The good news is that we're one step closer to getting the documents we need from Russia! The bad news is that we've got about 15 more steps to go before we can even APPLY for our Czech visas. Please don't stop praying for us as we work through this process.
While we're used to dealing with foreign visas, registrations, permits, etc., we've never encountered anything quite like this, and it's going to take a bit more time and a great deal more money than what we anticipated. Since we will be in Prague for longer than 6 months, we're required to complete a longer, more detailed visa application. When we submit these applications with our passports, we must also produce:
- Background checks from every country in which we've lived for more than 6 months within the last three years (hence the Russian document dilemma)
- Apostilled copies of our marriage license
- A notarized letter from our bank, stating that we will be able to access our funds via ATM or wire transfer while living in Prague
- A recent bank statement, showing a minimum balance of $3,500 (This requires some creative budgeting & banking...)
- A copy of a major credit card accepted in the EU (numbers may be blacked out) proving that we have a line of credit
- A letter from our employer (RCE, in this case) stating that we have a legitimate purpose to serve in the Czech Republic
- Letters from the school in Prague, verifying that we have been asked to come and serve for the next term
- A rental agreement from a landlord in Prague, proving that we have a place to live
The fun doesn't end there. :) Any document that is not originally in Czech must be sent to a translator. Each translation must then be notarized. (The low estimate for these steps is $45 per page.)
We had hoped to be able to submit all of our paperwork to the Czech Embassy by the 15th of April (because Czech visas can take up to 4 months to process, and we need to be in Prague by the 15th of August.) As of today, we have ZERO documents completed and ready to send. They are all in various stages of readiness.
If you're looking at all of this, shaking your head and asking yourself, "Why do they bother?", well, we feel called to serve at the Christian International School of Prague. We believe this is the direction in which God is leading us to go. No one every said it would be easy. This is just a part of "counting the cost" and preparing to go.