Some of you may remember my delight at evading a fine which I was due to pay because I'd forgotten to renew my residents’ permit before it expired. My cunning plan to save 1400 Nok was, instead, to apply for a settlement permit which would not only avoid the fine but also release me from the annual pilgrimage to the Politi for mugshots and visa renewal (and long, long waits in a confined space filled with sweaty people, including me). After three years as a resident, I am entitled to apply for long-term residence (settlement) so it seemed like a no brainer.
Before we went on holidays, I received a phone call from a nice young man at the Politi to say that unfortunately as I was late applying for my settlement permit, the processing of my application is not straightforward and must be passed on to the Immigration Department. It seems that being late in Norway really is taken very, very seriously. Anyway, the nice man said that in the meantime he had renewed my resident’s permit for a year so there should be no problems. And would I have to pay the fine, I asked tentatively? No. No! Great! I just had to queue up at the Politi (again) to have the visa put in my passport.
This morning I turned up at the Politi at 0845 to find 20 people in front of me. After 90 minutes trying to meditate, forming opinions on everyone else in the room including the girl, possibly from Eastern Europe, with the awful matching pearl earrings and pearl hair band, reminiscing over all the stamps in my passport from exotic places, and wondering if the Politi could still change their mind and fine me, I got my visa. Still no fine. I think my cunning plan may have worked. Unless they refuse me a settlement permit on the grounds of tardiness. They wouldn’t, would they?
I like to think that it is a testament to my lack of vanity (ahem!) and commitment to making my readers snort with laughter whatever the personal cost that I have posted the dreadful mugshot above.