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Old 14.09.2021, 13:54
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Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

I was not sure if I should have post this to "complaints" forum or here, I later decided to write here since it's a visa issue.

My father-in-law in Turkey has passed away the day after we left our B Permits for renewal for the 2nd time. We caught the first plane in the morning and left the country without permits. When we called the FDFA Helpline, they recommended us to contact with the Swiss Consulate in Turkey for a "return visa". We called the Consulate but the answering machine tells that "they were accepting phone calls only 4 days in a week between 15:00-16:00 (which practically they have never answered in 2 weeks) so we have to keep all our conversation via email starting from the very first day we have left Switzerland.

Even though the Consulate personnel were very polite in their emails, they didn't answered their phones even once and they've replied our each email at least a day after (which was definitely not the most effective method in a case of special necessity which we have never experienced). They asked us to send our passports and the application fee via post (which does not accept money in envelopes) so instead of sending them an email and losing another precious day, I flew all the way to Istanbul just to hand them over the money.

As a result, a simple 3-day-process (receive application - ask the Swiss Migration Office - approve the visa) costs us 2 weeks . And when we came back, my boss asked me to fill absence forms for the days I've spent abroad.

I am quite disappointed with the whole process and, as an immigrant, I am not sure whether I should place an official complaint to the Foreign Affairs about the slowness of their Consulate or to my workplace for being so strict in an exceptional condition, -or do nothing at all.

Just wanted to share the situation and ask for your opinions.
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Old 14.09.2021, 14:59
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

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...My father-in-law in Turkey has passed away the day after we left our B Permits for renewal for the 2nd time. We caught the first plane in the morning and left the country without permits. ....

Just wanted to share the situation and ask for your opinions.
Oh, I'm sorry for your loss of your father-in-law. I can understand why you chose to go to Turkey immediately, because of your father-in-law's death, and wanting to be there for the arrangments.

Even so, essentially, no-one is supposed to leave Switzerland without their Swiss permit, because it is that permit that gives one the right to re-enter Switzerland. We have seen other reports of people who've left the country without their permits, and doing so has very often resulted in delays and stress.

Within that basic premise, I think that your employer is within their rights to ask you to use a part of your annual leave to cover the time that you were away from work.

When you handed in your B-permits for renewal, did you first take a photo of it? Did you ask for a letter or receipt which stated that you'd handed it in, or some sort of proof that you still held a valid B-permit status? I don't know, but I wonder whether such an image and letter/receipt would have sufficed, to let you into Switzerland, again.
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Old 14.09.2021, 15:10
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

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When you handed in your B-permits for renewal, did you first take a photo of it? Did you ask for a letter or receipt which stated that you'd handed it in, or some sort of proof that you still held a valid B-permit status? I don't know, but I wonder whether such an image and letter/receipt would have sufficed, to let you into Switzerland, again.
This is very specific to the commune/gemeinde where you live. In the place I lived before I got some kind of a receipt when giving my permit to get the new one. In the gemeinde I live today, there's not receipt but I keep the old permit until I get the new one. In both cases, it's possible to tell "the new permit is under approval, let me in" when you land in Zürich. I think they have access to a database with that info.

The real problem are the airline employees on the departure airport. They don't care about receipts or expired permits. Once I fought for more than 30 min to get into a flight back to CH because all I got was the receipt from the commune. But, there's something called a return visa. Got it a couple times in the cantonal population office before leaving the Schengen area. I wanted to travel and return to CH but the renewal of B permit takes 2-3 months. I went to the office, fill up a form, wait 5 min, photo taken, visa glued to the passport. A 15-20 min thing in total.

But desperate times, desperate measures. A receipt or expired permit and show up in the airport with all the patience in the world. Also realize that the problem is not Switzerland but the airline employees from your own country that don't let you fly that easy with a permit under renewal.

Last edited by Axa; 14.09.2021 at 15:24. Reason: typos, lots of them :/
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Old 14.09.2021, 18:13
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

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Even so, essentially, no-one is supposed to leave Switzerland without their Swiss permit, because it is that permit that gives one the right to re-enter Switzerland. We have seen other reports of people who've left the country without their permits, and doing so has very often resulted in delays and stress.

...

When you handed in your B-permits for renewal, did you first take a photo of it? Did you ask for a letter or receipt which stated that you'd handed it in, or some sort of proof that you still held a valid B-permit status? I don't know, but I wonder whether such an image and letter/receipt would have sufficed, to let you into Switzerland, again.
Thanks for the good thoughts. Yes, we knew that there will be some trouble in entering back to CH, but 2 WEEKS? No way. We all had the scans of everything but while we are going out, the Passport Police said "from the database I can see that you own a permit but while you were entering back to Switzerland, you will need to declare something - preferably a visa". So a scan or a "under renewal" form may not be enough for a non-EU national.
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Old 14.09.2021, 18:17
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

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This is very specific to the commune/gemeinde where you live. In the place I lived before I got some kind of a receipt when giving my permit to get the new one. In the gemeinde I live today, there's not receipt but I keep the old permit until I get the new one. In both cases, it's possible to tell "the new permit is under approval, let me in" when you land in Zürich. I think they have access to a database with that info.

The real problem are the airline employees on the departure airport. They don't care about receipts or expired permits. Once I fought for more than 30 min to get into a flight back to CH because all I got was the receipt from the commune. But, there's something called a return visa. Got it a couple times in the cantonal population office before leaving the Schengen area. I wanted to travel and return to CH but the renewal of B permit takes 2-3 months. I went to the office, fill up a form, wait 5 min, photo taken, visa glued to the passport. A 15-20 min thing in total.

