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The Semi-Legal Alien Adventure

Yesterday I tweeted about a secret mission to Eindhoven. Today I shall revel why it was so secret: for 2 days I was an illegal immigrant. (Gasp)

Image (cc) nathanborror via Flickr. CC-Attribution License

Despite carrying on a dubious family tradition, this was not nearly as interesting as that sounds. I had to re-apply for my residency card renewal in June after my first application went astray. Apparently I was suppose to mail it to Zwolle, not Eindhoven.  When I received notice that my application had been received (and would be processed after I paid the 288 euro fee), my old card only have about a week to go.  That wasn’t so bad. It was the knowledge that they had 6 months to decide weather to approve me or not that was the problem.

A few weeks with a lapsed card may not have been so bad (it would have stressed me out, but it’s not like I do anything to draw attention to myself), but 6 months would have restricted my ability to do anything that requires ID, travel outside the Netherlands, and would have resulted in awkward questions if someone official needed my ID. While being deported would certainly make an interesting end to this blog, I’m not willing to go that far for you all.

Fortunately there is an easy fix to tide me over. I got an appointment with the IND and they issued me a temporary residency sticker for my passport good for another 6 months. This sticker is basically the same one I had to obtain when we first moved to the Netherlands and it states that I can live and work here under the same conditions that we have been until my official renewal application has been approved.

It is not, however a travel visa, and if I want to go abroad and come back into the Netherlands I’ll have to obtain one for 40 euros. Since we have no travel plans at this time, that should be no problem. The gentleman I spoke with at the IND said that he guesstimated my application would be approved in 2 months, so I’ll just have to hold out until then.

Tips to Avoid Being a Semi-Legal Alien

  1. Send your renewals to the Zwolle office.
  2. Make a photocopy of your application before you mail it. Seriously, I forgot to do this and it slowed the re-applying process way, way down.
  3. Send your application on time. It was recommended to me to mail it at least 3 months in advance, but I think I’ll shoot for 4 next time since I seem to be accident prone.
  4. If you’re sure you’ll have a period during which your residency card has expired, ask for a sticker like the one I got. You’ll have to keep pressing for it, but it’s worth having for piece of mind.

Image (cc) nathanborror via Flickr. CC-Attribution License

8 Responses to “The Semi-Legal Alien Adventure”

  1. Invader_Stu says:

    That’s nothing, it turned out I was illegal for 8 years…

    … well ok technically not since I am European but I had no idea I was supposed to register in every city I moved to and did not find out till 8 years later.

    http://www.invader-stu.com/holland/?p=385

  2. Amanda says:

    lol. Guess you’ve got me beat. I’m pretty type-A about this sort of thing though. I don’t know how you missed the registering with your city thing… ;)

  3. Invader_Stu says:

    To be honest neither do I really. I guess no one told me so I never asked. It’s just amazing I missed it for so long.

  4. Star says:

    Ooh….the exciting life of a law-breaking expat. I love it!

  5. Judy says:

    I think I was technically illegal for 6 months. And probably longer, since valid health insurance is a requirement to set foot in the Netherlands and my Blue Cross ran out after I left my graduate program :-)

  6. Amanda says:

    Yikes. We had a similar problem when we first moved here. I think my “temporary” insurance from the US ran out a couple of weeks before I was able to sign on with Dan’s insurance. The whole residency permit thing takes so long some times, that it really throws kinks in a person’s ability to get things like that set up properly.

  7. Dave Hampton says:

    I’m coming up on my yearly anniversary, hopefully the last time. I have been here five years next year and can apply for permenant status. The rules overall seem a bit bendy: I’m here on a ‘make a business’ visa, and so there are requirements to be in business, but not to adhere to the business plan they reviewed, to make money, or to employ Dutch folks. TThere are vague requirements about number of days to be in the country, cash in the bank, and the amount that I pay myself, but none of it seems documented at renewal time. So, I get help, go through the paperwork, and keep my fingers crossed.

  8. Amanda says:

    Ooh, congrats on being almost ready to get that permanent status. I don’t know if you’re on the 30% rule, but does applying for permanent status effect that in any way?

    I feel like I just cross my fingers and hope a lot with this sort of thing. Not very comfortable with it.