Yesterday we met with the consular agent here in Albuquerque, Elisa, to review our elective residence visa application and documentation. Elisa is a transplant to New Mexico from Venice who examined our application in detail, was pleased with our documentation and signed off on our paperwork. She gave us some last minute details and wished us best of luck. She doesn't have the authority to approve the application or influence its approval.
We then took the packet of information and went to the post office to obtain a money order for $117.80 to cover the fee for two and then dashed off to a Kinkos/FedEx store to make a few more copies, complete the FedEx forms and dropped the whole packet into the FedEx outgoing box. As the door closed we both wished this packet "Godspeed" as it heads off to Los Angeles.
The packet we sent to the consulate for approval consists of: a visa application for each of us, a letter from us outlining why we are applying for a visa, documentation of how we will pay for our 1 year visit, FBI background checks, a letter from our friends in Rome on our housing (lettera di invito), proof of health insurance, a copy of our plane itinerary, our passports, a set of passport photos, the money order, a pre-paid FedEx return envelope and a set of copies of all documents. We included an index page and tabbed each item for easy reference for the consulate and placed all of this in a 2 pocket folder. Elisa said we had a good, organized bundle of documents. She was actually quite impressed with it.
Submitting this application is not a guarantee we will receive a visa, but we have spent a lot of effort in learning and providing what the consulate will want in order to remove any potential threat of the consulate to deny our application. This package is now on its way to the powers that be and in God's hands, we not-so-patiently await for the return of our visas.