Well, that was an exciting morning. And yet, ultimately, the system works. There’s a lot of waiting around, but if you can afford to wait around, then you’ll find things turn out okay.
I’m such a huge sack of privilege. I know it.
So, for some context. Lo these 17 years ago, when I first came to Finland, I was granted a temporary residency that allowed me to live and work here (as long as I had a place to live and a place to work – don’t ask me how the system operates, I just flail my way through it on a heady mixture of luck and good looks). After a few years and at least one timely and paperwork-satisfactory renewal, they granted me a permanent residency permit that stuck into my passport and was valid as long as the passport was valid.
I even remember, back in 2007 it was according to the date of issue on the inside cover, I got a new passport and they transferred the sticker there from the old one, so it was still valid.
Fast-forward another ten years, January 2017. When I got my new passsport I called up the Migri people and asked them about moving the permit again to my new passport.
 The Finnish immigration bureau.
“Oh, we don’t do the sticker in the passport thing anymore,” they told me (I’m translating from the Finnish here, all this red tape can be considered punainenteippi for the purposes of anything I do with the Finnish government). “There’s a permanent residency permit card you need now.”
So I went to the website, found the papers I needed that applied to a long-time resident moving his permissions from the old card to the new one, printed them out, made sure I had the requisite passport copies and correct-sized photo, then checked out where I needed to submit all this stuff.
That would be the Migri office. Where the next available time slot was at the end of March.
Fast-forward two months through the wonders of the written word, and I was there at the Migri office door at 07:00 just to make sure I could find the place and there weren’t any surprises for me that might affect my 08:45 appointment.
Turns out I couldn’t get to the office door, because of the crowd of people already waiting outside in the freezing cold. For it just so happens that if you don’t have two months of work to go to and house to live in while you wait for your luxuriously appointed time slot, you need to get in there and press the button to get yourself a number. Which is basically like this:
That’s me on the left, in the awesome hat. Believe me, I was keeping an eye on my paper.
Well, it’s not exactly like this, because in practical terms all the people in that waiting room were already dead, so they had all the time in the world to wait. The ones at Migri were just mostly-dead, so what Migri has done is implemented a system where the first 60 people to turn up get a number, and the rest are told to come back even earlier next business day.
Which is why there was a line halfway down the street an hour before opening time.
Anyway, I had my appointed time that I’d been waiting two months for, so I left the crowd, went and had breakfast in a nice warm McCafe, then sauntered in at 08:40 and was sauntering out again by 08:50. €101 poorer, but at least that’s that sorted for … well, probably the rest of my life. Permanent card is permanent.
 I don’t know why it’s €101, and not €100. I think that extra €1 is important so the desk guy can go and get a coffee from the vending machine.
So, I am documented once more, if indeed I was ever undocumented. Oh, and they got my fingerprints this time too, which is a first. As I said to my friend at work, guess I can’t murder anyone now – or if I do, gloves.
Next up: Citizenship!