Wednesday, 17 June 2009

red red tape.. stay close to me

Back to our battle with the never-ending, soul destroying, employment creating Bosnian bureaucracy. Using an unexpected flanking manoeuvre, Bosnian bureaucracy has actually opened up a new front in this war, which is occupying most of my time, much to my enormous irritation.

For once it isn't the visa application that is causing my misery. That is not to say that the process is finished, rather the quagmire continues, involving more police reports, extra notarised documents and vast sums of money. It is too unbelievably dull for words.

No, this little skirmish has come from the boys nursery, where we need to reapply for our places next year. This process includes handing over various documents, including passports and birth certificates and having a health check. I could cry. We're still recovering from the last time we had to go and have our health checked out and that was only 2 months ago. The battle to get them to accept the certificates we got that time is ongoing. But this battle is nothing compared to the battle to get them to accept our birth certificates.

The problem is that in Bosnia your birth certificate is re-validated every 6 months. Yup, every 6 months every single Bosnian must go back to the relevant ministry and get a stamp, or whatever it is that they do to show that they are still, well, born. Because, you know, just maybe they have been born again and not in the religious sense. When I produced my birth certificate, the original one and now 37 years old, their jaws nearly hit the floor. The boys' certificates, looking considerably less dog eared, are also not valid.

They would also like us to produce our ID cards. But of course we are British and therefore don't have ID cards (and long may that remain the case, despite the fact it would make my life here a lot easier). That has caused a fair amount of head scratching and ponderous scratching of chins. No ID cards. Possibly, I said, we could use our passports instead. Well they thought that might be ok but could they get back to me on that one. I await their verdict.

I have filled out the form though. But it was in Bosnian and therefore a bit hit and miss, so I've probably applied for them to be taught in German and only on Tuesdays.

I'll just keep on turning up at nursery. They'll have to let us in in the end.

24 comments:

SandyCalico said...

Amazing and so frustrating. Fingers crossed they do get into nursery! x

gaelikaa said...

Just keep on being optimistic. You'll come through in the end.

Kat said...

Oh that just sounds like a gigantic headache.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

SC - so frustrating! And dull. They will get into nursery, it is just all the faff that is getting them there that is doing my head in!

Gaelikaa - the only thing to do is laugh...

Kat - where's the asprin?

Dan said...

Why on earth would it be necessary to renew a brith certificate!??

Those crazy Bosnians

bosnian expat in den haag said...

Dear Brit expat in Tuzla
I'm a Tuzla-born expat in Holland and by pure chance stumbled across your blog (while googling "fun places for a toddler in The Hague" - go figure!). I am so looking fwd to reading your blog, hearing your views on things (my daugther, who is half-italian, is the same age as your youngest) - I am waging similar bureaucratic battles to yours ( though the bosnian birth certificate obsession does take the cream, admittedly!) and my daugther has 4 languages to conquer (she goes to the Dutch creche and we watch the English CBBC program all the time). Anyway, I'll be in Tuzla sometime in the summer, I'd love to meet up, if you like? anyway will be in touch, definitely! Best, Azra.

Lorna Harris said...

Wow. I was shocked here because we had to provide 3 documents to guarantee a place for school. Now I'm thinking that was easy.

It's fascinating about the birth certificates, what a logistical nightmare.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Dan - crazy is not the word that I'd use...

Bosnian Expat - coincidence! And how on earth does my blog come up under fun things to do with a toddler in The Hague. I've never been there, with or without kids. We are going to be in Tuzla all summer so are very likely to be here when you are. It would be great to meet up, go hang out at 'the beach' (I'm planning a blog post on this one) and play with more toddlers. How your little girl does 4 languages I have no idea. Anyway, email me - there should be an email button somewhere on here - and thanks for getting in touch.

LH - it is a total nightmare, but I think we are all going to ignore it and just carry on going as we appear to have got into the nursery without them.. Sigh. I should move to California!

Katherine said...

???? Renew a birth certificate? THAT has go to be the biggest waste of time ever!!!

WeDoAdventure said...

This is a genius post - particularly the birth certificate bit. I hate forms at the best of times and here they are taken so seriously. I hope you win!

