Well I have good news and bad news. The good news is that my mother-in-law was able to get a 10-year multiple entry visa to visit the United States. The bad news is exactly the same as the good news.
As I have blogged about in the past, getting a Visa to enter the United States as a foreigner from a third world country is very very difficult, expensive and time consuming. Most of the difficulty comes in showing proof that the foreign resident has reason to return to their country of origin. On our first couple attempts, we tried showing documentation from my MIL's employer, her church, charities, and other assorted people stating that she was planning on returning. We also documented the fact that she has rental property that needs my MIL's presence for upkeep. Both of those attempts to get a Visa were denied.
Through various websites, I discovered that one of the best ways to show proof that a foreign individual will return to their country of origin is a large bank account. To me this makes little sense because I can transfer money from one account to another anywhere in the world without ever setting foot in either of the two countries involved. What's to stop my MIL from transferring her account once she got over here is a mystery to me. But over the previous two attempts and off and on through the years, we have sent her money that she deposited in her bank account. On the third attempt at a Visa last year, she was granted one but only for a single entry within six months. Though we hadn't sent any extra money since now and then, this time she got a ten-year multiple entry Visa. I guess she got the embassy official reviewing her case on a good day.
Fortunately for us, that means she will probably travel here to visit us in a couple months which is a darn sight easier than the three of us trying to get clear over there, especially with Little Abbey just slightly over a year old. I think hell sounds a lot better than spending 24+ hours in a plane with a one year old who can't go ten minutes in a car seat without getting bored. Unfortunately, it means my MIL will be able to come for an extended visit, perhaps up to two months in length. I know I couldn't live for two months with my parents again so I suspect that living two months with her mom might make my wife go crazy. The one saving grace is that there is an uncle (brother to my MIL) down in Dallas, Texas whom we could send her too for a while. I hope he is prepared for the long haul.