Saturday, December 20, 2008


I learned last week that my visa that allows me to work in Portugal is the wrong visa. Apparently the company applied for the type of visa that allows me to work in Portugal but for an American company, whereas I work for a Portuguese company. What this means, in short, is that I’m here illegally at the moment (shhhh).

Our HR department has apparently known this since June and was kind enough to tell me about it in December. They’ve applied for the correct visa, but the Portuguese authorities don’t move that quickly. The locals say that if the government employees work too fast then it will be obvious that half of them aren’t needed.

The lawyers, as you might expect, chose the cautious (and law-abiding) route and told me, first, to not leave the country and, second, to go back to the US until this is resolved. The problem with the first is we have plans to go to France for X-mas, and the problems with the second are too numerous to count.

Then, by a miraculous stroke of luck, my French citizenship was granted the other day. Since my dad was born in France he recently regained his French citizenship and, as his son, I’m eligible for the same. It took many months of paperwork but I now have a French birth certificate which I took to the French consulate in Porto to apply for a passport. I can then apply for a work permit in Portugal as an EU citizen which should make all the difference.

In the short term, this means that we will get to go to France for Christmas and introduce 3-month old Amelia to her 91-year old great-grandfather. In the medium term, it means we should be able to continue living and working in Portugal for a while. And in the long term, we will now have the opportunity to live and work in any EU country without having to worry about visas (thanks, Dad!).

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