This is going to be super long, and there's a lot of cussing, so I apologize beforehand! If you have been following along, you know we have been through the wringer and then some. Our Journey started in January when we decided to move to Spain. We hired a lawyer and began obtaining our paperwork. I made a lot of mistakes and, at the time, very much was mad at myself. Our Lawyer was very attentive and kind, so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. We applied mid-June when we sold our house to qualify and had it kicked back, even though it was approved through email. The Consulate wanted additional forms, and I also believe the Consulate was pissed that we submitted the order incorrectly.
This is where I should have known something was off...So I am a person that has been through a lot of things in my life, and although I laugh (great sense of humor, I think hehe), am friendly and very open-minded, I have also learned that everyone I rely on screws me over. I mean, everyone, not being hyperbolic this time. This has led to me being a very do everything myself person. As I say, "Why can't I do all the jobs, for everyone, all the time." I know that's not a great way to self-care, but things won't happen if I don't do it (except for Johnny who has been a great partner through this process)!
I didn't want to hire a lawyer. The paperwork seemed pretty straightforward, and I'm smart most of the time. My only anxiety was that I did not know enough Spanish to feel like I could navigate all of this, wanted a guarantee of getting it as we SOLD OUR FAMILY HOME (thought a lawyer would guarantee), and wanted support in Spain. Not speaking the language fluently was freaking me out. My whole existence and career have been communicating, so this was the first significant anxiety I had felt in a long time. I told Johnny I'm leaving a country where I communicate great but can't find people to be close to for a country where I can be close to people but can't communicate. Never easy is my way!
Fast-forward to July 28th where we finally can reapply. This time we were getting our Lawyer to go through it with a fine-tooth comb, over multiple days. Now for someone who doesn't easily trust I guess my kryptonite is Spanish lawyers. I used a lawyer in the states a while back for something else, and it went great, so I think I forgot that an excellent lawyer is an exception, not the rule (nothing against the good ones).
A few weeks after submission, our Lawyer unexpectedly quits...uh. Yay, more people to trust; what does this mean for our case? I am freaking out. I get a friendly email from the new lawyer that says how we will be their priority, and they know how complicated this process has been. I guess what little hope and trust I had, blinded me to all of the red flags so far. Johnny kept telling me something was up, but I thought it was just his overally realistic pooping on my parade that he gets sometimes. I should have listened.
On September 27 (about nine weeks) after submission, I received an email from our new Lawyer that states they just found out that our items expired due to processing time, and we will be resubmitting a few documents. I was distraught and emailed a pretty heated email while being respectful, and demanded the email correspondence. Cue a new Lawyer, someone higher up thae food chain that was a wiz at this supposedly and was going to get us all fixed up!. I knew that this meant someone had done something wrong, and they were trying to fix it fast.
Now let me tell you something I can go from friendly to ghetto real quick, but I have learned over the years to have pretty good control of my anger. This woman is fortunate I am not using her name or calling her exactly what I think of her, but I'm a grown-up now (I guess). I will say DO NOT USE CARBRAY...I know I encouraged seeing them in past posts, which I will now correct, and most of you have had a positive experience, but with the now 3 lawyers from there I have used, I got completely screwed.
So we are talking to the 3rd Lawyer, and we keep getting items added on that we need. They are not responding to emails I send about financials. It takes them 5 days to get back to us after multiple emails from me. She responds with some crap that she never got an email and can't legally respond or read an email after 3 on Friday when they get off, and that I need to be more patient with her?! I am frustrated and explain in an assertive and not rude way that this is entirely unacceptable. The response I get from her is so patronizing. Here is my side of the email.
"Here is the email I sent to you on Wed, and it is not my fault that you did not see it or read it. I have been more than patient since June. I do not appreciate being talked down to about my patience as I have been incredibly understanding and patient throughout this whole situation. I may have made a mistake by hiring a lawyer firm that is 9 hours ahead, doesn't work after 3 on Fridays, and doesn’t check emails. These forms should have been sent to me last week when I was told that after waiting for months, and then another 9 weeks of waiting after our second submission, I found out that it was rejected again. We have spent 1000s of dollars on you thus far, and honestly, I had been too patient and understanding with our last lawyer..
