Yesterday I finally acquired my Cartão de Residência, the permanent residency card. (US readers: think green card.) While I am delighted to be freed from the annual stress of reapplying for a temporary one-year visa, I do have one question.
My temporary visas were plasticized cards, the size of credit cards, which fit nicely in my wallet and were easy to carry around. But my permanent residency card is a sheet of thick paper — paper! — which is folded in thirds and which will never fit into my wallet. Not only that, but I’m going to have to find a plastic pouch to house it, or it will fall apart long before it expires.
So my question is, why in the hell is an annual, temporary visa in hard plastic ID card format, while the permanent residency card is just a piece of paper? Didn’t anyone in the bureaucracy look at that and say, “Hey, this is exactly backwards”?
It makes me think of all those spy thrillers where the police demand to see the protagonist’s identity papers. I never realized until now that the phrase “identity papers” is literal.