After having our visa request denied, we were back in Houston, almost 1 month to the day and only 55 days before we were set to fly out for good. After hours and hours of blog reading, forum searches, and even a successful attempt to reach the Houston Italian Consulate by phone, we thought we had it figured out. Note: Each Consulate has it’s own set of rules for approving visas. Although there are guidelines established as a minimum by the country, Italy, itself. Each consulate is given complete autonomy for all approvals. They can require more money for cash reserves, more money for passive income and even if you do meet the criteria, they can still flat out deny you. However, this consulate told us we needed 30 days bank statements and proof that we have at least 32,000 EUR in passive income per person. When asked if that “per person” requirement included our 6 and 12 year old daughters, we were not given a clear answer. We were not given an answer at all, only a scolding. The woman on the other end, said “It doesn’t matter what I tell you over the phone, you need to come in person anyways.” I explained that we did not live in Houston, we had to remove our girls from school to even attend an appointment since they are only on weekdays, so I needed all the facts. She fired back that we just needed to bring all our finances in.
We prayed and we prayed and we prayed and we begged and we asked our family to pray and we asked our friends to pray. I mustered up as much faith as I could. If God could create the universe, surely he get us a visa. The real question was, did he WANT us to get a visa. Are we SUPPOSED to move to Italy or are we about to get a rude awakening.
Again we aimed to be 30 minutes early for our 9:48 am appointment. Yes, you read that right, nine: forty-eight lol. We got there about 15 minutes. No need to ring the doorbell this time, the’d been open for a half hour. We opened the door and several families were already crowded into the small office. The same “receptionist” was there, but I had no desire to practice il mio italiano questa volta. I was all nerves. I didn’t even speak until Niko had a hard time understanding his thick Italian accent. “Allen is the family name,” I interjected. “Si’, ci sono quattro.” (yes, there are 4). He scratched off our names and told us to have a seat. This time there were 2 interviewing officers. Yes! God is going to work it out so that we don’t have to go through the other rude lady. In about 5 minutes, the receptionist tells us it’s our turn. I look over to the windows, and yes, we have same officer as last time.
*Deep sigh* She IMMEDIATELY asks for our financials. I hand them over and she looks though them. I quickly explain we moved our employee 401k into a self-managed portfolio of 12 monthly dividend stocks. She looks over the documents briefly. She moves to our tenant’s lease and mortgage statement. She asks, “You have a mortgage?” I respond “Yes.” She asks my husband if everything is in his name. I respond for him, “The brokerage account is in his name but the bank account is joint.” After a few seconds, I volunteer the information that we have a notarized Letter of Financial Support for myself and the girls signed by Niko. This was required since my name was not on the dividend account.
She put the papers down and asked, “What about your contracting job?” We told her Niko resigned and furnished a print-out of an email reflecting that. I also hand her my severance letter from TransAtlantic. She looks over her glasses and says “You cannot work. YOU CANNOT WORK. I am going to write it on your visa.” We laughed and responded, “That’s fine. We don’t want to work.” She asks for our marriage certificate, birth certificate and copy of our passports. She then asks for our Italy lease and comments how nice of a city Genzano di Roma is. Her whole countenance has changed. She laughing, joking, cheerful. The appointment lasts about 20 minutes. She tells us our visas should be ready within a week and asks whether or not we wanted to pick it up or have it mailed to us. THANK GOD! I cannot explain the level of relief, happiness, and thankfulness I had. WE’RE MOVING TO ITALY!!!!!!!!