These are our lives. We sold our house with the good faith that your law firm would be thorough and timely, which has not been the case. Apparently, there is 0 compassion from anyone or concern for how this is affecting us. I have encouraged many people to come to your company on my blog, and ironically they all are on their way to Spain while I am still here.
As mentioned before, I would like the emails sent by the Consulate, and you and ******** continuing to evade that request is ensuring me that something was done wrong on your lawfirms end. At this point, I do not care what you did, but I want the emails to ensure that I am doing it correctly, as I can not trust that your law firm will be timely or thorough. I could go on and on, but you get the point. I have not felt supported since the beginning as I have organized this entirely on my own and, as such, have made a ton of mistakes and need help.
I want the emails that the Consulate sent you to be forwarded to me today so I can sort this mess out.
I lose my shit, but it's not like I cussed her out or something But apparently my being assertive is too aggressive because I'm sure lawyers have never had frustrated clients before. Here is her response
I understand your situation and do my best to make it done asap. Please, note, that I have recently received your case the way it was and doing my best to get it finished successfully within my working time, established by Spanish legislation. I am not authorized to read the working email out of established working time. I have sent you all the forms necessary from my side, re-request the new certificates of your medical insurance (see attached), reviewed the documents you sent. I would appreciate the same respectful treatment in the communication, as you receive from me.
Your visa was never rejected. In case of rejection you would receive the official resolution we would have to appeal against. In your case the documents were returned for the correct submission.
Please, do not worry about the order of the documents for submission. Once we collect all of them and get them translated, I suggest you to schedule the call and I will help you to prepare the package the way it must be to avoid the same issue.
Meanwhile, I remain attentive to receive:
The penal record certificate with the apostille (adults only)
Medical certificate signed by doctor (all applicants)
Once you check the motivation letter and would not wish to change anything, please, get it notarized and send me for the review.
Please, let me know, if you would wish us to request the translation (would be practical to collect them all and send for the translation).
Tiffany, I remain attentive to hearing from you soon,
With compassion to your situation and all the possible support,
I know this sounds nice but the smart ones know how to fluff up their insults, and soon you will see we are totally right. Side note I love how she believes that saying she is compassionate after not being compassionate is supposed to convince me? So I am fuming at this point, but we need to turn in a few more pages, and we will be done so I can suck it up...
We started to think back to many months ago when the Consulate had us mail in a box for them to send us back our application to reorganize it. VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE STORY. I emailed the she-devil, and point-blank asked her again for the emails and if we need to request our documents back. I let her know that she was not our Lawyer when we did this the last time, and we are surprised that they aren't asking for this as well as other documents. She tells me (which I have documented in emails) that she reviewed all of our correspondence with the first Lawyer (bullshit we exchanged sometime 3 emails a day) and that WE DO NOT NEED TO REQUEST OUR DOCUMENTS BACK. Side note I am so pissed writing this that I forgot caps locks existed and have been holding down the shift button to capitalize. I swear!
So because Johnny and I know this makes zer0 sense, and for the 3rd, maybe 4th time, they haven't even acknowledged our request to forward us the emails, we know we are screwed. We talk to our excellent Facebook tribe (that's you all) and post asking whether we have been screwed, and can anyone fix this, etc. I also send the Consulate an email that I posted below.
"My name is Tiffany. I am applying with my son and husband, Jackson and Jonathan. I know you are very busy, but could you please send me the correspondence that you sent to my lawyers at Carbray. We have submitted our application 2 times and are on our 3rd attempt. I believe they have been messing up things and will not forward us the most recent email you sent requesting new documents for a 3rd submission. We sold our house to move to Spain and have been living in hotels since June with our 3-year-old son and dogs and are very scared that this will never happen as our lawyers are not helping us properly. Please let me know what it is you exactly need or forward me the email that was sent to my lawyers xxxxx and xxxxxx at Carbray Law Firm."
