Since it appears that we're not going anywhere anytime soon (thank you USA and Brazil for your tag-team disastrous Coronavirus responses *insert eye roll here), I thought I'd bring my blog up-to-date with a slightly early 5 Years In post. (Holy shit I can't believe we've been here for 5 years, it simultaneously feels like a month and a lifetime).
So.. remember when I talked about our immigration timeline? We should be looking forward to Farley's medical exam, biometrics, and consulate interview in Rio. Except the consulate is closed indefinitely due to Rona. We have no idea when that is going to happen. And after that happens, there's still a period where our waiver needs to be approved (which is down to 3-6 months for approval, so that's lovely), possibly an updating of the NVC documents and another interview, receiving the passport with the visa, selling all of our belongings, and the big move. This ain't exactly a quick process. Nor do we want to do it in a way that would cause the kids to begin school in the middle of the school year in the US (meaning, we want to move to the US between May-July) and we especially do not want to move to the US in the winter. NOR do we want to move until the Coronavirus situation worldwide has resolved. (Edit: Once Farley received the visa, he has 6 months to move to the US, so there is a running clock here).
Bit of a pickle, right? That's the update on our current situation. Our timeline is out the window.
Something I've done over the past five years is try to provide advice to other expats about moving to and life in Brazil. Keep in mind, Brazil is a massive country with different cultures (think Dallas vs. New York City vs. Miami vs. Los Angeles). It's not one-size-fits-all. One thing that does ring true through this whole country is: the bureaucracy is a bitch. I really don't think it's that much worse than the US. I used to work for the federal government.. but it's harder to navigate in a language and culture that's unfamiliar. Which brings me to advice number 1:
Deal with the Brazilian Consulates in the US - the more you can accomplish there, the better. They tend to speak English. They tend to be more helpful. Bring any and every document you have each trip. Birth certificates, marriage and divorce certificates, whatever. In Brazil, they want them all. Not copies. Originals. You'll get some documents from the consulate that will only be valid for entry into Brazil, but when you need to get official Brazilian documents from Policia Federal or whatever respective agency once you are in Brazil, having those consulate documents will make life easier. For example, we had our kids' US birth certs. The notorio didn't know what to make of them. We presented the consulate issued some-type-of-but-not-actual birth certificates - ahhh ok! suddenly they got it. The one big mistake we made is that we did not get a marriage certificate from the consulate before we came to Brazil. So when I got my permanent visa and foreigner's ID, it was based on my kids being Brazilian rather than my marriage to a Brazilian. Because of this, my foreigner's ID has my maiden name on it. It is the only identification with my maiden name on it, although my signature on the same card has my married name on it. -_- I'm sure I've written this before, but it makes getting in and out of Brazil a wee hassle.
Small update and tidbit of advice for my first post in forever. I truly wish I was one of those quarantined people bored out of their minds, but I've got more work than ever, homeschooling to accomplish (in Portuguese - ahh!), and somehow I've become maid, butler, and chef to two spoiled children. On the other hand, I should consider myself lucky that this time is flying by for me, I do have a job, and we're all safe and healthy. Lots more to come in the future - stay tuned!