Thursday, July 03, 2003

The letter arrived in the mail yesterday. They want me to send in my passport, a document proving that I make the salary I claim I make, and to tell them how often and to where I have travelled outside Sweden since February (that would be the U.S. and Hungary).

It looks like the road to becoming a passport-carrying Swede is nearing its end. The chances look damn good that I will actually soon be a citizen of Europe and the U.S.

Good thing they're giving me until Aug. 4 to get this stuff in, since I'll be needing my passport when the husband and I go to San Francisco later this month. The U.S. isn't so nice about letting people in without proper identification. Unlike Sweden.

My friend, the American editor, once came back from a trip to Italy, and when he got to passport control in Sweden it seemed that his green card had expired. He started arguing in Swedish with the woman in the booth, but after about five minutes, switched to English.

"C'mon, I just forgot to get it renewed, you can see I have permission. What are you gonna do, call the police?" he said, wheedling the woman.

"I am the police," the woman said.

She eventually let him in, after a short lecture and a stern warning that he would probably get a fine, which he never did get.

The Swedish word for the day is uppehållstillstånd. It means residence permit, and is signified by a paper pasted into one's passport and is the equivalent of the U.S. green card.

- by Francis S.

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