You know what's annoying? Migration. You know what's even more annoying? Migrating in the EU with a non-EU citizen.
I have migrated to three foreign countries during my lifetime. Moving to UK and Ireland were fairly painless as a EU citizen - I basically just walked in and stated "I live here now". Don't get me wrong: it's not actually that easy, and migrating to another EU country still asks for a lot of paper work and aimless running. Take my most recent migration experience to Ireland, for instance. Settling to Dublin went basically like this:
- Search for a flat. Find out your landlord wants a reference. Awkwardly send a few emails to your former landlords in Finland and beg them to write you recommendation letters in English (if they can).
- Open a bank account. Find out you need a proof of address. A job or a Personal Public Service number should do the trick.
- Book an appointment to obtain a PPS number. Find out you need a proof of employment to get one.
- Find a job. Find out your employer needs your PPS number to properly hire you.
- Repeat the loop until you start crying.
In the end I was able to get a proof of address from the academic registry of my university, which allowed me to open a bank account and get a PPS number. I'm now a happy resident of Ireland. (Don't think opening a bank account was all that simple, though: during the 5 weeks that followed I received 5 different letters until I finally had all the information needed to have a fully functioning bank account!)
But Canada. God damn that was some serious paperwork right there. Judging from my Facebook update back in April 2015 the immigration process seemed to have caused some gray hair:
In other words, I have it easy now that Alex and I are back in Europe. I can just rush through the border control with my fancy chipped EU passport and then disappear forever. Watching my Canadian partner ramble through his immigration process occasionally makes me feel like my EU passport is like a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.
The last few weeks have been extremely stressful. The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) requires every non-EU citizen to register at their office within 90 days of arriving to the country. This requires a bunch of supporting documents, of course. Previously you were supposed to camp outside the doors at dawn and hope to be through with it within the next 9 hours. However, just recently they switched to an electronic booking system where you can book your registration appointment a maximum of 6 weeks in advance. Too bad all the appointments within those 6 weeks were already fully booked, and Alex would be kicked out of the country 5 days before the next available appointment. What a nice dead end.
A dozen phone calls, emails and bureau visits later the issue was solved, but I feel like my life expectancy just got at least 5 years shorter due to the stress caused by yet another immigration issue threatening our relationship. I'm not saying I'm against such regulations, not at all. Sometimes the little human can just get lost in this jungle of procedures and formalities, and it gets tiring after a while.
In the future I'll try to update more often with smaller posts about everyday adventures like this. What do you think?
Do you have any similar experiences? Does migration ever make you have grey hair? Share your experiences in the comments below!