Sincerely, Tiffany Libby
I thought that was a pretty nice email and to the point...so here we are Tuesday the 8th of this week, and I receive an email midafternoon from the Consulate, and I am completely knocked on my ass. What I did not know at the time was why they were so upset with us. I was hurt, and confused...I discovered why later.
I am receiving emails from you directly and from your lawyers at the same time. We are a Government Office, and we can not be dealing with the disagreements that clients have with their lawyers over a visa application.
We are here to process visa applications when they are presented the right way and not to be revising them repeatedly. At this time, we are processing over 1600 applications.
Due to the circumstances that we have been living with the last months, in order to make it easy for applicants, we implemented the possibility of reviewing the documents before sending the application in order to give you the opportunity to know what was wrong and fix it before sending it.
In your case, we have been reviewing your applications for months, in which you have sent back without the corrections we asked for.
All the documents you sent with your application are expired, so you will have to send a prepaid box for us to send you everything back.
We will not process any application that has missing or expired documents.
If you decide that you want to apply for a visa to go to Spain, you will have to follow the instructions, get all the required documents, and make an appointment"on our website to present your application.
So here I am in my car down the street from the hotel where I parked, reading this and completely freaking out. I'm thinking I pissed them off by communicating with them; what have I done? I instantly respond with:
"I am so sorry to inconvenience you as I know you are very slammed. We want more than anything to be going to Spain and want to do everything right and were not told this was the case. Thank you for taking the time to contact me directly as we have not wanted to cause anymore burden for your department…I will forward this to my Lawyer as this is conflicting from what I was told and I will be sure to do the next application right as to not be denied."
I call Johnny and hysterically start crying, he calms me down enough and tell me to walk to the hotel. I'm crying the whole way and not hiding it because I don't have to hide my feelings because of others judgment (boom). Walk into the hotel room and saw that I was so upset that my backpack was completely unzipped and hanging open (thanks all the nice people who said nothing). I looked around, and luckily nothing fell out.
We talk, and I calm down and start to create a backup plan which includes definitely firing our lawyers so I email them:
"We will no longer be needing your services at this time. I would like to receive a refund of the money we've paid so far. I understand that you're coming in and attempting to fix the mess that was created by my previous Lawyer and are not directly responsible for this. However, due to******* negligence, we have not only wasted months of our lives but tens of thousands of dollars. We were suppose to be in Spain July 11, and now it is unlikely this will even happen by the end of this year, if at all. I have spoken to other representation that says how this was handled was completely botched by your company. I paid for a service that I not only did not receive but in fact made the process worse. I also am legally due the emails that were received by the Consulate regarding my case which I have asked for numerous times and have been ignored."
I am going to share her gaslighting bullshit response which may not infuriate you yet, but just wait; we are getting to the important part. I am a therapist who specializes in trauma, and Narcissistic abuse so I know exactly what she is trying to do. I told you to remember something a few parts above. It is ridiculously long, but I feel like you need to see this in its entirety to feel the big reveal fully!
I still suggest you to have a call, as it is more convenient to discuss the things.
When I have received your case for the assistance, in a short period of time, I did everything that depends on me:
Prepared the forms with the new dates and updated information and sent it to you
Prepared the new motivation letter and sent it to you
Requested the new certificates of the medical insurance and sent them to you
I have recalled your correspondence with Fiona, where she asks you to send the documents for the review. You did not send them before the submission, that is why she was not able to make sure that everything was correct. I have also asked you to send me the complete motivation letter notarized to make sure the document is complete and correct, and for some reason it made you angry. The responsibility of the lawyer is to check the complete documents and its content, and if you don’t send the document, as requested, it is not possible.
