Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Red Red Tape Series

There aren't many things that I can say that I am an expert on. My chocolate brownies are really awesome (email me for the recipe). I have a specialised knowledge of which toys can be thrown furthest and do the most damage to the walls. I am extremely good at getting the maximum discounts in any sales that TOAST do (80% off people, expect nothing less). And now I have a new speciality: Bosnian Bureaucracy. Or more specifically Bosnian bureaucracy pertaining to expats. In Tuzla. It's a skill I shall be adding to my CV.

Dave keeps mentioning that I ought to write a post detailing the steps that need to be taken to obtain visas and import cars into this country. We would have found something like that really useful. But the thing is, it just doesn't make for very interesting reading. There is only so many times that I can write about the times we went to the police station and had to wait for hours and the boys went a bit loopy and ran dementedly up and down the corridors only to be told off by grumpy men who have nothing better to do than drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. There isn't much of a post in we took every single piece of documentation that we have to the notary and parted with a lot of money to get something stamped, only to have to do it again for a different ministry 2 weeks later. There have been some real high (low) lights of this process; our trip to the hospital to get the medical tests and the battle with the bureaucrats over our birth certificates both merited posts all of their own.

The most recent clash with the system has been getting our car temporarily imported. This has involved a trip to the nearest border (and associated 3 hour wait), a separate trip to a specialised import place which showed me a whole new part of Tuzla that I never even knew existed and surrendering all our documents to the police whilst we wait for the final licence plates to arrive (and being told that we are not to drive the car outside of Tuzla town until we get the documents back). We worked out the other day that it would have cost us less money AND taken less time to drive to the UK, re-register the car there and drive back to Tuzla. And we could have loaded the car up with chocolate hobnobs and mango chutney whilst we were at it.

Finally though, finally, we have heard that our new Bosnian plates are ready. I just have to go and pick them up. And that will be it. We have all the documentation that we need. It has only taken us 15 months of constant work to do it, but we defeated them in the end. This was great news and we may have been spotted dancing about the house last night singing Red Red Tape in the style of UB40, whilst waving around glasses of the more appropriate red wine in excitement. I'm not holding my breath just yet, we still need to get the actual plates on the car and there is always the Bosnian capacity to throw a final spanner into the works just when you think you have made it, but we are hopeful, nay giddy with excitement at the prospect of reaching the end of this road.

Everything expires in February. We have to start the whole process again after Christmas.

PS - if anyone reading this does want more information on importing a car into Bosnia, obtaining a Bosnian Residency Visa, setting up a company in BiH feel free to email me. We feel your pain already.

22 comments:

Maternal Tales said...

Ha ha - I just love the idea of you dancing around in excitement. Well done for all your hard work. But expires in February???!!! Have to do it all over again? Hmmmm. Not so good. Have tagged you over at mine btw - feel free to do or opt out. I won't be offended either way xxx

TheMadHouse said...

I can not believe that yoiu have to do it all again in Feb, why?????

Also wasnt Red, Red Wine a UB40 song?

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

MT - lots of dancing around. Really lots!

MH - ah hem. You are quite right. Quite different. What was I thinking? Quick back to the stove and brew another coffee. I have clearly not woken my brain up today.

The wife of bold said...

I love that song but not sure even that could put a smile on my face after ALL you've had to do. Then for it to be repeated all over again in a few months time - how infuriating!!! If i was you i'd stock pile the red wine it'll take the edge off :)

Mwa said...

WHAT? Only till February? WHAT???

London City Mum said...

Hats off to you - for persistence and success!
Have similar story about passport renewal/registering children/translation and stamping of documents (and associated parting of monies) with none other than the Italian authorities, whom you would think should know better.

Hmmm... I feel a post brewing.

And can I have the recipe for brownies please? I am useless with cakes or sweets of any sort, so all help appreciated.

LCM x

Teacher Mommy said...

Insane. Just....insane.

And yeah, brownies. Send that my way.

gaelikaa said...

Sounds like Indian bureaucracy - which I have as little to do with as possible!

Tattie Weasle said...

Congratulations Bulldog Brit determination beat 'em - but having to do it ALL again???!!!!

Metropolitan Mum said...

