I had to renew my residence permit today.
As a non-Ph.D student, my residence permit is good for about six months. Renewing it means a trip to the local office of the Directorate of Immigration, Útlendingstofnun (which more or less translates to “foreigner’s office” and is often referred to just as “UTL”) again and waiting for my papers to be processed and my photo taken for a new ID card.
It’s actually not a terribly difficult process; take a number, wait for it to be called, present your papers, pay a nominal fee (6,000 ISK, or about $50 USD), and then wait a few more minutes to have your photo taken. The whole process takes less than an hour, and the UTL office isn’t far from campus … and you have to go to campus anyway to pick up a form certifying that you’re enrolled full-time and making satisfactory progress in your studies. All in all, it’s pretty simple.
It occurred to me while I was waiting, though, what a difficult job it must be to be one of the employees at UTL. Every day you deal nonstop with people who probably don’t speak your language, may or may not have followed instructions correctly when filling out their forms, and almost certainly would rather be somewhere else. Yet the UTL starfsfólk manage to be patient, helpful, and way more friendly than I would probably be under the same circumstances.
And my renewal came through with no fuss, no muss, and no bother. So I get to stay a bit longer!