Friday, June 12, 2009

And the Migration Office....

Update - it was suggested as I've been throwing "chf" around to let readers know that the Swiss Franc is approx. 1 chf to $0.93 in USD - not much difference, the amount of average state sales tax.

My feet still hurt from standing in the Migration office for 2 hours today. But we have Visa's -Rueckreisevisum - so we can legally return to our home (home in Switz.) after our States visit this summer. Now we know why none of the US Expats seem to bother with this process and take their chances with copies of the renewal applications, etc... when they go home for the summer on expired B permits.

It takes a while, it's expensive and we were highly encouraged to do it this year. So we did.

And guess what we saw in the waiting area - a paper describing the proper type of photo they need for processing identification. You know - a no smiling picture! How does this help when people have to bring their photos with them? We were lucky we had to re-do our yesterday in our own village vs finding out at the Migration office located on the other side of Zurich.

Can you tell I'm tired of this process?

And there was almost a moment of "I give up!" when the lady saw that we had just submitted our permit renewals yesterday and we were already at their office for Visa's. "Well, that's the point of the Visa, isn't it? Because our permit will expire while we're gone?" She acknowledged this and said her problem was their system didn't show the info. yet - we were too quick. So she makes 2 phone calls and then says "Well, the cost is 92 chf per Visa, are you going to pay?" To which we reply "Why yes, yes we are."

We now have Visa's and a bunch of extra, unusable passport photo's.

On the tram , Bart looks over at my Visa and says "That is one ugly picture." To which I can only laugh and say "Yes it is."

No - it's not available for viewing except to encourage US Customs and Migration officers to let me out of the country to sleep in my own bed.

Re: no smiling in photos. OK, I knew there was a technical reason for the straight faced photos (you can check out momE's comment in previous post). Digital scanning and all that jazz - I was mostly irritated as it's a new requirement and there's no literature/instructions. Until you go to apply for something and find out you can't accomplish your task.

It just really fit with the stereotype we've encountered since moving here - if the person's smiling, they must not be Swiss. I know plenty of Swiss people who have wonderful smiles and some who don't seem to smile much at all but are very nice.

It's kind of like the stereotype of the loud Americans - it doesn't fit all but..... I have to say, after several years of listening to tourists in Europe, I think the Italians and English are the only ones who give Americans a good run in the noise department. Have to admit it - Americans are loud and don't care. I could make another post out of that. Loud Americans who make fun/complain of things on public transportation unaware that half the people around them understand what they're saying. :)

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