23 February 2009

Finally Legal...

So we're finally legal residents of Vienna. Here's what it took to get here. The process was very lengthy, but if you want to get a glimpse of the bureaucracy, take a look. I'm curious if the US is worse, we've heard it's pretty much terrible everywhere.

  1. A trip to the Salt Lake City consulate in August after spending 2 months collecting the required paper work (letters from the county stating we're not criminals, photos, translated/notorized documents etc.). The consulate did nothing but take all our documents and stamp them with an official stamp and hand them back to us.
  2. We mailed the stamped documents to the LA consulate.
  3. The LA consulate mailed the documents to Vienna.
  4. In the meantime, some of the documents "expired" because they could only be 3 months old so we had to get new ones just in case we got hassled about it.
  5. We moved to Vienna 2 months later.
  6. We registered with the Magistrate/police as you're supposed to do when you move in.
  7. 4 months later, and 1 month after our tourist visa expired we get a letter telling us to come in for a meeting with a bunch of different documents. The letter did not say if we were approved or not...
  8. We arrived for our meeting, and the building was filled with lots of rooms and a lot of immigrants like us. The room we were supposed to enter said "do not enter wait for your name to be called." So we waited, wondering what we were supposed to do. Then we noticed some people had numbers from a ticket machine. So we got a number. Half an hour later we noticed 1 number was called. We were only 30 numbers behind that 1 number so we figured our number would be called in a couple days plus or minus an hour.
  9. We decided just to barge into the room because there is no way they could call for us if they did not know we were there and our paper told us to show up at a certain time for a meeting.
  10. It turns out this is what you were supposed to do. The numbers were for something else. Who knows why they have the sign saying not to enter...
  11. The lady is a little bit aggressive in German, but she takes our papers, gets mad because we didn't have everything neatly lined up and in order and because we didn't have our passport stamps photocopied.
  12. Chris rushes outside looking for a photocopy machine because the one in the building was broken. Finds one and makes copies.
  13. Returns to the office to give the copied passport stamps to the lady and then she tells us to wait outside.
  14. We wait outside for another half hour.
  15. Our name gets called, and we walk in the same room and are sent to another room with another lady.
  16. We start to talk in German, but she realizes we don't know the official bureaucratic language so she nicely speaks in English and explains we have to leave, go to Croatia and then come back because our temporary stamps expired, even though we submitted our paper work 5 months ago and are now just getting to speak with them.
  17. We leave, go to Croatia and then come back.
  18. We go back to the office with our new copies of passport stamps.
  19. Enter the office that says "do not enter unless your name is called" and drop off the new stamps and are told to wait outside.
  20. We wait outside for 45 minutes until our name is called.
  21. We go into a different room, with a different lady and explain the situation.
  22. She informs us that our insurance is listed as "travel" insurance and since we are applying for a student residence permit "student insurance" is not the same as "travel insurance". She also says our paper work does not say anything about our coverage.
  23. We point out that our "travel" insurance was good enough, and this was not mentioned before, plus the paper says exactly what our policty is, what the deductible is, what the maximum payout is, etc.
  24. She says to go wait outside until we are called.
  25. We go wait outside for 35 more minutes until we are called. Keep in mind we've got two kids that aren't happy about always having to go here and wait, but aren't screaming either, just getting grumpy.
  26. We go back into the same room, and she says to come back in 2 weeks with 500 euros and our passports.
  27. We come back in two weeks and enter the room that says "do not enter unless your name is called" to tell them we are there and ready. They take our paper and tell us to go out and wait until we are called.
  28. We wait for 40 minutes until our names are called.
  29. We go in and she gives us an invoice and tells us to leave and go pay it.
  30. We rebundle the kids with their coats, hats and scarves, leave the building, walk around the corner and go and pay it in a seperate building hand a cashier the invoices and pay.
  31. He hands us back a receipt and says we're finished.
  32. We wonder what we're supposed to do, so we ask and he explains 4 seperate times in German until we figure out we just need to go back to the other office and wait.
  33. We go back to the other office, enter the room that says "do no not enter..." drop off our receipts and passports and she says to go outside and wait until our names are called.
  34. We go outside and wait for another 25 minutes until our names are called.
  35. We go inside, she hands us our passports and our new residency ID cards and has us sign our forms and says "auf wiedersehen".
  36. We notice the cards expire in a year and ask, what we should do next year. She says to come back 3 weeks before they expire to do the whole thing over again.
  37. Yay! We're now legal, although nothing has really changed other than we're a little poorer, Austria a little richer, and we have a nice ID card.

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