Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Week of Fear

One of the privileges of being a native-only couple, is never needing to fear that your family will ever be torn apart and thrown across an ocean because a paper was mailed two days late.

On November 26th I sent the following e-mail to the Swedish Immigration Bureau (I've translated some of the words to English and put them in brackets):


I'm writing with questions in regard to beteckning [case] ########.

I gave birth to my daughter September 7th and was thus extremely sleep-deprived around the time that my uppehållstillstånd [residence permit] expired at the end of October. In that state, it was difficult to gather the necessary papers and I thought that as long as I mailed the application on the 29th (day of expiration) it was on time. I have a PhD position and my uppehållstillstånd [residence permit] was based on that. But since I now live with my partner and we have a child together, I chose to change the permission to be based on this relationship. I thought it would be possible to do this application online but it wasn't. The 29th was the very soonest I was able to mail the application after I realized I couldn't do it online.

I received a "mottagningskvitto" [receipt] and the beteckning [case] number. Also a request for more documents. I paid the fee and sent the extra documents. The mottagningskvitto [receipt] says that the application was received on October 31st.

Today I had a very unpleasant conversation with an angry woman at Försäkringskassan [the Social Security Administration]. She said that my child does not have the right to barnbidrag [monetary child benefits] because I do not have the right to live in Sweden because I filed my application late. 

I was in complete shock. I have lived in Sweden for 4 years. My entire life is here. My job. My partner. My child. My apartment. We depend on my förälderpenning [parental leave benefits] from my job while I am on parental leave. Now I am terrified that Försäkringskassan [the Social Security Administration]  is going to cut me off and that I won't be able to return to my job and that I'm going to be forced out of the country.  We were able to sort out the problem of the barnbidrag [monetary child benefits] because the child's second parent (my partner) is a Swedish citizen and is now finally registered as her second parent. But is it true that I don't have the right to stay here? I can send the new papers that show that my child is a Swedish citizen! 

I'm so full of fear and anxiety right now that my family is going to be torn apart and lose our income because I accidentally filed an application two days late. Please tell me that my family is safe and that everything is going to be okay.  

You can e-mail me or call me at ##########.


On December 6th, I received the following reply:

Dear [Name]
Thank you for your email.

An application for extension or a new permit should be handed in before the old one expires. The fact that you applied two days late will, however, not affect your application or your status in Sweden, since it’s only a very short delay from your part. As long as you have an open application you are allowed to live, work and study in Sweden.

Yours sincerly
[Case Worker Name]
The Customer Service
The Swedish Migration Board

I have to be honest, when chain gets yanked like this, it's hard not to feel like a dog. And not a well-loved dog, either. 12 days of terror. All because some angry woman at the social security administration shot off her ignorant mouth. We're still reeling. 


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