Immigration New Zealand: Getting there - slowly...

on June 22, 2011

After the latest problem with my work permit in order to stay in New Zealand I am slowly making progress. I would say I'm about a week from sending my paperwork back to immigration. Since I still have a bit more than 20 days to go (as an email sent by the immigration office reminded me off yesterday) everything should work out fine in the end.

I received my police clearance certificate from Germany yesterday - it only took a week in total to process it :-) Thank you once again Mrs. Schmidt @Bundesjustizamt! YOU WERE AWESOME!!!

Unfortunately once again I was kind of let down by the immigration officers. Because what they hadn't told me was that I also need to have that certificate translated - by a certified translator, of course. I wouldn't have known if I hadn't visited Sandra this past weekend...

Sandra is another German girl that I've only known via Facebook for about half a year now. Just like me she came over here on a Working Holiday Visa, worked as an au pair, fell in love with the country, fell in love with its people - and didn't want to leave anymore. She's been applying for new permits a few times now and is currently going for her permanent residency. I got her contact details a while ago from a mutual friend, we talked on Facebook a few times but never actually got to meet each other.

When I ended up having a long weekend a few days ago I thought it's about time to change that. So Dan and I packed our things and drove up to Kohukohu where Sandra and her boyfriend live. We had a short but fun time together and what amazed me most - Sandra has been living up there for almost three years now and she doesn't sound German at all anymore. Nope - she sounds like a Maori!!! Unbelievable how strong her accent has become in those few years.



Anyway... Sandra told me about having to have the police certificate translated. Of course there is no certified translator in Whangarei but I found the website of the Department of Internal Affairs in Wellington. They are translating heaps of different papers from or into heaps of different languages. They are fast (2 to 3 work days) and rather cheap (I pay 55 dollars including returning my papers via courier) - and friendly!

I called them yesterday to tell them I have an urgent request. They told me to send my document in via email attachment so they can get started on the translation. I still had to send in the original but just to get it certified. Did that via courier today, cost me another 5 dollars and a bit but it will be in Wellington tomorrow and hopefully everything returns to me early next week...

Here is all the information about the Department of Internal Affairs...

I don't want you here!!!


Apparently this creepy fellow was hiding in the firewood we got last week and is now living in the garage downstairs. Dan just found it an hour ago and couldn't resist taking picures. Does anyone know what kind of spider that is?!? It's about six centimeters long, a bit hairy and has red and black legs as well as a rather big body...

All I know is - if that thing finds its way upstairs - I'M MOVING OUT!!!

Immigration New Zealand: Green light from Germany

on June 16, 2011

I just got off the phone with the German Bundesjustizamt (BfJ) - the ministry that is responsible for issuing police clearance certificates. As you might remember this little document is currently standing between me and my next visa to stay in New Zealand. When I spoke with Mrs. Schmidt from the BfJ last week she already helped me a lot by allowing me to send my application via email with all important documents attached. She told me it would take between four and five work days to process - which was a lot better than the six weeks it said it would take on the website of the German Embassy.

Well, those four to five work days are up and there hasn't been anything in the mail so I gave them another call today. Once again it was Mrs. Schmidt who was talking to me and this time she completely made my day. Her colleague, she said, has been processing my application and will post the police clearance certificate tomorrow. Air Mail.

That still doesn't mean it will get here on time but the chances have just increased by at least 50 percent!!! I've had letters that got here within three days, on average they take about a week from Germany to New Zealand. That still gives me "heaps" of time to send my COMPLETE visa application back to immigration on time. I have 28 days left...

My return flight to Germany in the meantime has been cancelled. Should everything go wrong and I do have to leave I've decided to go to Australia for a while. It'll be a lot easier to get back to NZ from there than from Germany.

By the way... this is my 300th post since I've relaunched my blog in December 2008. Definitely reason enough for a small HOORAY (ok, that was a bigger one...). And I have more reasons to rejoyce today - WE HAVE FIREWOOD!!! After we've been let down by our deliverer TWICE we finally managed to organise something today. Now I'm sitting in front of our fireplace enjoying the warmth and will probably allow myself a glass of wine later on to toast to all the good things that have happened today.

Immigration New Zealand: There is still hope!

on June 10, 2011

What a day... it started really bad, got even a bit worse but took a very unexpected turn towards a happy ending in the end. What has happened?

Last week I finally sent my visa application to immigration New Zealand. Tuesday I got an email saying that they received all the papers and will get back to me soon. Well  - soon they did. Today. Before heading off to work I checked my mails as I always do and there was another one from immigration. And what did it say? "Lodgement failed."

WHAT?!? 

So I spent all morning trying to get someone on the phone who could tell me what that meant. Of course the line was busy, I was number 13 in the queue (what a lucky number...) and the calling back option took forever. My phone finally rang when I was just about to leave for work. 20 minutes later I was devastated! The guy told me my papers weren't complete and that's why they were sending it all back to me... What was missing? My police clearance certificate.

I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT!!!

When I first called immigration in March I was told that at this stage I did not need to provide such a certificate. Because it wasn't sure whether I would stay in the country for two years or longer (which is when you need to proof you're a good character). Well, all the sudden I needed one anyway. "We will grant you a work permit for 12 months", said the guy this time. "But only if you include the police clearance certificate."

The problem is - I have to apply for that certificate in Germany and apparently it takes up to six weeks to process it - and send all the paperwork back and forth from New Zealand to Germany and back. So the good news was - my application wasn't denied and I didn't have to pay for it twice either. The only problem was - if I don't send my COMPLETE application back before 14 July 2011 (which is when my current visa expires) I have to leave the country. What a mess!!!

All day I've been thinking about that... troubling myself with the thought of having come this far only to fail at the very last step... During my 10-hour-shift at the restaurant I had a really hard time not starting to cry or lose concentration to an extent where the customers would get bad service. I finally lost it when I told my boss about it. "There's no need to panic" really wasn't helping me that moment.

To cut the long story short... in the end it is actually Germany who keeps my hopes up. I called the Bundesamt für Justiz (thank you Skype!) and told them my story and how I don't have six weeks to wait for that certificate. The lady at the other end was just laughing. "Six weeks? No way it takes that long!"

I was actually able to scan all the necessary paperwork onto my computer, send it off via email - and within four or six work days (so hopefully by the end of next week) I will have my police clearance certificate. And since the worst crimes I have ever committed were stealing a magazine at the hairdresser when I was about 14) and getting ONE single speeding ticket in my entire life (in New Zealand) that shouldn't be a problem.

Thank you sweetie for having so much patience with me today. It wasn't an easy day but you gave me strength *kiss*

So... and now it is 1.11am in the morning and I think I can finally go to bed without worrying my head off... G!ood night y'all!!