Friday, July 24, 2015

The Spanish Consulate in San Francisco

Finally, I feel like the biggest hurdle is behind us now. At 8:30am on Monday morning, our family walked up to the doors of the Consulate of Spain in San Francisco to present our student visa applications. I was scheduled to be seen at 9 am, Jose at 10 am, Erika at 10:30 am, and Mia at 11:30 am. There were lots of people starting to fill up the lobby. There was a sheet on a desk that told me how I needed to assemble the student visa packet. I had already assembled our four packets in nice, neat order like the instruction sheet on their website so I had to rearrange everything while sitting there. It would have been helpful if they had just published that sheet to the website in the first place.

A lady came down and called my name so all four of us stood up to go into my appointment. She said that there was no need for any of them to come up and that they should go take a walk or get something to eat. Even though our appointments were all spread out, she sat down with me and we went through every single one of our applications and processed them right there. She asked me lots of questions here and there but I had everything that was requested. The only thing I didn't have correct according to their sheet was that the girls birth certificates and my marriage license had not been issued within the last 90 days, they had only been apostilled within the last 3 months but she didn't say anything, just stamped them all. She gave me back our originals from the state background checks, medical certificates, marriage license, and birth certificates. She inputted something into the computer and gave us four receipts for our visa applications so we can track the status online.

  1. National Visa application and copy with two passport photos
  2. Valid passport and copy of the biographic page
  3. Identification from your state and copy (we used our driver's license to show Oregon residency)
  4. Original acceptance letter from your university and copy (or Carta de nombramiento for Auxiliares)
  5. Original letter from your health insurance (must have zero deductible, minimum $30K coverage, and include repatriation. 
  6. Evidence of funds
  7. Original Medical Certificate and copy dated within 180 days
  8. Original Background Check and copy dated within 180 days
  9. Copy of Airline Itinerary
  10. Correct change or money order for the visa fees ($160 for US, $65 for Jose as non-US)
On the visa application, it was fairly self explanatory to fill out. For our address in Spain, I filled in the address for the University of Salamanca since we don't have a rental lined up yet. I signed us up for a medical insurance policy under Atlas Travel. A ten month policy for the four of us cost me $1509 which was cheaper than the World Nomads policy I had been planning on purchasing. In order to bring Jose and the girls with me, I needed to prove sufficient funds to cover us so that we wouldn't have any reason to work and therefore take away potential employment from a Spaniard. The visa application says $800/mo and doesn't mention a spouse or dependent children. I had to do research on the Spanish Immigration pages to find the true requirements: Estancia por estudios. I had to show 532,51 for myself, 399,38 for Jose, and 266,26 for each child. That added up to a total of 1464,41€. That roughly equals $1607.04 at today's exchange rate. That gives me a very tiny margin of wiggle room providing that the exchange rate doesn't go any higher against the US dollar. I printed out a copy from the VA website showing how much I receive in monthly disability compensation and a printout of the last year of deposits to show it was consistent. We also have our tax refund in the bank so that is going to be our vacation fund. The medical certificate was easy enough. The template was on the website and our family doctor just copied it onto letterhead, gave us a brief medical exam and signed off on it, all without any type of vaccinations, just a reminder to look into any possible issues that might warrant them. The background checks were super easy for me, I even fingerprinted myself and did Jose's as well. I bought our airline tickets months ago so I printed out a copy of the receipt and the itinerary and that was all it took. Now we sit back and wait the approximate one month until we receive the passports with visas in the mail. 

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