So now you are free to roam around? I am still not over the fact that you weren't allowed to leave Tuzla. Enjoy your freedom while it lasts!

nappy valley girl said...

No wonder you're giddy with excitement - well done for defeating the bureaucrats (although hard luck about having it all again in Feb). I thought it was bureaucratic in the States (for a foreigner, at least) - but that is nothing compared to what you describe....

Chanda said...

We need to talk! I have been trying to get residency since I got here (almost 6 months). We don't know where to go...or what to do. It's frustrating. I ordered all my documentation from the US so it is "within the past six months" but now that will be over in December and I am still not finished. HELP...

Chanda said...

And...our car will be here next week and your horror story is making me nervous!

Catharine Withenay said...

Your story sounds so similar to my experiences in Zambia. Renewing work permits involved repeated visits for 'just one more month' ... meanwhile you remain on tenterhooks as to whether it will really go through. And, of course, it will, just in time for it to expire and the procedure to begin again!

Good luck.

Muddling Along Mummy said...

I admire your patience but why oh why do you have to do it all over again in February ???

siobhan said...

Whenever I've had to do anything like that here it's the same thing. Go here, take that there, get a stamp for this on the other side of town, go and have a medical at this hospital on the opposite side of town etc, etc. When you finally get the paperwork you were after, you can't quite believe it. It all feels like a bit of an anti-climax. They hand over the document and at first it's Yippeeee! Is it really all over!? And then you think, well is that it? You don't want me to fly to Ankara to have the last piece of toilet paper I used noterised? I can just go home now? What was the huge battle all for then? This measly piece of paper?

Lorna Harris said...

I shall never moan again about having to wait for 45 minutes at the Department of Motor Vehicles. I will compliment them on their speedy efficiency. My goodness, I admire your patience.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

WoB - red wine being stock piled as we speak. Also the plum vodka which will be ready next week. :-))

Mwa - don't even ask.

LCM - brownie recipe coming your way. They are goooood.

TM - ok!

Gaelikka - I think the two bureacracies might have more than a little in common. It is exhausting.

TW - should be better second time around. At least we know where to go.

MM - we can now leave the city. We can even now drive outside the country (which we couldn't do before). Where shall we go? Croatia? Hungary? Montenegro? The possibilities are endless.

NVG - I think the difference is as no one chooses to come and live in Bosnia none of the bureaucrats really know what to do with us when we turn up looking for a stamp. The States is probably the same but with a more efficient stamping machine.

Chanda - get yourself over here for coffee! Any afternoon. Seriously, just let me know when you are around. Have you done your medical yet? That 6 months thing as a real pain. And you can cut out a load of admin when you import your car as it comes into the country rather than drive it around for a while and then decide to import it like we did. Oh, and use a company. Novi Sped were good for us, Sanel speaks good English. 061 733 044.

CW - just one more month and then you have expired and need to start again. Yup, sounds like our experience.

MAM - everything stems from the first doc that we needed which was valid for a year from last Feb. All the other docs expire when that one does. Guess it makes sense, sort of. But a right old pain in the proverbial.

Siobhan - Love the bit about the toilet paper. It does seem like that. And then you get the bloody thing and it looks like something I could mock up in 10 minutes on the computer. It should be gold plated or something!

LH - only 45 mins? That is gooood. Just a tad jealous over here!

A Modern Mother said...

Oh poor you. And I get upset over BT!

kenanddot said...

This puts the woes of importing cars into Ireland into perspective. I will never complain again about the 25% import tax or the stupid man who made us do the whole thing twice because he couldn't work out the make of our car from the ownership documents or what was written on the back. In fact, I will complain, but I'll use an egg-timer so I don't go on unreasonably.

Very funny post - but poor you...

Dot

Dancing to the Lambada said...

lol i feel your pain, bosnian beauracracy is pretty bad!!

jon w said...

This is a bit old but hope you're still out there to ask what you think of this plan. My wife, a Bosnian citizen, wants to drive a US-registered car in the country during her visit (which will last a few months). I don't even know where to begin finding out if this is legal and how much hassle might be involved. I would think that Bosnian expats drive European-registered cars into the country rather frequently, and hope the US registration would not get too much harassment.