Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Ongoing Document Saga

Here's a little bit of genuine Romanian immigration advice and a couple of observations, based on recent experiences.

Firstly, it's not until you apply for anything in Romania that you realise you don't have all the documents you need. Not only do they all need to be original (see previous post), but they need to be unabridged - here in South Africa our birth and marriage certificates are issued in an abridged format, and unabridged can take months to receive - and a fair portion of them also need to be translated into Romanian AND have an Apostille Certificate (for countries under the Hague Convention).

So here I am in a fair little flurry of activity, trying to get our Department of Home Affairs to give me the unabridged documents I need (the real problem is that in South Africa you are NEVER asked for these, so you just go your whole life never applying for them). We've found a good Romanian translator nearby, and South Africa seems to have a fairly efficient department handling the Apostille side of things - the Legalisation Section - but none of that's going to happen if we don't even have the documents.

On the unabridged front, I applied for my unabridged marriage certificate almost three months ago, and I'm still waiting for it. The only thing I can do is try phoning the local branch I submitted my application to, and if I'm lucky somebody answers the phone and tells me that The Great Computer informs them that the document is still 'in process' (i.e. we've got no clue how long it'll take so don't bother asking), but most of the time I don't even get that far because nobody answers the phone.

With time rapidly running out I'm now trying to shake some trees through the Department of Home Affairs' senior hierarchy - amazingly there are e-mail addresses with real people's names and photos on the official website (score one for transparency!) - so now we just need to see if the Powers That Be are able to assist.

I feel doubly cursed here: I'm dealing with possibly one of the most thorough European countries in terms of requiring documents, while living in one of the least reliable countries in the world in terms of a Government actually able to supply documents on time (you'll get the documents, probably, maybe, if you follow up enough times). Wish me luck!

Document hassles aside, I have also been investigating the cost of living in Romania, and have unearthed a few useful sites, namely: NumbeoExpat-Blog and Salary Explorer. It doesn't take you too long to play around with the numbers and figure that you'll need 'only' RON 6000 to get buy fairly comfortably with moderate expenses (reliant on public transport, not a private car), but the 'average' salary scale for skilled workers is RON 3000. Problem, yes indeed.

And so the journey continues....

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