February 7, 2012

The Many Phases of Getting a Brazilian Visa

Phase 1: Confidence
This phase happens when you first decide you are going to move to Brazil... Excited and nervous, getting a visa is just a small stepping stone on the way to your adventure.  You look online, start to look at the documents you need, you even realize that you already have most of the documents!  Score!  Then you notice that you have to get your fingerprints checked by the FBI... This leads to Phase 2...

Phase 2: Aggravation
This phase is when you realize that this is not going to be as easy as you thought.  Where do I get my fingerprints?  What is the address of the FBI?  How long is this going to take?  How much is this going to cost?  I have to get a money order?  FML...

Phase 3: Determination
Ok... It's just fingerprints, I'll take a half day off of work, go down to the county jail, get my fingerprints taken, mail them on to the FBI, and wait... Should take, we'll give them some time, 3 weeks?

Phase 4: More Aggravation
The county jail in this Podunk town that I live in is closed on Mondays...  So now I have to take another afternoon off of work...

Phase 5: Completion
Fingerprints are mailed in to the FBI, you have done all you can do for the time being and all there is to do is sit back and plan your future trip to Brazil, maybe you are so confident you even make an appointment at the consulate a month later...

Phase 6: WTF
Where are my fingerprints you stupid FBI assholes!!!! Oh... I can call this number to check the status, let's call and make sure it didn't get lost in the mail!  Average waiting time is 8 weeks????  I'm so glad that the organization that catches our most wanted criminals is so efficient!

Phase 7: Discouragement
10 weeks later... I still haven't received my fingerprints, I still have to mail them to the Brazilian Embassy in Washington DC... I am NEVER going to get my visa... I'm going to have to live in waiting for THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!!!!

Phase 8: New Hope
Brazilian husband calls the consulate and realizes that when you speak Portuguese the rules change... I don't need my fingerprints certified by the FBI after all!  I don't need to send them to the embassy in Washington DC!  Maybe this will happen in another couple weeks!!

Phase 9: Blinding Frustration
Brazilian husband also realizes that when you speak Portuguese you understand that you need to have a marriage certificate certified by the Brazilian government before applying for a visa... That you need to then show up and drop off your documents, wait for 2 months and then show up again to get your visa.

I began applying for my visa on November 1st of 2011.  I naively thought that I would actually have my visa before my husband got his US citizenship...  So we now have an appointment at the consulate for the day after my husband's citizenship is final to start the 2 month process of getting a Brazilian visa.  This is assuming that my fingerprints from the FBI arrive by that time (It has now been 12 weeks).

I often look at a website made by Expats in Brazil called www.gringoes.com and the most common complaint is about Brazilian bureaucracy.  If this process is any glimpse into the future frustration that I will face, I'm not sure if I will be able to survive over there!

Phase 10: Indifference (Current Phase)

Brazil? Meh... Whatever.  I'm cool here hanging out watching Fox news 24 hours a day with my dad...   I guess the FBI will probably send that paper eventually, maybe...  Maybe I'll still be home for next Thanksgiving!  That will be cool... I won't have to pay for a flight at least...

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