So, last week I told you how the first part of my residency permit application went. It was, at many times, unnerving. Nonetheless, every obstacle was surpassed and I got to learn many useful lessons.
But in the process, a tiny mistake made everything go through an unexpected route, one that required a lot of patience and faith in the system! And that happened when deciding where to send the residency permit card. The person who took my biometric data informed me that cards could only be sent to Swedish Embassies, so once again the choice was between Cuba, Colombia and USA. After offering the options, he advised me to select Cuba, since shipping through FedEx from there to the Dominican Republic would be cheaper. Being this a convincing argument, Havana, Cuba was the destination I chose. Then he said that the Embassy would call me when they received my permit.
Back in my country, time was passing by… and by… and by. Since the date for my departure was almost a month away, I decided to call the Embassy in Cuba to ask about my permit. The first misinformation that the officer dismantled was that they would call me when the card arrived… she said ”We don’t call anyone! You have to call us” which is why it’s lucky that I actually called. The second thing she said was that my case was uncommon, because they never received Dominican permits there, they were usually sent directly to our Consulate (so it wasn’t true that they could only be received in Embassies!). And the third information was that, no, my permit was not there yet. So:
7. If the waiting time stated in the Migrationsverket website has passed, call the Embassy or Consulate!
With more information under my belt, I geared up with extra patience to wait a little longer. I called again a week later and, oh surprise! My pass was there. The bad news was this: there was no FedEx in Cuba. That meant that they had no means to my pass to the Dominican Republic; therefore my card would be sent back to Sweden. Which now meant that the wait would be even longer, leaving me at a serious risk of missing my booked flight and possibly my first week at Chalmers.
Apart from developing nerves of steel, the lesson from this was the following:
8. If you suspect that you cannot attend the mandatory registration day, notify Chalmers.
The next time I called to inquiry on the status of my card, the person refused to give me information. I then called the Embassy in Washington to verify whether my pass was on the way to Sweden, but the system had no report of it being returned. Time was already running short, so I decided to call Migrationsverket directly, moment when I realized that the line was still broken for me. A Swedish friend helped me calling, however, the conversation was futile for him too: for all Sweden knew, my pass was and would stay in Cuba.
All the misinformation had me at a breaking point, and with my flight being a week away, I decided to visit the Swedish Consulate (before putting into motion some of the more far-fetched plans I had already designed).There, the consul, in a not very mild mannered way assured that he had called Migrationsverket and that my card was on the way to Sweden, after which it would be sent to my city. This wasn’t the best scenario, given that the usual waiting time for a card to arrive was weeks, in plural, while I only had a singular week available.
Feeling slightly aggravated, I went home with the only hope that my pass made its way through the seas quickly. But the next day, I received a call from the secretary at the Dominican consulate: my pass was there! I then realized that the consul actually had no idea about the location of my permit, since it was impossible that one day it was on its way to Sweden and a day later already in Dominican Republic.
I went to pick up the incredibly hard to get residency permit card, and the secretary even apologized for the consul’s manners the previous day. Upon return to my house I realized that in my excitement I had forgotten half of my breakfast. But the important thing was that the card was finally in my hands, and it was beautiful!
After this experience, I can say is that the process was arduous but my family and friends were always there to calm my doubts and provide practical help. All throughout the process there were people who were exceptionally helpful, people who weren’t very much so, and people who were well-intentioned but made a few mistakes.
So the final lesson is:
9. We’re all humans! Sometimes mistakes happen but they can be resolved. Not everything is within our control… but it is still important to be perseverant and to fight for the right information!
I sincerely hope that your process is more pleasant than mine… but if it’s not, maybe these lessons will be helpful for you. Just keep your head high and don’t loose your nerve!