Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Visas and Health Insurance

The last few months have been a journey, and we thought we give you guys an update. (We apologize for the long blogging hiatus...) I'll do my best to keep the story compact, because I feel like it could get away from me.

Recently, I had heard from some other field leaders and workers here that visas were becoming more complicated. There were questions about health insurance and coverage and needing to provide additional documentation. We knew of people still waiting on their visa renewal applications to be processed, and it seemed like we could also face these challenges. We took a "we'll see" sort of attitude because living in the "land of worry and what-ifs" is not a great place to be.

Last fall, we had our first new worker come to Austria since we have arrived. We were so excited to have her here and get her settled in. She started German classes, found an apartment (something needed for her visa) and started to figure out cross-cultural life. We started to get an idea that things could get complicated when she received a letter asking for more documents. One of the issues mentioned in this letter was about health insurance. Bureaucracy is a regular part of life here, and so gathering documents and submitting them has become a normal part of our life. First, we made sure we were reading the documents correctly, because legal German is a whole other language. After that, we gathered the necessary documents and brought them back to the office.

In the meantime, we also were facing a visa renewal. We now live half a mile from the Vienna city limits, which places us in a different province. We went to drop off our documents at a local office and received similar questions about our health insurance coverage and the need for more documents. We submitted everything and waited for a response from the office.