Give Me Visa Approval or Give me Death!

( I’m pretty sure that death would be quicker and less painful!)

Well, it’s the end of December and as everyone says to me lately: you’re still here… yup, we are still here in beautiful BFE, USA.  Ok, not so beautiful when the high probably won’t crack 20 degrees tomorrow.  Not to mention the government shutdown due to mango unchained and his hare-brained ideas.  I was hoping to be gone by October and here we are staring down the barrel of January 2019.

Let’s recap, shall we?  We started the process of moving to Portugal last March 2018.  Ten months later it feels like we are no closer to achieving that goal than we were then.  Now, a lot has happened since then and here is my advice to anyone contemplating a move to another country:  do not believe what you read on the internet.  There, I was told that a resident visa could take anywhere from two to four weeks for approval and that Portugal was one of the easier countries to emigrate to.  A friend who resided in Lisbon for a year said it shouldn’t take more than a month.  On December 24th (X-mas eve, bummer!) it was 90 days since we made our visa application and we are still waiting.  (Granted, the Portuguese visa website says to apply 90 days out and hey, it’s the Portuguese government, after all.  Could be worse, I guess; could be Spain or Italy.)  It may take more than twice as long as you think to get that resident visa approval and will certainly cost you at least twice as much as you might think.

Once again, I am reminded of Kafka’s The Trial and have started to suspect that our government idiocy isn’t helping our cause any. If only I could have done this two years ago.  That is when I decided that I wanted to relocate to another country and it is now over two years in the making.  I never could have guessed that it would take so long.  I thought, six months, tops.  Boy was I unclear! 

Since first submitting our online visa application in July, which got us an in-person visa application appointment in San Francisco in September, it has been almost six months.  The time disconnect between the online application and the in-person appointment (Not to mention the stress levels involved!) caused me to forget that in the email I got acknowledging my online application, at the bottom it listed a site where I could check the status of my visa application.  Which I completely disregarded since we weren’t there yet and wouldn’t be for a couple more months.

I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago and thought, wait a minute, wasn’t there something about checking visa status somewhere?  After going through months of emails, I found it and the password to access the site.  Hallelujah!  Now finally, maybe I could find out something about our progress.  Here’s what it said… there are four stages in the visa application process:   Application acceptance, consideration, analyzation and finish.  Our applications have been analyzed.  Or, as I like to say:  we’ve been done, duly analyzed!  So, now we know that we are one step from our visa application process being finished.  What does that mean, exactly?  Diddly squat from where I’m sitting.  We are thisclose, apparently, although what that might mean in real time, I have no idea.  Just as in The Trial, is seems to have no end.

My assessment of the whole process?  I think that resident visa approval to move to another country is a moving target (like trying to nail jello to a tree) that depends on timing and political climates.  Five years ago, I’m sure it would’ve been A LOT easier.

As a result, we are looking forward to a bleak and dismal New Years and we are still waiting.  Ugh.  Darkness before the dawn?  I can only hope as we go on month number four of paying for two places to live, one unoccupied and where we want to be.  (Having an address in Portugal was one of the resident visa application requirements.) Let’s hope that the new year will bring good news ASAP.  In the meantime, happy new year and I hope that we will have a happy one next year.

Thanks to Mark Baylor for reminding me to keep at it!

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