As for the consular emails, please, kindly see them attached. In the chain of the correspondence you will see, that firstly, once your case was sent by Fiona by the email, which is required by the consulate to be done before the effective submission, the consulate answered with the email from 4th of June, requesting to complete some information in the applications and to send the ID of Jonathan, and Fiona did it. After receiving the complete case by email, the Consulate confirmed with the email from 8th of June that the case is complete and you may proceed sending by Fedex or DHL. And so you did. After reception of your case, the Consulate required the responsible declaration of not working during the year of residence. Please, kindly note that the Consulate is authorized to request any additional document they consider necessary and they expressly state it “The Consulate Administration has full authority to evaluate and request more documents than those listed above.” Please, kindly see the link to make sure that it is true http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/LOSANGELES/en/InformacionParaExtranjeros/Pages/Residence-Visa.aspx
Coming back to the consulate’s emails, in the last one they sent on 13th of September, they indicate that the forms that were sent, were still with the previous dates, and that the balance at your account was 280 USD (you may see it in the chain of emails attached). I do not localise this banking certificate in your folder, it was never sent for the review.
Regarding the last banking certificate you sent me , you have over 66.000 USD, which meets the requirement of economical means, the active medical insurance, and once the penal record certificates and medical certificates are ready, the case is complete and may be submitted. Taking in consideration that you meet all the necessary requirements, I see no reason for the denial. To get it done asap, I just need your collaboration, as we agreed when I received your case.
I completely understand your feelings and do what depends on me. The General Manager will not authorize the refund regarding the clauses 21. and 3.2.2 of the accepted proposal and it is one of the parts that does not depend on me.
Any other representation you could have contacted to, would be happy to tell you, that the way the case was handled is completely botched, to have you as the client and to make you pay once again what you have paid already.
Tiffany, once again I suggest you to have a call to discuss the plan of actions. I prefer transparency in communication, that is why I sent you all the communication we had with the consulate, where you can see what happened from their side as well.
I propose you all my effort to complete the case successfully from the point and the way I´ve received it.
I remain attentive,
This B***' apparently thinks I'm stupid and thinks she knows more about my case from the handful of emails she read than I do, the person who has eaten, breathed and slept this...who also has every email exchange. She is blatantly lying and making up scenarios that did not happen. She attempts to blame the entire incident on me and then, as expected, refuses to refund any of our money! I didn't even know the levels of angry I could reach until I finally received the emails from the Consulate. She attempted to use these emails to demonstrate that somehow this is my fault and sent this email to me....read it and see if you can see the important part mentioned above. Here's a hint for one of the lies.... we were told by our new lawyers that they had heard from Consulate that we were denied on September 27
Translated for your convenience
De: . Con. Los Angeles. Visados Enviado el: lunes, 13 de septiembre de 2021 9:50
Good Morning, The Libby family's applications were received at this Consulate on July 28. As indicated to Ms Libby when her file and that of her family were returned, she had to complete it and update all the documents, but they resubmitted all the documentation as they had sent it the first time. All the forms are signed with the date of May and March, not with the date of the month of July in which they sent the file. The most recent bank statement is from March, when they submitted the request in July. As the instructions indicate, it must be the last three months. The balance in the accounts they present is $ 280, which is totally insufficient. The medical certificate is issued in February, so it expired in May. The criminal record is from March and expires after 90 days, so it expired in June (one month before the application was sent). The first time you submitted the application you were not denied it and you were given the opportunity to complete and update it, but as we indicated, you resubmitted the same. In case they wish to proceed with their visa application, they must send an envelope so that all the documentation is returned to them and they update and complete it according to the requirement that was made to them at the time. Greetings.
So did you catch her lies? Because I sure as F*** did This holier than thou asshat had the ovaries to send me a novel about how I messed up, refuse to refund me, and thought she was showing me by sending this email. She was so on her Narcisstic high horse that she didn't see that this email shows that she not only has not been keeping up on my case but has actually been lying...idiot....here is my response where you will see the crap if you did not before.
I read the most recent email from the Consulate stating that we sent expired items and incorrect items. I was not told by ***** that any of those forms needed to be updated before it was resubmitted. I had her check everything before we resubmitted multiple times over multiple days before we resubmitted. The emails from the Consulate were never provided to me so when they say they informed us, they did not. They informed ****** who stated that everything we resubmitted in July was exactly as it was supposed to be. She may not have realized they needed to be updated, as she believed since they were processing, and we were adding documents that it would be fine, however that is not my fault. I had no personal problems with ***** but this is how it went during the entire process.
