Back in February, I never would have imagined that the process of getting a visa is so complicated! Jeremy and I first started getting our documents together to send to Brazil on February 13. Yesterday (204 days later!!), we received the official publication that states that Brazil approved our visa! This is VERY exciting news! Praise the Lord!
However, getting the approval doesn’t mean that we can go to Brazil yet. It means that we are now permitted to apply for our visa with our regional Brazilian consulate (in New York City). We started preparing for this process at the end of last week when we received unofficial word that our visas were approved. As with every stage of the process, we were met with some challenges.
Short Story: Despite many challenges, we are now ready to make an appointment with the consulate.
Long Story: Our consulate requires an FBI clearance when applying for a visa; based on the information we were given, we thought we only needed a state background check. For those of you who haven’t needed an FBI clearance before, it takes a LONG time; we were panicking a little bit. The FBI’s website stated that it would take a minimum of 30 days to process after receiving a person’s fingerprints, so we decided to use one of their “approved channelers,” a company that will do it quicker. Unfortunately, Cogent is the only one with locations in PA, and it only gives results to PA agencies (like Department of Education). Consequently, we had to use a channeler from another state; this required us to get our fingerprints done on our own and mail them to the channeler. This wouldn’t be a problem except that our local police department in Pine Township doesn’t supply fingerprint cards. We went on the hunt for fingerprint cards and found them on eBay and Amazon, so we ordered some. While waiting for the cards to ship, we looked for any other option. We came across Pittsburgh Fingerprinting Services, a mobile ink fingerprinting company run by a retired Pittsburgh police officer. We ended up meeting him at a Starbucks and getting our fingerprints done. Then, we overnighted them to the channeler and got the results back yesterday. This worked out well considering the fingerprint cards we ordered were not shipped on time.
The new challenge is making an appointment with the Brazilian consulate. Their website states that you must have an appointment to apply for a visa, but the website doesn’t provide information about how to make an appointment. We have called the consulate a few times, but as soon as you say the word “visa,” they immediately transfer you to the visa department’s voicemail. We have also emailed them, but they have not responded yet.
Despite the fact that the visa process has been beyond frustrating, we continually tell ourselves that God is in control! In fact, last night in my daily reading, I read Ecclesiastes 7:13: “Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?” This was a great reminder that it is best to submit to God’s will.
Prayer Requests and Praises
Prayer Requests (new ones in pink)
- We get our visas! (We are a GIANT step closer but not there yet!)
- We are able to communicate with someone at the consulate to set up a time to apply for our visa
- The consulate is able to process our visa quickly!
- Safe travels when going to NYC (2x) to apply for a visa and to pick up our visa
- God prepares us to effectively do His work
- Financial support will be raised (Jeremy will be providing an update very soon!)
- Being nomads–adjusting to not having a place of our own and living with family
- We received approval to apply for our visa!!!!
- We have had a lot of free time to spend with family, friends, and each other.
- We have gotten a positive response from some friends and family regarding our financial needs.
- We have a free place to stay while waiting for our visa.
- Living with my dad and stepmom has been going really well.