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Old 02.03.2022, 12:43
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C permit - how long did you wait?

Hi,
I applied at the beginning of November 2021, its a standard application and all requirements fulfilled from my side. This is Geneva canton. I have steady 100% perm job for last 10 years, en Suisse for 11 years.

Fast forward to now - the office de population is a fortress, you can't get in unless you have an invitation from them. If you call on a number for permits, cca 19 out of 20 calls you just hear pre-recorded message and connection drops. If you submit their online form, there is 0 feedback for 3+months, no matter how many requests for information you fill. They have no public email.

If you manage to reach somebody, its some secretary completely disconnected from permit process, having just about no clue what is happening. She told me my whole application is in the process, the same as last 3 months (I kept checking because I naively expected this to take few weeks). There is no way to get details, explanation, or ETA on getting it.

In the meantime, my permit B expired (after 10 years obviously), I've filled the form for renewal to have at least some valid document, paid the sum and applied for it. This was 3 months ago, again no news. Before, it used to be matter of days for anything permit-related.

One last info - this is EU-10 country (Slovakia), Swiss treat us worse than western Europe (but you get used to this 2nd class treatment so I don't really mind). Needless to say, having no valid permit and what Russians are doing right now just across the border leaves me in stressful situation. HR understands this but they have no power over cantonal offices. My both kids are in same situation since their permit is tied to mine.

Anybody else had similar dysfunctional experience very much below what should represent Swiss efficiency?
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  #2  
Old 02.03.2022, 12:54
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

Arrived to CH on late 2012 and I have to renew the B permit every year (3rd country national). The renewal takes between 3 and 6 months, so that means I have a plastic card with an expiration date in the past during a significant part of the year.

But, the plastic card is NOT the permit. As long as you have requested a permit renewal and the application is being processed and the cantonal office does not answers....you are legally entitled to be in CH.

So, is it a problem? No. In Switzerland I was once asked by the police, they scanned the expired permit, found it was during the renewal process and I continued enjoying my beer on the train. For out of Europe travel, there's a return visa.

If you know the law no need to worry at all.
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Old 02.03.2022, 13:33
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

I applied in early-January (B permit expired 1st of Feb). Early Feb I got a letter asking me to goto the biometrics office. Went there on the 18th of Feb, and the new C-permit card arrived in the mailbox on the 22nd of Feb (with the bill of course ).
All very efficient... (kanton Aargau)

To your point, my gemeinde told me (not sure how true this is), that as long as I keep the receipt saying I've applied for a new one, I'm good. Obviously, I kept this email from them... just in case, printed, along with my expired B permit.
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Old 02.03.2022, 13:44
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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For out of Europe travel, there's a return visa.
Annoying and expensive if you are travelling a lot.
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Old 02.03.2022, 13:47
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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Annoying and expensive if you are travelling a lot.
I just take it as cost of doing business and move on.
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Old 02.03.2022, 14:13
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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...my permit B expired (after 10 years obviously), I've filled the form for renewal to have at least some valid document, paid the sum and applied for it. This was 3 months ago, again no news. Before, it used to be matter of days for anything permit-related.

One last info - this is EU-10 country (Slovakia), Swiss treat us worse than western Europe (but you get used to this 2nd class treatment so I don't really mind). Needless to say, having no valid permit and what Russians are doing right now just across the border leaves me in stressful situation. HR understands this but they have no power over cantonal offices. My both kids are in same situation since their permit is tied to mine.
It does sound like a long time for someone who has been in the country for 10 years and isn't applying under the early rules. Even with Covid.

I wonder if applying for a C permit first then applying for a B renewal after that threw a spanner in the works?

I know we beat it to death here on EF, but have you tried sending a (polite) registered letter since calling and emailing aren't getting results? Ask whether they need any additional information or documentation, and whether they might be able to provide a timeline.

And sorry, but you have no evidence that the permit office is treating you differently because you're Slovakian. Be careful with those kinds of accusations, particularly if you want to naturalize.
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Old 02.03.2022, 14:17
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

Geneva is notoriously slow these days , it doesn’t sound that unusual to me.
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Old 02.03.2022, 16:44
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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So, is it a problem? No. In Switzerland I was once asked by the police, they scanned the expired permit, found it was during the renewal process and I continued enjoying my beer on the train. For out of Europe travel, there's a return visa.
It has one negative and very annoying consequence, confirmed by the bureau - I can't apply for citizenship, which is my end goal and apart from C permit I am fulfilling all other pre-criteria. So they are effectively delaying this.

