The following excerpt is from my wife's blog, "The Real Paraguay." She perfectly captures our exceedingly long, exceedingly tedious, exceedingly frustrating attempts to procuring a temporary resident visa. Keep in mind that this is just one step in our journey.
I have much to say about the past 2 days, but before I do I really want to warn you that it is not positive or upbeat. On Monday we went and got the new documents that we had finally obtained, copied and notarized. We then walked into the immigration office hopeful but not naive. I can't say I was surprised that after looking at ALL of our documents they had more for us to do, but I was surprised that it was 3 more things. I then realized that this could go on forever. We could return with our 3 new documents and there could be a new list. It could be never ending.
We now need to get fingerprints sent to the F.B.I. (even though we have fingerprints that were already processed and say F.B.I. on the back and were told those were fine the first time immigration looked at our documents), we need a letter from Andrés' University saying he is a student there (even though we have a receipt and a schedule from there) and we need to get our tourist Visa that Paraguay issued legalized. Sounds simple? Not quite. Today we went to the U.S. Embassy to get fingerprint cards. They don't do fingerprinting there, but they will give us the cards (which are exactly the same as the cards with our fingerprints that we already have but are inadequate). After going through a tremendous amount of security, going into the entry one at a time, through a metal detector, scanned with a wand and bags searched, we were walked to the Embassy main enterance by a guard. We were then directed to the office we needed and there were only 2 other couples there. We took our number and waited. Both couples left and we sat there, and we sat there. Finally a guy motioned us over and told us that there would be a security drill and we had to go outside. So we headed towards the door and another guy told us we could stay here and wait. It should take about 10 minutes. Now all we need is finger print cards, keep that in mind. As we are waiting, 3-4 groups of people come in. When the employees return, one lady immediately goes up to a window and begins to get some help. I didn't really mind that she cut in front of us since she had a crying baby. We continue to wait, patiently with our number, thinking that we will be the next to be called. We wait about 20 minutes and after everyone else had gone up to ask questions, we decided to as well and were told to wait for our number. 5 more minutes go by and they call number 97, we are 98. The people that came in after us go up there. I look over and see their number 99 sitting on their chair. 5 more minutes go by and they call 98. We walk up they hand us the cards and we leave. Needless to say, I am not impressed with our Embassy in Paraguay.
Now we get to go to Interpol where they actually do fingerprinting. Oh did I mention it was 35 degrees celcius which is about 98? We get on a bus- no a/c, luckily it wasn't crowded. We get off and walk about 10 minutes to get to Interpol. This place was really high tech- that is a joke. We were pulled into a room that did have a/c- yeah! There was a black stamp pad and the guy ran our fingers over the pad and pressed them into the cards. Our fingers were black afterwards. I don't know what solution was on the rag he gave us to clean off our hands, but it worked amazingly. There was not a trace of black ink on our hands when we left. In total it cost us $20 so far.
We then headed to a mall that was about 10 blocks away. Now the sun is down, so it is much cooler. We had to go to the cyber cafe there to use the printer. We needed to print out the cover sheet and payment form of the F.B.I. We were able to accomplish that easily. And we headed home. We were able to catch a bus after walking about 6-7 blocks. I was tired and just wanted to veg out in front of the T.V Well that was derailed since our power was out. I cooked dinner by candle light and we ate in silence since we were so tired. I decided that we needed some vodka and chocolate so we headed off to the store. That was definitely the highlight of this day. Tomorrow we are off to Fed Ex to send our fingerprints off. That will cost about $35 and the F.B.I. will charge us $32 total to process our fingerprints. It should take 3-4 weeks to get them back. That will give us plenty of time to get the university letter ($6) and tourist visa's legalized ($40). I am now convinced this process will never end, nor will the expense!