you've got to eat, right?

Then once your work permit has been approved you have to go pick it up. Then eventually they'll approve your visa and you must go back to whichever country in which you applied for it so you can have them put it in your passport. (Now you can see why people typically go to a neighboring country. This can get expensive.) It's really obnoxious because in Europe (and I suppose probably in a lot of countries) they insist on taking up an entire page in your passport to place a big sticker.

I think I have like three pages left in my passport. Which is the minimum number you have to have in order to enter a new country or apply for a new visa. Annoying. Who needs a new passport? (Or at the very least some new pages, though my passport is looking pretty rough after that monsoon and the extended use it's gotten over the past two years.

Well at this point you're supposed to go to the foreign police office and register your visa within three days of receiving it. This is so big brother the government will know where you live and can find you anytime they want keep you safe or alert whoever in case of an emergency. (I think...)

Actually, everyone in most countries has to be registered. In America, if you're over the age of 18 you have to carry either a state ID card or a driver's license at all times with your current address on it. Same thing here, not just for foreigners. Most countries actually require that tourists carry their passport with them at all times. (I recommend carrying a copy or you'll end up with an air-dried-post-monsoon look like me.)

It just sounds really shady having to register with the foreign police.

Either way, you can't register with the foreign police until you have proof of insurance. And you can't get proof of insurance until you have both a work permit and an official visa. And then it takes anywhere from two weeks to a month to come in.

Uhm, something tells me someone in the legislative department was smoking something (that's legal here...) when they were making up these rules. The time lines don't really jive.

See, the problem here is that three day time frame for registration. How do you register your visa within three days with proof of insurance if you can't get your proof of insurance until a month later?

Oh well. Their problem not mine.

Either way, I have all the necessary paperwork and stamps and registrations and phone taps necessary to live in the Czech Republic as a respected, tax-paying (not that I wasn't already paying taxes 'cause I totally have been for like six months...) legal immigrant.

Better late than never.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, way to be legal :) Too funny. Glad it all worked out. Hope you are enjoying your summer!


Have any thoughts on this post? Let me hear it!