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And sorry, but you have no evidence that the permit office is treating you differently because you're Slovakian. Be careful with those kinds of accusations, particularly if you want to naturalize.
That was more a general rant, not particularly on this office situation. And unfortunately true in some cases I've experienced (ie obtaining initial permit vs western europeans in same EU). I would go with occam's razor here and claim incompetence of bureaucrats rather than malevolence. And I ain't stupid to say this to anybody involved directly, I keep the conversations factual and polite, just venting here off a bit.

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I know we beat it to death here on EF, but have you tried sending a (polite) registered letter since calling and emailing aren't getting results? Ask whether they need any additional information or documentation, and whether they might be able to provide a timeline.
That's a fine advice, merci
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Old 02.03.2022, 16:51
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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It has one negative and very annoying consequence, confirmed by the bureau - I can't apply for citizenship, which is my end goal and apart from C permit I am fulfilling all other pre-criteria. So they are effectively delaying this.
OMG, this is madness. It means there is an ideal time to apply for citizenship and it's right away after you have a renewed B permit. Otherwise there's the possibility that the B permit expires and the procedure gets blocked?


Well, courage and use the registered letter system.
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Old 02.03.2022, 16:54
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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OMG, this is madness. It means there is an ideal time to apply for citizenship and it's right away after you have a renewed B permit. Otherwise there's the possibility that the B permit expires and the procedure gets blocked?


Well, courage and use the registered letter system.
You need a C permit to be able to apply for citizenship.
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Old 02.03.2022, 17:01
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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You need a C permit to be able to apply for citizenship.
OP mentioned B, so totally confused.
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Old 02.03.2022, 17:06
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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OP mentioned B, so totally confused.
OP has applied for a C but it is taking too long.

In the meantime his B permit expired so he panicked and sent off the forms to renew his B permit.

A consequence of only having a B permit is that he can’t apply for naturalisation.

What is not clear is whether renewing the B will put a stop to the C permit application or if he will just upgrade his B to a C when the process is finalised.

At least that’s how I understood it.
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Old 03.03.2022, 12:42
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

You got it mostly right. I didn't panic, this is what office de population themselves recommended as the proper course of action.

And it shouldn't have blocked anything re C permit - all this was done months ago, and last time I was checking with them (weeks ago) they said C permit still in the process when they checked based on my name and birth date. Just couldn't give any details, more appropriate contact, ETA or anything.

But its frustrating to not be able to get any further details, and its frustrating to not even get back B permit for which I applied. As said, not a very Swiss behavior from them.
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Old 29.08.2022, 14:18
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

An update to this saga (for me) - finally C permit was approved. 10 freaking months after applying, when fulfilling all criteria required for normal process. Another colleague from France got his C permit during this time in 3 weeks...

Had a call today with the office de population (usual 20x ring to get to person, got disconnected by them since they don't have waiting like call centers, either picked up in few seconds or end) where we wanted to give up whole C permit application to at least have valid B even when living here for 12 years - and the guy told us we actually got it last week, he himself was shocked and kept apologizing for this mess during whole call. Different person than all the calls before and actually a competent one (compared to just listening "I don't know" to almost all questions and telling us to do wrong/useless things for the rest).

They still have some mess on their side (my wife's anticipated C permit case closed erroneously by them, so he re-opened it and urged to get done ASAP - this was done independently to my application so not the source of delay).

The fact that some of his colleague urged me previously to ask for the B permit renewal during this was meaningless waste of money and effort - they couldn't issue it during C application process anyway. That's how clueless some people are in their core work responsibilities.

I don't want to to complicate description by writing in all details of all their screwups and going back and forth, but to sum it up - this was by far the biggest bureaucratic mess I ever experienced anywhere, and easily on the most important topic of my/our lives so far.

