Timing, Uncategorized

Visa Approval

Last week was a huge milestone in our journey to start a new life and church in Australia.  One of the big hurdles for anyone wanting to move overseas is obtaining permission from the foreign government to do so (a visa).  Many people inaccurately think you can automatically go if you are married to someone from that country (like I am).

I applied for a partner migration visa back in October.  After a month-long process of gathering documents including a notarized stack of birth certificates, marriage certificate, copies of passports along with obtaining about 4 new passport sized photos for each family member, my application and the $2200 was mailed off to the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C.  I still had to wait on the state of Texas and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reply with a piece of paper saying I had no criminal history on record.  The process also included a trip to Dallas with the kids to obtain medical checks, chest x-rays, and blood and urinalysis to declare us all healthy.  I accomplished each of these final application pieces mid-December.  And the waiting began.

Everything I had researched said the provisional visa takes anywhere from 5-12 months to be approved.  I would be able to stay in Australia and work legally as well as acquire health insurance.  After two years, I could then apply for a permanent visa to live there as long as I want.  Then, I could even apply for citizenship (I would be a dual US/Australian citizen).

After checking on the status of my application in January, I was told the same 5-12 month timeframe from when my application was received (October).  Our entire future plans rest on this visa being approved.

Well, (drumroll please)… I am thrilled to announce that my visa was approved last week!  Yes, only FOUR months after I applied!  What a relief!  Not only is my visa approved, but I have a deadline for entry which is October 10.  Meaning, I MUST move by October or my visa is void.

Secondly, an unexpected blessing is that the type of visa I was approved for is a PERMANENT migration visa.  This means the two-year waiting period has been waived.  I can apply for citizenship, work legally as soon as I arrive, obtain medical benefits from the Government health plan, and even receive free English language tuition (which I might need!).

God is so good.  He is faithful.  He is never late and never early.  He is always on time.  The fact that my visa took less time than expected means we have work to do and he is paving the way for us to get there and get started.


It’s the Little Things

Applying for an Australian Visa gives new meaning to the scripture “To whom much is given much is required” (Luke 12:48).  I guess since the Australian government is granting me (God willing) the right to live and work there FOREVER, it is entitled to make the process as difficult as it wants.  Last week, we finished up the crazy visa application for me to migrate. Until now, I was only familiar with a travel visa for vacations to see our family.  I had no idea the detailed and expensive process applying to migrate permanently would be.

I applied for a Partner Migrant Visa and since my marriage to Greg is legit I’m sure I’ll be approved. We don’t have any stray children or divorces.  We don’t have adoptions, criminal histories, custody battles, or extra people living with us that we are trying to bring over. Believe me, the application asked!

We did our part to complete the forms as accurately as possible, sending notarized copies of birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, proof of Greg’s employment, and more! We retrieved letters from friends stating our relationship is true and genuine.  Greg and I each had to write an essay on how our relationship began filled with significant memories throughout its 14 years.  We made copies of bank statements and life insurance policies. Greg filled out his “Sponsor” packet as well.

We have sent off for criminal background checks, state and federal.  The children and I also have to have health checks which I thought were nothing more than physicals from our local doctors like you get for Pop Warner football.  Oh boy was I wrong!  Only 5 physicians in the state of Texas (none of which are in Austin) are approved to do these health checks.  There’s a packet of paperwork they have to fill out along with urinalysis, blood work, and chest X-rays.  It added another $1000 to the fees on top of the $2200 for the overall application.

The process is indeed lengthy.  I keep reminding myself that it’s only once in my lifetime that I have to go through it.  And, after two years of living in OZ, I’ll be able to apply for citizenship if I so choose.  Although the Embassy won’t make any promises on how long approvals have been taking, they did say to expect about 9 months. That puts us at July before we can move.

We are praying everything works out just the way it should.  I know God’s hand is in the process and He will open doors in His perfect timing.  We are a long way away from our God-given dream of planting a church.  It’s my job to trust Him and to do my part to handle the details I can control.  Sometimes, what we have to walk out in the natural is what God is waiting for in order to open doors in the supernatural.  Long before we can have a church service or lead someone to the Lord in Australia, I must have approval to live and work there legally.

Whether it’s a teenager who wants a prestigious job, a single woman who wants her “dream man,” or a pastor who wants a platform before thousands, there’s always a not-so-glamorous process leading up that must be dealt with.  Passing the tests before us, day by day, can very well be the missing keys to the open doors we all desire.  God promises that when we are faithful in little, he will give us charge over much!  The “little” visa stamp in my passport will give rise to much responsibility and many lives changed someday!