Now that we are “settled” into our little temporary crash pad, the real nitty-gritty work of pulling off an international move begins. There are sites out there that tell you how easy it is to relocate to XYZ foreign country, and they can show you how. Maybe I should have gone to their $1,000 conference in the Algarve (southern Portugal to which most ex-pats relocate). Oh, right, I didn’t have the money then.
As usual, I am several years and a few hundred thousand dollars too late/short. The golden ticket to moving to Portugal is buying $500,000 in property there, live there for a year, and then you get Portuguese citizenship and an EU passport. That, of course, would be too easy. We do plan to buy property there. After five years of residence, we will qualify for citizenship and an EU passport. It just takes longer, and then there is the whole visa process every year until then.
Have you ever read The Trial by Franz Kafka? That is what it is like applying for a resident visa to live in Portugal. (For what it’s worth, they say it is even harder to get a visa in Spain and virtually impossible in other countries.)
The process is full of catch 22s: you must submit an application online to get an appointment to apply for the visa. You must have an address in Portugal, and a reference there but, you must go there to get them. You will need a residence permit but, you must be there to get one. Ugh. It goes on like that. And I thought the logistics of our move across town were jacked up.
In the too late to be early department, there used to be a Portuguese consulate here in Denver. No more. To apply for a resident visa, if you live in Denver, you must go in person to San Francisco to apply for it. So, it may be much cheaper to live there (in Portugal), but it will cost you to get there.
So, having achieved a visa appointment in San Francisco for the last week of September, I will start compiling the rest of the required documents in the meantime. They include but are not limited to: Notarized printed applications, copies of main passport pages, FBI background check, Portuguese criminal background check form, proof of health insurance, proof of income, declaration of intent (why you want to move to Portugal), reference in Portugal and passport photos (in addition to the one on your passport). Whew.
Thank God for my new friend Simone who’s been living in Lisbon for the past year. She let me use her address so that I could at least complete the online app to get the visa appointment. In the fun part department, I will return to Lisbon and Porto at the beginning of September to find a place to live.
Then there is the process of getting Jiver, our dog, certified to be shipped over. There is another set of rules about the timing of all his shots and letters of good health before we can take him. All must be done in a specific order. And we must fly 48 hours after completion of said shots and certs. Happily, there is no quarantine, so we just need to make appointments at departing and arriving airports for him. Holy moly, it’s a wonder anyone ever has the energy and persistence to leave the country.
Then there is the issue of how to transport him.
I would love to find someone with a private jet who could fly us over. I hate the idea of having to shove Jiver in a box in the cargo portion of the plane. Meanwhile, back in reality. He is a nervous traveler and doesn’t do well on drugs. He was a service dog for most of his life. We inherited him when his person died two years ago. At eleven years old, he is not a spring chicken either. Dilemma.