Friday 16 September 2011
I got my residency registration sorted out yesterday without a hitch. We went down to the Town Hall, Elena and I, she deposited me at someone’s desk, the guy took my passport and my rental contract, filled in a form and handed it to me with a smile. All done and dusted within ten minutes.
Buoyed by that heartening experience, I go down to the police station this morning to see about getting the N.I.E. (A social security number, which I need before I can register as self-employed.)
This police station, which deals with immigration, is rather tricky to find. It’s tucked away behind the local hospital in a side street, it’s entrance entirely unmarked. This is really helpful for people new to the town. Not to worry, my Teutonic programming has made me set off in good time. The office opens at 9am and I get there at 9.30, which, I’m thinking, is plenty early.
But not early enough, as it turns out. The waiting room an officer directs me to is already choc-a-bloc. Oh well. I take a number and sit down. Maybe the throng of people will move through the system quickly…
It strikes me that something isn’t quite right here. Nobody else in the room looks like me. Also, the queue is barely going down. There’s two doors that people disappear into when their numbers are called, and they spend eons in there. No way will my turn come before the office closes for lunch.
I should ask somebody. There’s police officer, a fat, contented-looking sort, with nothing else to do but walk about, making small-talk with the punters and petting their mewling whelps. There’s also a woman behind a desk, flailing between phone calls and paperwork.
I sit there for a good hour with my book, before I finally muster up the courage to approach her.
“I’m here to apply for my N.I.E.”
“Are you an EU citizen?”
“You shouldn’t be here.”
She hands me a strip of paper with a phone number, which I must call to make an appointment, she tells me, and then come back, but to a different office, right round the corner from this one.
I leave, feeling slightly silly for having wasted all this time by not asking a simple question first off, for fear of not understanding the answer, looking stupid and having people get impatient with me (none of which happened!).
Friday 23 September 2011
I have my N.I.E!
I went to my appointment at 11.30 am, there was a line in front of a hospital-green door, but it moved at lightning speed, and after a brief checking of ID and documents, it was entrusted to me: my N.I.E., on a handsome green certificate.
Awrgh, bugger!!! I discover on arrival at home that they got my DOB wrong… they made me THREE DAYS OLDER!
I can’t face trudging all the way back there. I just can’t. No doubt this will cause me a whole host of problems in the future, but I don’t give a rat’s arse about it right now. Where’s my cake?!