*Today has been a bit crazy and very busy, so I'm going to write three separate blog posts to highlight the events of the day.
It's been way too long since I last wrote a post on my visa process. My last update was posted on January 10th, the week before I returned to Cochabamba, and you can read it here.
I had hoped to update more on the progress of my documents in the USA, but it was a lot harder to do that when I wasn't actually there. Muchas gracias to my madre for sending off everything to the various offices and then mailing it all to me!
My papers arrived last week, about a week before I thought they would arrive so it was a great surprise! I already knew who I wanted to use as my lawyer for the Immigration process, so I contacted her and we were able to meet last week, as well. I brought all of the documents I knew I'd need with me, and she looked them over to make sure everything looked good and let me knew which other documents I'd need to have ready in the future. She wrote down every step in the process that is left to complete, which documents I'd need for those steps, and the cost of each step. It was VERY helpful!
I needed a few documents from Casa de Amor (several related to the work of CDA and others that would show proof of where I'm living), as well. Tío David and Tía Rosa collected and/or wrote up the documents I needed within a day, so big a big thank you to them as that part of the process was completed quickly!
This morning, I began the official first steps of the process in Bolivia so that was exciting! My lawyer goes with me to everything and then returns for the results and others papers the next day on her own. My first stop was a medical check-up. At the medical check, it was the usual check-up procedures such as height/weight, a urine analysis, and heart/lungs/abdomen check, as well as more random ones such as a blood draw, chest x-ray, and dental check (I still can't figure out why they needed to look at my teeth!). We lucked out and didn't have to wait long for any of it.
After the medical check, I had to get my photos taken. Several of the steps require passport-sized photos with a red background. I knew about this before returning and thought about trying to do this part of the process in the USA. Unfortunately, we don't use red backgrounds for our passport pictures, so I wasn't able to do that.
Last, we went to "Narcoticos," and if I understood correctly, it's actually a Bolivian background check. I assumed with its name that it would be some sort of drug test but that wasn't the case.
Wednesday, I'll go to Interpol, and then there are just 2-3 more steps before all of my papers can be submitted to Immigration. I'm told that after my papers are submitted, it'll be about another three months before I actually receive the temporary residency. Every day that my papers aren't submitted after my first 30 days back in the country, I have to pay a fine, but luckily the fine is halted once my papers have been submitted. As my 30 days have passed, we're working as quickly as we can to get everything submitted by next Thursday!
Sorry but I don't have any pictures to post… Not the most exciting post, I know, so congratulations if you followed along until the end!