Back to BFE, USA and points west.

Having returned from ten days in Portugal, I now had two days to finish preparing for our visa appointment in San Francisco.  I may have mentioned that BFE Denver, Colorado, does not have a Portuguese consulate. Rumor has it that it once did but, that was before my time.  So…if you want to apply for a resident visa to live in Portugal, and you live in BFE, Denver, you must go in person to the Portuguese consulate in San Francisco.  Online sites say how easy it is to move to Portugal.  These are bald-faced lies; easy it is not!

Among other things required to obtain a resident visa for Portugal are: (and they don’t mention them all on the “official” site, mind you) $3,000 per person relocating deposited in a Portuguese bank account (See the previous post on the catch 22s of opening a bank account over there!) and, ideally at least $50,000 in liquid assets, read cash, per person as well.

I also read that everything (all documents) should be in duplicate.  I compiled a list of documents, in duplicate that included all items on the Portuguese consulate’s list of required items including  letters of intent (why you want to live in Portugal, and what you plan to do while there.  I’ve also read that you had better keep it simple and doable because they judge your worthiness on how probable your statements are to actually happen).  Proof of plane tickets to Portugal and back, because you must come back to the States to renew your visa every year for the first five years.  Here’s the kicker:  how do you make plane reservations when you don’t know when the visa will be approved?  If you don’t plan to return to the city in the US you left, you can’t get round trip tickets and…then what?!  Oh, and I was also told to include birth certificates and marriage license, if applicable.

Holy mother of, can you believe it?  It is a miracle to me that anyone pulls this off.  You had better have the tenacity of ten Jack Russell terriers to get through the process.  I could not figure out what to do for plane tickets since I had heard that they are not always required.  I purchased one-way tickets to Lisbon, leaving on October 20th.    This date was a stab in the dark.  I got the travel insurance knowing I would probably have to change the date.

I was freaking out about it after my friend told me you HAVE to have a return ticket.  The night before the visa appointment, as we sat in a hotel room in Burlingame, California (S.F., by the airport), I purchased round trip tickets with random dates in September 2019 from Lisbon to L.A., Ca., and back from my, oh so smartphone.  Another two grand.  Ka-Ching.

Ok, now I felt as ready for this appointment as I was going to be.

It took the better part of an hour to get to the Portuguese consulate in San Francisco from near the airport.  (Another reminder of why we want out of BFE, USA:  Traffic hell!)  When you think of government offices, you probably think of an office building, right?  Well, the Portuguese consulate is in an old house in Presidio Heights, a residential neighborhood!  We arrived within ten minutes of our first appointment.  Joe was scheduled at ten am and I was up at ten-fifteen.  There was a couple ahead of us, and we weren’t seen until about ten-thirty, and then they took us together, contrary to what is stated online, that it is one appointment per person.  No problem.

After looking over our paperwork, we were told that our reference had to be in Portugal and that we needed a letter from them, so my friend Simone was out since she was coming back to the States in October.  FFF!  What was I going to do now?!  Oh, and take your time getting a reference letter to them because their systems were down and would be till…???  And there are 15-16 applications ahead of you.  Once our application was complete, it would be at least six weeks for visa approval.  Welcome to European government bureaucracy.  Can you say DISAPPOINTED?!  Ok, time to regroup.

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