December 23, 2015
We have our flight back to Oslo today. I never did finish the story of how we got our new Schengen visas, so I’m tell that first. Who has ever heard of getting a visa at a police station, but we told we would so we dutifully turned up at the police station. The policeman authorized to issue visas was out on avalanche duty and we were asked to return the next day. We went to the police station the next morning but the man still wasn’t there. He had gone to pay his respects at a funeral. We were flying out the next day and this would have been a very good moment to PANIC, but in SVALBARD there is no reason to panic. The man at the police station collected our passports, and promised to call us once our visas were ready. When we hadn’t heard from him by 4 p.m. we simply turned up at the police station again. The man handed us our passports, new visas in place, and application forms which he asked us to fill based on the visa. That’s it, we had our Schengen visas issued in half a day. Just like that.
Too good to be true? Here’s the glitch. When we arrive at Oslo, I clear immigration but the husband is asked to step aside. It seems his visa has been cancelled. He shows the lady both visas. She checks again and sure enough the old one has expired and the one is cancelled. He tells her our story and she figures they cancelled the wrong visa when they gave him the new one. The husband is ushered into a room, while I wait outside for a little more than a hour. In the meanwhile, RP has collected our luggage and been shooed out of the luggage hall for hanging around for suspiciously long. When the husband finally comes out, the situation has been sorted and the officer is apologizing profusely for the inconvenience. It’s two days to Christmas and the immigration office is understaffed. Even so, they managed to resolve the issue in a relatively short time and were very polite and respectful through the entire process. I am floored.