Tag Archives: policia federal

I was not born in Belfast, but that’s what my Brazil ID card says…

I just collected my Brazilian permanent ID card. It’s taken many visits to the policia federal in Lapa to get this far. Though my permanent resident status was approved back in September 2011, it has taken about six months for them to produce a plastic card – and I had to go in person to fetch it.

The card says that I am British – quite correct. But it says that I was born in Northern Ireland – wrong. I was born in Surrey, England.

The police said that they cannot choose the UK, Great Britain, or England as a place of birth on their computer system, so they chose Northern Ireland as it is “pretty close”… I explained that it was wrong, but they said that my nationality is correct and I won’t have any problem using the card even if my place of birth is not correct.

Imagine that. The police and immigration officials can’t even put my correct country of birth on my ID card because of a computer system SNAFU.

Still, I don’t mind being from the Emerald Isle. It could have been worse, France is closer to Surrey than Northern Ireland!

Brazil ID

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Lunatic House

The British immigration office in Croydon, just outside London, is called Lunar House, but anyone who has had to deal with them knows the place better as Lunatic House.

But even the machinations of the British Home Office look slick and efficient when compared to the federal police, who handle immigration in Brazil.

I have spent hours at the police office in Lapa, São Paulo, arranging my permanent resident visa. It’s annoying, but it is just one of those things that has to be done.

Given the amount of time and effort that I have expended so far on them, I was excited to find that my visa application had been approved. On the website it said I just need to arrive at the police office within 30 days to collect my visa.

I turned up there today with my passport, having paid the processing fee in advance, and expected to be collecting the visa. I was told that I should have booked an appointment in advance for collection. I showed them the website on my phone – there was nowhere stating that I had to book an appointment, just a request to come within 30 days of approval.

They said I should have called to check.

When I suggested that I was there, I had my papers ready, why can’t we just process it now, they said it was impossible without the booking form, and if I had a problem I would have to complain to the people in Brasilia.

Sometimes this bureaucracy is positively Kafkaesque. I know that immigration requires a fair amount of bureaucracy, but I just wasted hours today because they don’t put the required information on their website – and then they cast me aside when I complain, suggesting that it was my own fault for not calling them to check.

Thankfully my visa is approved. I just need to collect it. I’ll book an appointment and fetch it soon, but I made sure that I got a receipt for my taxi today. When I return to the police office, I am going to file a complaint and ask them to cover my expenses… let’s see how far that goes.

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