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Bureaucratic hell in the West: electronic queues are broken, banks don’t even have mobile applications

Date: June 17, 2024 Time: 06:57:15

KP asked his compatriots who, as fate would have it, are in Europe, Israel and the United States, about the bureaucratic difficulties they face due to “crooked” digitalization.

Photo: Shutterstock.

Foreigners who come to Russia are surprised by our electronic services. Convenient banking applications, home delivery for little less than everything… And, of course, government services. Visitors from other countries are sometimes surprised to bring their credit card to the trolley bus terminal.

KP asked his compatriots who, as fate would have it, are in Europe, Israel and the United States, about the bureaucratic difficulties they face due to “crooked” digitalization.


The moment of truth for European bureaucracy was the pandemic. Olga, who has been working in Germany for several years, says: After COVID-19, many departments did not return to their usual welcoming conditions and completely relaxed.

– Previously, it was at least possible to go to the migration service during office hours to solve a problem with documents or receive advice.

Now no one answers calls, you have to write emails. But the response to the email arrives, in the best of cases, in a month or you don’t even receive it,” Olga complains. – Well, you can only send documents by postal mail, there is no talk of digitization. The answer arrives again in an envelope.

The next circle of German bureaucratic hell is the Bürgerbureau, the Public Service Center. You can only arrive by appointment.

Available spots are updated from 5 to 6 am. This means sitting at your computer at dawn and frantically refreshing the page in the hope of getting the coveted window, for example, to apply for a passport. Many people encounter this problem when changing registration in their place of residence.

For example, Thomas Müller moved from city A to city B. The lease for the new apartment states that Thomas moved there on July 1. By law, he has one month to register in the new city; Otherwise, he faces a fine, which increases monthly. What happens if you can’t find a free space? And the only response to the emails is: “Wait and refresh the page.”

“Don’t laugh,” Irina, who has been married to a German for a long time, adds to the image. – My bank does not have a phone application, only a website. We cannot pay directly by credit card on public transport. There is an application to pay for parking, but half of the parking spaces are not listed on it!

My friend from Poland wants to get citizenship. One of the conditions is that you must pass the “Leben in Deutschland” exam on your knowledge of the history and political structure of Germany. To register (and the exams are held in schools) you need to call schools in several cities. In one of them a free “window” was found four months later. And it turned out that checking 33 answers (these are just options – the applicant must choose between A, B, C and D) will take another six months.


Sasha married Italian Matteo, a native of Milan. The couple initially lived in two countries, and after the wedding, in 2021, they decided to settle in Italy.

– We applied for a residence permit at the local questura (immigration police), after waiting in long lines. The document itself was ready in two weeks. We were told that you can follow the preparation on the website, but it is terribly inconvenient; the latest updates were there under Julius Caesar,” Sasha complains; “I had to go in person many times to find out how things were going.

The next test was registration.

– The municipality rejected me due to an error in my residence permit. For some reason, instead of the country of birth of the USSR, Russia was indicated there.

And without a residence permit, you are not given a codice fiscale (tax code) or a tessera sanitaire (a document that gives you the right to medical care). My husband and I were going around for several months and no one really knew what to do.

As a result, they offered to change the residence permit. We picked up our documents again, paid the fee and stood in line. The new document was written only a month and a half later.

I came to pick it up and it had even more bugs than the first one! I angrily pestered the policeman by demanding that he give me a written guarantee that next time the document would contain the correct data, but he refused. So I decided not to apply for this new residence permit and stayed with the previous one.

Paradoxically, six months later, all officials of the same commune, whom the girl had bothered with her complaints, mistakenly agreed to issue Sasha a residence permit and other residence documents. It’s true that before I had to stay at home all day waiting for the police to arrive, who were supposed to come and check if Sasha really lived in this apartment…


The ability to instantly transfer money using a phone number appeared in the United States only a couple of years ago. Until now, many people transfer payments using archaic methods: by issuing a bank check or purchasing a so-called one-time money order. And they send them by mail (where they often get lost). The popularity of money orders is due to the fact that there are many illegal immigrants in the United States for whom banks do not open accounts.

For a long time there will be no analogue of Russian “state services” in the United States, since the forms of ID cards, rates and types of taxes are different in each state. Speaking of taxes, Americans are forced to purchase $100 computer programs to help them complete tax returns. Of course, you can contact a certified accountant, but this will cost you $300.

Filing taxes yourself is a thankless task, Alexey, who lives in New York, explained to us: it is necessary to correctly mark in each declaration (and there are several: federal, state, municipal) all types of income: salary, interest. on deposits, profits accumulated in investment and pension accounts, income from the sale or rental of real estate. The slightest mistake can lead to prison: tax crimes in the United States are among the most serious.


Of course, there are websites of institutions here: hospitals, the Ministry of the Interior and even the general government GOV.IL, which promises all kinds of services. However, digitization does not guarantee its availability. For example, in Israel it is extremely difficult to “catch up” in line to obtain a foreign passport. But places are sold on the dark web for a decent price. The same goes for waiting in line for an appointment with a doctor: if you manage to get to a therapist relatively quickly, you will have to wait several months for an appointment with a cardiologist, orthopedist or pulmonologist.

Inga from the suburbs of Tel Aviv shared her problems with “KP”: “To get a new Darkon (foreign passport – Ed.), I paid 200 dollars; That’s exactly what the queue at the Home Office department cost me in the near future. Otherwise, he simply wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. There are no seats. And on Telegram channels there are hundreds of offers: you want it for tomorrow, you want it for the day after tomorrow… I waited two months for an appointment with an orthopedist, who recommended me for a CT scan. Referral is electronic, as is registration for testing. I will have this CT scan in 4 months!”

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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