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.