Also in the email sent and received on September 13 it specifically stated we need to provide an envelope to have our application returned to us. ******* nor you informed us of this. I specifically asked you if we needed to obtain our items so that we can reorganize it and fix it which we had to do previously, and that I wanted you to make sure because you were not our Lawyer when we had to do this with *****. You said you have read everything that happened with ****** and we did not, which was either a lie or negligence. See consulate reference below.
“Por todos esos motivos, se les ha solicitado que envíen un sobre prepagado para poder devolver las solicitudes y para que ellos las completen y ordenen según especificamos con anterioridad.”
As with ****** I would ask if things needed to be done she would not know, or forget what was said by the Consulate and then we would turn in and it would be wrong. If I had not reached out to the Consulate I would never have learned that my documents needed to be sent back so we could fix it and would have further irritated them and wasted more time.
The email I received from the Consulate was horrible and it was due to the fact that they have clearly told your law firm what was needed and they believed that your law firm had communicated this to me, and I had willfully ignored them, which not only hurts our case but implies something about me that I am not. I did not turn to your law firm because I am incapable or unintelligent and need help collecting documents. I came to your law firm to help as I do not speak Spanish well and would need support when setting up a TIE and when communicating with the Consulate, all apparently I could have done with Google Translate, and would have been far more successful.
How dare you try to tell me that this is my fault! I find it amusing that in the chain you sent me, to prove to me that it is our fault, the very top email from the Consulate tells you a very specific action that you nor ****** were able to see or did not tell us to cover the past negligence. I am an intelligent person I have my Masters Degree. I am a therapist and remember what people tell me for a living and if that was not the case I have also documented this entire process in detail on my blog, as well has have kept every correspondence that was between ****** and I. I also have critical thinking skills and know when I am being deceived.
As lawyers you will obviously never admit that there were numerous errors and mistakes, but do not gaslight me or talk to me as if I do not know what happened. Again I am not naïve enough to think your law firm would take responsibility and refund me as you are lawyers and understand there is very little we can do but you did not need to add insult to injury by treating me as child. Obviously you are refusing to refund me and I have very little recourse about that as you are in another country. If I had more time I would try to sue as a point of principle.
The only court I now have is the court of public opinion and am going to make sure to document all of this on my blog. I am not usually this type of person but the fact that you throughout this whole process have evaded, talked down to me, and flat out lied has infuriated me enough to be like this. ***** may have not known what she was doing but at least she was kind, understanding, and apologetic, which is why I gave her the benefit of the doubt, and was very polite to her. I do not want any emails from you continuing to blame me for this travesty. Also one last thing I noticed the Consulate sent this email to your law firm on the 13 of September and we were not notified until almost 2 weeks later on the 27 with lies.
Tiffany Libby This is what I call the classy f*** you. I also am kinda proud of my adding kindest regards cause apparently if you say something nice after a pound of being a dick it doesn't count. And two can reference things!...So this is our life. We no longer feel comfortable applying at the Los Angeles Consulate as the bridges have been burned, they are backed up like 4 months, and can't afford to stay in Los Angeles any longer...
We have been deliberating for days on our next steps. Reading all of your helpful posts and in a crazy turn of events will now be applying to move to Portugal. I told you this was a crazy twist! I will write another blog about us going back and forth because we still aren't 100% sure whether we want to try again for Spain or go forward with Portugal, and I think you have read enough for one day...I will list our reasons for Spain or Portugal, and maybe you can help us decide with feedback because it really has been invaluable.
The last thing. I really hope I didn't overwhelm you or list too many emails in this post, but if you think I should cut it down please let me know! I'll have a post up probably by tomorrow because time is of the essence.....tune in for the next chapter, in our sequel, The Portugal Visa Saga