A Visit To Migrationsverket

Before departing Australia for Sweden I applied for a permanent residency visa or "sambo visa" as it is called here. This visa is based off my relationship with Jennie, allowing me to live and work in Sweden with no restrictions.

Once I received notice that my sambo visa was granted I was advised by the Swedish embassy in Australia that I will need to have my finger prints and photograph taken at my local Migrationsverket in Sweden in order to obtain a residency card. Without this residency card you can do very little, its your ticket to gaining everything else that you need to survive in Sweden, so naturally it was the first off my list.

Prior to my visit to Migrationsverket, the Swedish embassy in Australia notified me that I should book my appointment online. I took it upon myself to do the right thing and booked my appointment for a few days after arriving in Sweden. 9:35am on the first Monday seemed perfect so I went ahead a locked in that slot.

The day of the meeting

Jennie and I arrive at Migrationsverket in Gothenburg in good time. I wanted to make sure that we arrived early just in case it was hard to find where the office was located. We had no trouble finding the building and arrived with plenty of time to spare. We made our way into the waiting area and I was advised that I should take a seat and wait until my name was called. The reception area was separate to where all the service counters were located, you had to walk down the corridor once your name was called and approach your designated counter. The place really reminded me of a hospital, it was very stale and cold, with a few security guards lurking around.

You're a little late?

We take our seat in the reception area around 9:20am, I was a little confused because in Sweden it is common to pull a ticket when you are waiting to be served. We wait for a few minutes and hear a faint mumble over the intercom, I look at Jennie and ask her if that was someones name? It was the most faint announcement, however we see a lady stand up and walk down the corridor to the service counters. We both decide to get up and sit closer to the speakers so that we can actually hear my name once announced. We can hear a little easier now yet still nothing that resembles my name. I look at the clock and it is now 9:45, I am starting to get a little worried so we decide to talk to the lady behind the reception counter. I explain the situation, that I have booked an appointment at 9:35am before getting cut off to hear "its now 9:45am, you're a little late?". I see the rage appear in Jennie's eyes followed by "no we have been here for 20 minutes and his name has not been called!" The lady replies "oh well you will have to approach someone at the service counters to see if they can help you". Damn, I just had a bad feeling by this point, we were totally prepared for this appointment and it was quickly falling apart.

Mr Helpful 

We walk down the corridor to find a service counter, the only one that's free is occupied by a Swedish guy who looked so bored in his job the next customer request would drive him to get up and stick his head in the nearest oven. He saw us standing there waiting for him to acknowledge that we needed help, however he had this look on his face as if to say "shit, please don't talk to me!". Jennie beats me to the counter and starts to speak with him in Swedish, I can tell that things are not going well as a faint red tinge is appearing on her face. I see him pick up a piece of paper and mutter something to Jennie, "we have missed our appointment!" Jennie replies. Mr helpful behind the counter could not give two shits, he only tells us to pull a ticket and wait for assistance. Wait for assistance, I thought his job required being that assistance?

We walk back out to the reception area and pull a ticket, it was so robotic, like there was not a single person working there that could think outside the square. I look down at our ticket number and then look up at the screen displaying which number is next. Our ticket is number 41, the number on the screen is number 10!

The 4 hour wait

I have to say that I am feeling pretty defeated by this point! We take a seat and continue to wait. The length of the wait starts to come into perspective as not a single number was called for over 15 minutes. Jennie calculated that at this rate it would take us over 4 hours to be served, which it total rubbish as we clearly made an appointment and it was their stuff up!

It's around 11:30am and we have been waiting in the office for over 2 hours, all of a sudden the receptionist calls out that she will be closing over lunch, never mind the 30 people that are already in the line to see her! She shuts the metal roller door and leaves for lunch! The 30 or so people in the line have no choice but to take a seat and wait for her to come back. A horrible thought crossed my mind, if she is going for lunch surely the others at the service counters will be hanging around to serve people? Nope, we were not that lucky, everyone went to lunch, and I mean everyone! 60 people sitting in this office to be served and not a single staff member was around.

By this point the few security guards who were in the building started to take questions from people, it was actually quite impressive, this must be a common occurrence. They were showing people which forms they needed to fill in and were taking the time to hear what people had to say.

30 minutes pass and we start to hear the shuffling of the receptionists roller door start to open. All of
a sudden masses of people start to run over to the counter to get back in line. Its first in best dressed at this point! One lady lucked out and tried to push in the line, all the people in the line start to tell her off and the receptionist starts to join in telling her to get to the end of the line. Finally the lady gets the point and walks to the back of the line.

Outwit, Outplay, Outlast!

1:00pm and were are moving closer to our number, I am feeling a little more optimistic by this point as it really is a battle of patience. Loads of people before us have actually given up and left, however we have managed to stand strong, outwit, outplay, outlast! Every number that is called is the luck of the draw, both Jennie and I look around to see if anyone is actually moving to the service counter, nope, that's another person that has given up. I look down at my ticket and the ink has actually started to wear off the number, thats an indication of how long I have been holding this stupid thing for! 

Finally they call number 41! I pretty much spring up out of my seat and run to our designated counter. Regardless of what they say I was not leaving without having my photograph and finger prints taken. The girl at the counter was actually very nice, I told her exactly what I needed and it took her a total of 3 minutes to take my picture and finger prints. I kept thinking about Mr Helpful, all he had to do was spare 3 minutes to help us, but that was much too difficult.

1 week and I will receive my identity card, I must say that it felt pretty good knowing that we did stand strong. I was tempted many times to get up and leave, however I knew that the same thing would probably happen again. It was very satisfied leaving Migrationsverket, as you can see below. Lets just hope I never have to experience this place again. 

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