So Tuesday I went to turn in my application for temporary residency extension and to get biometricked.* As a result, I’ve got some advice to Denmark and to the foreigners who live here.
Your English pages for New to Denmark are a little, how shall we put it, vague and confusing? Let’s, for example, take the page for residency-based-on-family-reunification-extension. There’s a whole bit about fees. It’s linked to another page, dedicated to fees. So, I spent hours pouring over this and determined, there would be fees for my residency extension. This is because, while it is specifically mentioned that there is no fee for applications for family reunification visas, it doesn’t mention extensions of said visas. “Application for family reunification” is not the same as “application for extension of existent visa, based on family reunification.” Just sayin’. Thankfully, since it was unclear, I tried reading the Danish, realized it was way over my head and made my Danish husband read it. Boy has to be useful for something. Final discovery? NO FEE! WHOOT!**
Also, your list of places to go to be biometricked. Could you be a bit more specific about where to go? I mean, yeah, you list the police stations, but most require you to go to a specific office, not the main office, and the opening hours are much shorter. I had to go wander around on the police webpage for a while before I figured out where I needed to go. I couldn’t remember the exact path I took, so the Danish Boy had to call and get the information again. Would it be too much to ask you to write Fyns Politi in Odense: Borgerservice, Udlændingkontoret, [correct address]? Or maybe make it a link to the correct website? Because I bet a number of people wander into the main police station, and that sort of disturbs the cops, who are probably hella busy with all the crime we foreigners commit when we aren't waiting in immigration offices.
Udlændingkontorer? (That’s plural for “immigration offices”.) Could you possibly be open for more hours? I don’t know if there was something special about Tuesday, but there were waaaaaay too many people packed into that small room. I felt we were just one crying baby away from a disaster-relief center. You were feeling harried; we were feeling hot, crowded, and stressed. If you were open for more hours, perhaps we wouldn’t all be there at the same time. Perhaps we wouldn’t all be stressed that you’d turn us away the minute the clock struck noon.
Foreigners: yes, you/us/whatever. We have things we could to do to make it all go so much more smoothly.
BRING THE DAMN PAPERS, for a start. ALL OF THE DAMN PAPERS! If there are 9 pages in a form, bring all fucking 9 pages! Don’t bring 8! Don’t leave the one that says “for office use only” at home! You need all those freaking pages!! Hell, bring the first three pages that are only instructions BECAUSE IT’S EASIER TO THROW AWAY WHAT YOU DON’T NEED THAN MAGICK UP A PAGE THAT’S NOT THERE!!!
Also, what are you, 7? Don’t fold the papers up and carry them around in your pocket. This isn’t your homework (although I’ve had teachers that would be mighty pissed off if you had the audacity to turn in rumpled papers). It’s not a shopping list! These are forms that need to be legible and the office needs to be able to write on them. Kinda hard when you have to spend five minutes flattening them out with your sweaty palms.
Have a photo ID ready. It says very clearly that you need to be able to prove that you are the applicant and then gives you a list of all of the photo IDs that are acceptable. Don’t be looking at the officer all fish-like. It says RIGHT THERE. Great, now we need to wait while you empty your purse. By the way, they invented these great things called WALLETS that will hold all your cards for you in a tidy package. Do you do this every time you go to the supermarket? ‘Cause, DAMN GIRL!
Please do not take calls in the tiny office. If you have to make a phone call, keep it short and quiet. How the hell are we going to hear the Danish mangling of our names if you are yakking into your Nokia? (As a personal aside: can all the Nokia phone users find a different ring tone than the default? ‘Cause every time a Nokia phone rang, something like 12 people reached for their phones. Funny, but also kind of annoying.) I’m sure you are a very important man. Talking loudly for a long time while waving your arms about is *totally* proof of that. NOW HANG UP THE FUCKING PHONE!
Finally, if the office is only open from 9 to 12, don’t show up at 11:45. Seriously, 90% of the people in that office arrived fifteen minutes before closing time. Did y’all have to drop your kid off at daycare at 8:30, so you could make it on the only ferryboat connection that wasn’t fully booked, so you could drive like a crazy person to Odense too?? And I still made it to the office half and hour before you people.
Total time spent on my case, including biometric data taking? 15 minutes. From start to finish. Of course it took 15 minutes before they even got to me, but I was ready with my papers, my ID, and *I* didn’t need to primp before my photo was taken. Not that I’m saying that’s what you did, lady who sent her husband back out for her purse… but I sure as hell am implying that that’s what you did. The officer took my papers: 15 seconds. Checked that I was who I said I was: 15 seconds. I waited to be called: 10 minutes, while my data was entered and the officers dealt with other people. I went and got biometricked: 5 minutes. BAM! Homeward bound!
Of course, going home meant trying and failing to catch a ferryboat (fully booked, but you gotta try), waiting for the ferry we did have a reservation for, and all that driving to and fro, so by the end of it all, we’d spent 7 hours on the trip.
Yeah, SEVEN. We left the island at 9 am and got back to the island at 4 pm. For a half hour in the immigration office. Fan-fucking-tabulous.
*They only took the fingerprints of my fingers, but not my thumbs. So I’m gonna totally commit a bunch of crimes using only my thumbs. HA, DENMARK! I WIN!!
**Wait, was that your plan, Denmark? To instill a sense of dismay and despair before being all "psych! Here have a cookie?" 'Cause, then, well played, Denmark.