Being 10 months in situation where you don't have any valid permit to show (they just referred me to their portal which doesn't give you any statement/confirmation), so not possible to find any job if I would like to change or get fired, not possible to find any accommodation, kids go to creche without any valid papers since they get same permit as me etc.

I wish to hold the record for this, so other folks who just follow all the rules in such a place hell bent on following all the rules don't have to go through such a thing, especially when whole families are involved.
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Old 01.09.2022, 00:05
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

It looks like the procedure and waiting time for C permit is very different depending on the canton.
Geneva having the longest waiting time from what I read in this forum.

I am just wondering if there are clear steps in this process and what is the bottleneck causing delays?

Application first goes to local municipality (geminde), then it goes to migration office of the canton and finally it goes to Bern.

Turnaround time in Zurich canton looks relatively fast. I am waiting a decision regarding my C permit for circa one month and migration office told me that my application is with Bern already and I should get results in a few weeks.

Does anybody know what exactly happening in Bern? From what I see, all documents were requested and reviewed on a Migration office level. I had the impression that a decision is made on a migration office level and Bern just needs to confirm it.
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Old 01.09.2022, 01:45
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

They are making sure you are not a risk to national security. For all we know you could be a spy.
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Old 01.09.2022, 08:52
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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Being 10 months in situation where you don't have any valid permit to show (they just referred me to their portal which doesn't give you any statement/confirmation), so not possible to find any job if I would like to change or get fired, not possible to find any accommodation, kids go to creche without any valid papers since they get same permit as me etc.

I wish to hold the record for this, so other folks who just follow all the rules in such a place hell bent on following all the rules don't have to go through such a thing, especially when whole families are involved.
Thank you for updating, and congratulations on your C permit!
Being "lesser EU" myself, I know where you're coming from - though the delays probably apply to everyone and your outcome really depends on who is in charge of it.

Being held up from applying for citizenship is a big deal, too. It is difficult enough if your civil documents need to be sourced from a disorganized country and apostilled, but to additionally be delayed by Swiss bureaucracy is a pain. Especially as the citizenship process can take 2 years (I have a vague memory that Geneva might be fast there?).

I had to renew my C permit during full Covid time. It took 3 months, calls, letters, going there several times and finally chancing upon a person willing to help. Yes, you're legal here during renewal, but it's a pain if you want to travel.

Last edited by LiquidPaper; 01.09.2022 at 09:07.
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Old 28.09.2022, 23:26
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

An update - I finally have my card, after biometrics were taken. 11 months since application to actual piece of plastic.

One thing that puzzles me - the C permit is valid only till 2025. I thought they are for longer, even my B permits were both 5 years each (not tied to employer). Its not even 3 years exactly, more like 3 years, 1 month and cca 18 days since the date of their issue.

Is this normal? I feel like really needing to push hard through bureaucracy to get stuff many around me get effortlessly. Just more motivation to go for citizenship since they can't disgust me with this resistance (or just bureaucratic inefficiency and incompetence, which I won't ever forget to dear effective-like-swiss-watch Suisse)
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Old 28.09.2022, 23:57
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

Indeed vary from canton to canton. As some people mentioned, Zurich is really fast. Nothing to complain for Zurich's processing speed based on my very personal experience. From submit applications to recieve the letter asking me to pickup card is only 10 days (including weekend). 10 years normal application, third country.
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Old 29.09.2022, 00:13
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Re: C permit - how long did you wait?

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An update - I finally have my card, after biometrics were taken. 11 months since application to actual piece of plastic.

One thing that puzzles me - the C permit is valid only till 2025. I thought they are for longer, even my B permits were both 5 years each (not tied to employer). Its not even 3 years exactly, more like 3 years, 1 month and cca 18 days since the date of their issue.

Is this normal? I feel like really needing to push hard through bureaucracy to get stuff many around me get effortlessly. Just more motivation to go for citizenship since they can't disgust me with this resistance (or just bureaucratic inefficiency and incompetence, which I won't ever forget to dear effective-like-swiss-watch Suisse)
It's wrong, should be 5 years. Contest via registered letter and give them 10 days to re-issue for free and refund fees paid for renewal process or provide a formal decision to issuing a C permit with a 'control expiry date' of less than 5 years. They know it would never hold in court so they will probably reconsider their position fairly quickly.
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