But desperate times, desperate measures. A receipt or expired permit and show up in the airport with all the patience in the world. Also realize that the problem is not Switzerland but the airline employees from your own country that don't let you fly that easy with a permit under renewal.
That is exactly what I want to say. The complete procedure can even be completed in 30 minutes, yet they took 2 complete weeks to finish in our case. Under no way we can convince the airline personnel that we have the right to enter Switzerland and even if we can convince them, the Passport Police in Zürich will be the other problem that does not worth taking the risk.

The question is: should an immigrant complain about a Consulate to the Department of Foreign Affairs ?
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Old 14.09.2021, 19:50
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

You can always try but what you hope to gain is beyond me !


Maybe sometimes, hard though it may be, it's best not to rock the boat too much unnecessarily and as you have very little to gain here......


Your choice.
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Old 14.09.2021, 20:22
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

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That is exactly what I want to say. The complete procedure can even be completed in 30 minutes, yet they took 2 complete weeks to finish in our case. Under no way we can convince the airline personnel that we have the right to enter Switzerland and even if we can convince them, the Passport Police in Zürich will be the other problem that does not worth taking the risk.

The question is: should an immigrant complain about a Consulate to the Department of Foreign Affairs ?
I guess it's kind of complicate.

I used to fly only with the receipt I got for the permit renewal. As you mentioned, the police control in ZH scans your passport and they do know what's your status and let you in. Until one day, airport employees 10K km away made my life complicate, so I started asking for the return visa to the cantonal population office.

But, did you arrive to the airport and the airline denied boarding? In that case, the airline is responsible for the decision. Not the Swiss foreign ministry. Employees should be better trained to make decisions. But did you lose a flight or just assumed it was too complicate and never tried to fly until the visa was ready?

The denial of boarding happened once to an acquaintance. Went for a bit of Sun to Algeria during winter, lost his permit and then no boarding pass. Sadly it was the weekend, and he had to wait for Monday for consulate or embassy. The emergency return visa took 3 days or so and enjoyed a bit more of the Sun. But, 2 weeks?

I guess you could send a letter explaining the whole issue to the Swiss foreign ministry. But, don't expect anything special. Flight schedules are disrupted, things are more or less complicate, so there might even valid reasons for the 2 week delivery.
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Old 14.09.2021, 20:26
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

You won’t gain anything by complaining, you’re back now, there is no advantage to you. Yet you might get the authorities backs up by complaining and it might not play in your favour in future.
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Old 14.09.2021, 21:49
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

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I used to fly only with the receipt I got for the permit renewal. As you mentioned, the police control in ZH scans your passport and they do know what's your status and let you in. Until one day, airport employees 10K km away made my life complicate, so I started asking for the return visa to the cantonal population office.
That sounds like you asked for this return visa... before your departure from Switzerland. Coud you clarify, please, whether that's what you meant? OP, on the other hand, was applying while outside Switzerland.
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Old 14.09.2021, 21:59
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

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That sounds like you asked for this return visa... before your departure from Switzerland. Coud you clarify, please, whether that's what you meant? OP, on the other hand, was applying while outside Switzerland.
For clarification. I traveled 3 times without B permit outside the Schengen area. The return to Switzerland was possible with the document from the commune stating I gave my old permit while waiting for the approval of the new one. Let's call it a receipt, and it was in French.

It worked well 2 times. Authorities in ZH airport had not trouble letting me in with this. As mentioned by OP, they scan you passport and they know your history. The third time I had lot of troubles in an airport in Mexico because the airline employees did not want to give the boarding pass. After half hour of discussion I could board. Had no troubles in ZH with the receipt from the commune.

However, preferred to have no more problems in the future. Thus, I ask for a return visa every time I travel outside Schengen with no B permit in hand.

I guess the issue here is that something that takes 30 min in CH takes 2 weeks somewhere around the world. It could be normal, it could be laziness, it could the damned pandemic disrupting everything. Who knows?
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Old 14.09.2021, 22:03
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

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You won’t gain anything by complaining, you’re back now, there is no advantage to you. Yet you might get the authorities backs up by complaining and it might not play in your favour in future.
OP, this may be frustrating for you, but I think that Island Monkey is probably right. I don't think you will gain anything at als by making a complaint.

"Losses" in Swiss cases are not generally measured by such means as compensation for time lost, for inconvenience, annoyance, pain and suffering, etc. They also do not usually involve apologies and restoration of dignity.

Instead, they are calculated only on specific, real, financial losses sustained.

Did you lose something that can be quantified in money? For example, were you engaged in some financial contract or deal in Switzerland, that could be completed by you only in Switzerland, such that the delay in returning caused you to lose the deal and money you had actually paid out?

You lost some of your vacation days, (which hurts, and I'm sorry for you about that) but the Swiss authorities will not compensate you for those. First, because do they not have an channel to pay you for that. Second, because it will be perceived that, even though you didn't plan to take vacation just then, for so long, in fact you did use those days to be away from work, which is okay.

You lost some costs, perhaps, in terms of phonecalls and mails, and travel to the Swiss authorities. I think it is highly unlikely that any authority would compensate you for these, because it is a consistent principle, through all applications for visas and permits, that the applicant bears all the costs.

I think that Island Monkey's warning is probably right, too. It may be to your disadvantage if you put a letter of complaint into your file in the immigration offices. That will then be re-read (and not seen in your favour) when you apply for your next B-permit, and possibly a C-permit, later.

You've had a hard time of it all, and I sympathise. Even so, I think you're better off just trying to see this as a learning experience.
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Old 14.09.2021, 23:10
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Re: Lost 10 days due to the slowness of Swiss Consulate abroad - Type-D Visa

Don’t blame the airline people. You are responsible for having the correct documents. They are not immigration officials and cannot interpret the regulations. The Airlines get big fines, often well in excess of the fare paid, for bringing in inadmissible passengers.
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