We spent the weekend filling out forms from the Department of Immigration, applying for a visa for Andres to enter the country, and then Leanne spent a couple of hours this morning trying to pay the fees for the application.
The confusing thing about the paperwork is that you cannot actually apply for a visa to enter Australia while you are physically in Australia – it needs to be done via one of the embassys or consulates overseas. It took a little while to get our heads around the process (and even confused the people at immigration!) – but we aren’t actually submitting the forms here in Australia, we just have to pay the fees, and then send the forms along with the receipt showing we have paid, over to the Australian embassy in Santiago, Chile.
The embassy in Chile deals with the British embassy in Bogota, Colombia who perform consular duties on Australia’s behalf in that country. The basic process from here is that the Australian embassy in Chile assesses the visa application including arranging for health checks (testing for things such as HIV or Tuberculosis) so that a visa can be issued allowing the child to travel to Australia, at which point he can become an Australian citizen.
Once we have approval for Andres to travel, we will fly to Colombia to start the legal process over there to get permission for him to leave the country (where one of the prerequisites is that he has already been issued a visa to enter Australia – hence doing that part of the process first).
Tonight we had a meeting with the lady from the adoption support group who deals with the orphanage on our behalf. She went through the details of what else we need to do now, and then what will happen while we are away and what we need to do when we return. She also had suggestions on things we need to take with us, and the names of families who have recently travelled to Colombia who would be able to help answer any other questions we have about the trip.