While living in the US revolves around visas.. things are different here in the EU. Visas, even the long-term visas are incredibly short. Visas are typically used only for short-term tourist visits. For longer stays, you’re expected to apply for resident/work permits. The rules vary from country to country - here in Romania, Jo couldn’t move in with me when I shifted because Romanian law requires that I move in on my long-term visa, apply for a resident/work permit, wait for it to be approved, then apply to the Immigration Office (IGI) in Bucharest to ask them for their approval in applying for family unification visa. And this is even before she could apply for the family unification visa!
During my relocation, I moved under the EU Blue Card permit, which meant that the work permit has a longer duration of 2 years and I wouldn’t have to renew them every year, which would be the case for a standard work permit. When Jo moved here, her resident permit was tied to my work permit and was due to expire in a few months, as she’s classified as a dependent.
The IGI recommends that the renewal application be done at least one month before the expiry - and I started the process by talking to my immigration counsel 2 months before(September) the expiry date of my permit (which expires in November). However, due to various reasons (including some taxation/health insurance registration of Jo in Romania’s National Health Registry), the final renewal application could be submitted online only by the end of September. Once submitted, I was told it would take a month or more to get a date for the document submission process. To make things more complicated, I had to to move houses, and this meant more paperwork and re-submission. However, since I had not received an appointment, we could re-submit the latest set of documents, and I got an appointment for document submission at the IGI Bucharest for November 1, just a few days before the expiry of the permit.
Having an expired permit meant that both Jo & I were effectively stuck in Romania, especially for the holidays. I had planned to visit Las Vegas for AWS re:Invent and then back home to India for the Winter break. However, with the expired permit and no definitive date for when we’d get our permits meant we cancelled our visits. Technically, Romania was in a State of Alert, and that the expiration status on my permits stayed till the state of alert was lifted - but felt it wasn’t worth taking this risk and explaining this to various officials outside the country who’d see the expiration date and probably say no to boarding.
The appointment at the IGI went with no problems, and I was told I’d get my permit a month after the appointment date. However, because of Covid status, I was told this might get extended by another week or so. 6 weeks later, I finally got an email from my immigration counsel that my permit has been picked up. But in typical Murphy’s law fashion - the IGI issued me a wrong type of permit. Instead of sending the EU blue card, they sent me a Residence Permit.
At this moment, my immigration counsel reached out to the IGI, and they have accepted their mistake and the resident permit that was issued has been given back to the IGI. I’m been told the IGI will re-issue the Blue Card, but it might take another two weeks. We’ll see about returning home maybe in January end or February.