Faced with the latest unexpected development of the early expiry date on Merv’s residence card, I had little confidence in obtaining any answers from the latest contact number provided by the commune. Instead, I contacted our trusty Madame M by email to find out why Merv’s residence card was valid for a much shorter time than mine. After all the hoops we’d jumped through so far to establish Merv’s residency on the basis of mine, we’d expected that we’d be entitled to stay in Brussels for the same amount of time.
Madame M quickly confirmed that there had indeed been an error in the date. Our residency periods should be the same. We were offered a new appointment for Merv to go back in and resubmit the paper work and photo for a new residence card. Even though the error had been made by the foreign office, they could not simply issue a new card. It was up to us to start the application process again. I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised – this is Belgium after all!
So it was back to the commune for Merv…
I went through the motions of applying for my replacement residence card and waited for another convocation letter in the mail. It arrived just days before we left for our trip to Australia, and having missed the designated 3-hour weekly window for collection it had to wait until our return. Luckily the card I had already been issued was valid for long enough so that I had no problem being allowed to re-enter Belgium.
It was with a now familiar sense of déjà vu that I waited in the liaison office for my number to be called. By now I knew the drill – I signed my signature on the electronic pad, and placed my fingertips on the scanner for my prints to be recorded. I was then handed my shiny new card – with the correct date this time! And even though I’d been assured that my new card would be issued in French, it was still in Dutch. But with everything I’d been through to get to this point, I figured I could live with this minor detail.
After one whole year of being in Brussels, everything was now in order. I was finally a legal resident of Belgium for the next year – yippee! I could now start thinking about making work and travel plans and exploring some more of Europe with Bec. This is going to be a great year for us!