Have you ever seen a hologram OF YOUR OWN FACE?
Me neither. UNTIL NOW.
1) Sign the application. (Ours had, helpfully, already been filled out for us by the university’s international office; lo, this was merely a diversionary tactic making us think this whole thing would be easy.)
2) Register our selves and our marriage with the city of Groningen. (Why do you care what city my mother was born in, Groningen? I don’t even know that information.)
3) Prove to the international office that we had registered with the city of Groningen.
4) Wait for BSN–Dutch Social Security number. (Conveniently, you can totally get a job and work without your BSN! Makes it easy on the immigrant! You just…can’t get paid without one. Minor detail.)
5) When BSN arrives, two months later, frantically email international office (and Payroll, and bank, crossing fingers that income will manifest itself soon).
6) Wait. Most people we know waited, oh, four or five weeks. In our case, wait…four months.
7) Email international office and point out that you’d like to go to Aruba as planned, without hassle in the Immigrations Hall of Schipol upon our return. Learn that U.S. passport basically means you can do what you want regarding entering/leaving Netherlands. Wonder why you’re getting the stupid permit in the first place.
8 ) Two days before two-week vacation, receive notice that residency permits have been approved. BUT WAIT!
9) Wait for another letter that the residency permits have been made ready for you.
10) Once you’ve received both letters, take train (1 hour each way) to Zwolle. Wonder why the heck this is costing us a morning and 60 euros.
11) Spend 5 minutes at immigration police office. Marvel at new hologram likeness. Now can obtain health insurance!
Now that I see the actual “document”–it’s a card, like a driver’s license–I think that the hologram they’ve put on the card is certainly to blame for all the hassle. Mine looks particularly ridiculous, as my hair has been carefully outlined and looks huge.
No, but really; mostly I’m glad we don’t have to reapply for these until December. :[
[AMS-ATL-Aruba post coming soon; it's been a week of errands and bureaucracy and laundry and I'm on the verge of catching up.]