The "Foreign" Police
When moving to Slovakia for longer than three months you have to register with the local foreign police. You have three months to do that and the process differs for everybody it seemed. Since the day I arrived I have heard dozens of stories regarding the foreign police and how they do things there, all of them extremely negative.
First of all nobody there speaks English, so make sure you take someone with you who can speak Slovak. Obviously, why would the authorities handling international affairs need to know other languages? Secondly nobody really knows what sort of documentation you should take with you. You would need different papers/photos/stamps for registering and for getting a local ID card and nobody seemed quite sure which documents were for which procedure because everybody had needed different ones. Take the work contract, no, only take a confirmation of work, rental contract but don't give it to them, just show it, and also a paper from the "Catastrophe Office" that your address actually exists. Also get a stamp from notary on it. No, you don't need the stamp. Actually you do. But don't bother with it. Make sure you book all day for it, etc. etc. etc.
Eventually I postponed going there until I had two files full of papers. All kinds of papers. Probably also papers with nothing on them, as long as I had lots of papers!
Yesterday then we went there with a Polish colleague who speaks Slovak. We drove to the other side of the river where there is nothing but colourful blocks of flats. And there in the middle of the blocks of flats was a tiny building, that had definitely been built by the Soviet Union, hidden behind trees. You would expect a police station to be at a central location but you would be wrong! How foreign nationals without local help are supposed to find it, I do not know.
There were already people queuing at quarter past seven in the morning. There were supposed to be separate counters for EU citizens and for those from outside the EU. I saw a lot of Asian people and thought great, this shouldn't take long. They started handing out numbers.... And told us that the EU citizens were handled in another building. Ever thought about putting up a sign saying EU NATIONALS <-- OTHERS -->?? No...... ok.
So we went to the next building where there were fewer people... but much slower authorities. And the number machine was broken. Had been for six months I heard. So we just queued. I talked with a Swedish guy working for IBM and a Slovak guy whose job it was to queue there couple times a week to help foreigners with the process. Poor bloke!
For the first three people it took the authorities two hours to go through. More people started turning up at which point the Germans and the Scandinavians sorted out whose turn was next and gave everyone a number to remember. But the people turning up didn't know this and they tried to jump the queue, which might have caused some cursing and shouting. I was sitting next to the door ready to attack the next person who tried to get in before me. I might have also mentioned rather loudly that YES, NEXT IT'S MYYYYY TURN!!
After three hours of waiting we were asked in. They took my passport and my work confirmation, took a copy of my passport, asked for my signature and then we were out... Three hours' wait for two-minute process!!
Anyway, it's done now, finally. I feel free and so light now that all my paperwork here is dealt with. And even though the weather here is absolutely appalling the burger cart Le Beef will be in the Medical Gardens close to Dell today again so burgers for lunch!