Heidi said...

Sounds vaguely like the vagaries of the British banking system. I confused more than one unfortunate customer service rep (in more than one bank) when I explained that, as a non-citizen, I wasn't actually registered to vote in the UK and, therefore, could not produce a copy of my voter's card to prove either my identity or my address.

All immigration bureaucracy is nonsense but Bosnia *does* sound worse than most ;)

cartside said...

I have to admit, even worse than getting a nursery place in Glasgow...
You've been tagged by the way for Recycle Week over at mine.

bosnian expat in den haag said...

Can't find your email so here's mine: akinthehague@yahoo.com
It'd be great to meet up with the kids on Panonika, I've never been there (believe it or not!). and there are no small children in my family for my daughter to play with when we're in Tuzla, so that would really be great. We have a house close to the MUP building. I think I'll be in Bosnia sometime in July. Rgds, Azra

Mummy said...

This reminds me of when I went to Soviet-era Russia (a scheme for full employment if ever I saw one). After my parents spent many happy hours sitting outside the Russian Embassy in London, noting on the first day that many people took their own chairs and taking their own too on subsequent visits, and about 6 different invitation letters in 2 languages, we finally got visas.

Once in, we had to go and register weekly at the local police station (officially we were only allowed to stay within that district). We all had to go so that they could see us, but when we got there nobody had a clue what to do with us - independent overseas travellers not being very frequent in the suburb of Moscow where our Russian friends lived. After much shouting in Russian, they brought us forms to fill in, entirely in Russian. Mercifully Natasha, the daughter of my parent's Russian friends, had come with us and filled them in for us.

While in Russia we did everything else on the black market (change money, hire a car, buy food) not because it was always more available but because it was so much less hassle.

Mummy said...

I forgot to mention that the first set of forms we filled in were apparently the wrong ones, so they called our friends, shouted a lot and made threats about them hiding illegal immigrants (and capitalists at that) so we all had to trek off to the police station two days later and go through the whole process again.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Katherine - but gives me something to blog about. Any other upsides you can see? Makes me go grrrrrr

WDA - thanks, and don't worry we'll wear them down through attrition

Heidi - you do start to see 'computer says no' part of the administration coming through when you don't completely fit their boxes. Sigh.

Cartside - shall be over to have a look shortly, although recycling not a strong point in Bosnia...

Bos Expat - shall be emailing shortly, we will take you both to Panonika and eat Bosnian ice cream on the Korzo.

Mummy - ah, Soviet Russia. At least people aren't frightening here. They do genuinely want to help and have some sympathy for our non-conforming ID documents...

siobhan said...

Arrrggghhhhh! I hate bureaucracy. Sounds very similar to here. I love the way people are always surprised that we don't have id cards in Britain, it's like, so how do people know who you are? That and the fact that the police don't have guns. I had one courier at a loss as to what to do with my credit card (have been with the same bank for 6 years) because there was a space on his form for Turkish identity number. I told him repeatedly that I wasn't Turkish so didn't have an id no., he couldn't get his head round what to do with the form.

Mud in the City said...

Thanks for finding me! Phew, just reading that makes me want to go for a lie down. What would they think of my ancient green paper driving licence I wonder?

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Siobhan - computer says no. happens all over the world.

M-in the C - I dread to think. I do have a photo one and now use it as an id card...

Chloe Wilson said...

Hi,
I'm an expat but in Spain. The paperwork in these countries is amazing isn't it. We had to provide more paperwork to buy a car than we did to buy our house. They wanted to keep our passports for 3 days! Luckily the school paperwork has gone without incident. I did arrive at the last minute with proof that my son didn't need immunising as he'd had it in England though, just as he was being marched off to the doctors with the rest of the class.
Cheers, Chloe

Dancinfairy said...

Wow, that all sounds so complicated! I found your blog via the BMB carnival, now I am wondering if I even know where my birth certificate is! I will be staying put then!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

CW - the paperwork gets you in the end. I can see why everyone trys to circumvent the system.

DF - welcome, hope you enjoy it. I think my birth certificate is reaching the end of its natural life, it is looking very dog eared! Time to apply for a new one - the Bosnians will appreciate that!

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