Order No Rainbows

Life as an expat, Photography, Crafts, Vegan Food, Music, Art, Animals…..

I’m official!

on September 25, 2012

Today I went to Brno to register with the Foreign Police. I had been warned that this was a horrendous process, involving hostile staff who couldn’t speak Czech, who were completely unhelpful and would find any excuse to reject an application.

I set off with some trepidation but was determined to charm my way through any obstacles, with my winning smile, my Czech phrasebook and the mobile number of a friend (thanks Jana!) who said she’d be on standby in case I needed her. First impressions of the location were not promising. The foreign police are in an office on the second floor of a pretty grim building housing a number of businesses. I eventually found myself in front of a door marked “office” and several unmarked doors on a short corridor. I plucked up the nerve to knock, which was foolish because there was no answer. This was just a little bit unnerving.

I took a deep breath and opened the door. Instead of the huge office with endless queues of despairing people I’d been led to expect I was in a waiting room which was nice and clean with plenty of empty seats. There were only two other customers, one of whom was just finishing being dealt with and the other who was completing a form. I stepped through into the counter area and enquiried whether the lady spoke English. She shook her head curtly. I tried the winning smile and said “I need to register with the Foreign Police please”. The winning smile (or maybe the word “register”) had the required effect and she smiled and passed me a small form to complete. I went back to the waiting area to complete the form, which was in English as well as Czech, and started filling it in.

As I was doing this, a brassy blonde woman walked in with what looked like a junior football team trailing behind her. They were Eastern Europeans, but I couldn’t figure out the nationality. Blondie was clearly in charge and staerted sapping instructions at her hapless team, who all looked very nervous, and, if I was looking at them in a less charitable mood, could be described as shifty.

Form completed I returned to the counter and was astonished when the man only wanted to see my passport and not all of the other documents I had compiled – health insurance, letter from landlady, employment contract, photos. But I didn’t argue – just passed the passport to him and was instantly given a visa for 1 year. So that was that – in less than 15 minutes and not after the hours of waiting I had been promised. Maybe I just got lucky and 10:05 on a Tuesday is the magic time when things happen easily at the office of the Foreign Police, but I like to think it was my winning smile that did the job.

While I wouldn’t describe the staff in the Foreign Police office as charming, they certainly weren’t as hostile as I’d led to believe, and the process of registering was very straightforward. So I have no complaints.

If anyone is reading this post because they’re thinking of moving to the Brno region, there is lots of useful information on the Brno Expat Centre website, and the staff running the site and responding to queries are very helpful and friendly.

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