Friday, May 15, 2009

We can't leave the country - Sorry Mom!

So we are stuck in Switzerland - isn't that terrible?:) The whole thing has been kind of a mess. HR at ABB told Nathan that we needed to take 90 Fr. down to the Migration Office and get a "3 month return visa". SO - we stood in line for 1 1/2 hours and when we got up to the desk this is how the conversation went:
SIDE NOTE: Our VISAs only allowed us to enter and exit Switzerland one time. If we leave we can't get back in. Of course if we never got a VISA we could freely travel whereever we wanted to go on our U.S. Passports - crossing the Swiss border indefinitely if we wanted to- but details - right? (Oh yeah and if we didn't get the VISAs Nathan couldn't work - that's why we got them:)). Anyway...
Agent: (after she types our names into her system) "Sorry we don't have your permanent registration card information so we can't give you the return visa until we get that."
Nathan: "Here are our registration cards."
Agent: "Those are temporary registration cards. We need the permanent ones to get the information."
Nathan: "But the information is right here."
Agent: "No. I need the information from the governement. However, once you get the permanent one you don't have to come down here b/c that proves you live in Switzerland."
Nathan (mad voice): "What does THIS card do for us then (pointing to our temporary cards). We just stood in this line for almost 2 hours and we can't get our return...."
Mandy: "Honey, I don't think it is her fault. We must have gotten bad information. Can you please explain this to us one more time."
Agent: "Yes. We can't issue you a return VISA until we get the Permanent Registration Card information from the government. But in the meanwhile if you get the actual card you don't need a return VISA anyway so no need to come back down here. That cards proves you are supposed to be in Switzerland."
Mandy: "Okay, so how long does the Permanent Registration Card take to get?"
Agent: "About 2 - 3 months"
Nathan (mad voice again): "But I have to go to Finland in like 2 weeks."
Agent: "Come back when you have concrete plans and we will issue you a temporary return VISA for those plans."
Nathan: "Well, then I have concrete plans to go to Finland in 2 weeks."
Agent: (Laugh) "What exact days are you leaving and returning."
Mandy: (mean eye to Nathan then very sweetly to agent) "Okay, let me just get this straight b/c I am REALLY starting to get confused. If we get our permanent registration card we are free to travel. If we don't then every time we want to travel in Europe or US then we have to come back here?"
Agent: "You are free to travel around Europe as much as you would like."
Mandy: "Oh great!"
Agent: "You just won't be able to return to Switzerland."
Mandy (to myself) "*&$#*%! RIGHT - now I get it. Once we get the registration card we can travel but until then we are waiting on her to get the registration card info and if we want to travel before then we will have to stand in a 2 hour line to go anywhere outstide Switzerland. Yep. Got it. I think...."

MORAL OF THE STORY: We are stuck in Switzerland b/c we have to have our concrete plans at least two weeks in advance - which is kind of a bummer b/c it is either snowing or raining all over Switzerland this weekend and I want to go to the Italian Riviera!

Doesn't our life sound complicated?:)

We are going to try again for the Return Visa at the beginning of next week, because when I spoke to ABB's HR yesterday they told me that what the Agent said was incorrect. Who knows?!
I'll let you guys know when we aren't hostages anymore!

p.s. - I forgot one important thing! While we were waiting in line I learned how to count to 10 in German! Isn't that great? It only took 1 1/2 hours!:) (I did also learn 11 and 12)

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