Sticking with our Bambi vs. Godzilla analogy, it’s safe to say that Bambi is on the ropes and Godzilla is working the torso. Feeling like we’d done all we could, we met with a firm that specializes in Polish hoop jumping for foreigners (otherwise known as paperwork). Bringing in the big guns got us more forward movement in a week than we’ve had in months. That said, even with our Heavy Hitter in the ring, Godzilla has struck a low blow.
A foreigner can only be in the Schengen Zone (comprised of 26 member states) for a total of 90 days in a 180 day period. It doesn’t matter if those days are consecutive. Going in and out does not reset the clock. We had hoped that because Amber and Daxon’s applications for temporary residency are still in process that they would be allowed to stay beyound the 90 day limit. On Monday we were told this is not the case and they have to be out of Schengen by May 23rd.
With Matthew’s work visa expiring at the end of June, our first step is to get Matthew temporary residency. This would exempt him from needing a work visa and could possibly be for a year or two (which feels like an amazingly long time after all of our bouncing around). Once Matthew is approved, Amber and Daxon can be approved as dependents. Our Heavy Hitters are helping with Matthew’s forms, reviewing Amber and Daxon’s and filing paperwork to link our three applications.
The Bad News:
The firm helping us estimates that it will take a minimum of 2 months before Amber and Daxon are approved. That’s a long time apart.
The Potentially Bad News:
Matthew’s application for temporary residency has to be accepted on May 14th otherwise we get too close to the 45 day deadline (a file has to be opened 45 days before a visa expires). Even if the Polish office requires something further, we need to make sure they open a file for Matthew next week. What’s unclear is if they will require a new work permit (Zezwolenie). Matthew’s boss at the language school doesn’t think it’s possible to get this while Matthew is in the country but the Heavy Hitters think it’s possible. We’ll see what the office says. If the state office asks for Zezwolenie, we could be in real trouble.
The Doomsday Scenario:
The state office won’t accept Matthew’s application without Zezwolenie and Matthew cannot get a new one while in Poland. Thus, Matthew would have to leave Poland and his visa would expire. At that point any time Matthew spends in Poland starts eating away at his 90 days in Schengen and we would be back at the proverbial first square.
We’re working as hard as we can to get Matthew’s applications through. Amber and Daxon return from Romania, where they are working with a Tattered Tiaras Global Challenge Team, on May 18th. We’ll have a few days together and then in the short-term they are going to stay with friends in Europe, but outside of Schengen. We’ll make more decisions once we know more about Matthew’s application. We’ve only had 2 days to think, pray and plan so keeping Amber and Daxon as close as can be in Europe is the best option for our little tribe.