The Shifting Sands of Visa Requirements

The Shifting Sands of Visa Requirements

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What visa will I get? One of the great cross-cultural questions.

When people are exploring a call to move, thinking through their strategy and options, the visa question is right at the heart of this. It has to be. It is essential.

A dangerous tendency that I am observing, however, is when people orient their entire entry strategy around meeting visa criteria. This can so often lead to disappointment. It’s like building your house on the sand.

Why? Because entry requirements into countries are the most frequently changed of laws. Visa criteria are constantly changing. You could spend five years working towards a certain entry strategy, only to discover that the sands have shifted and the criteria are no longer valid.

There are so many complexities to consider when planning to relocate. Family timelines, schooling options for the kids, qualification/ career timelines, team and ministry timelines, wider strategic priorities and concerns. All of these, along with visa requirements, should be in the mix. We are cognisant and practical about all of these things. But none of them are the rock on which to build your plan. None of them are fixed and unchangeable.

The rock, in this scenario, is the calling of Christ and the leading of the Spirit. You may argue that the guidance of the Holy Spirit is subjective, intangible, not at all rock-like, but that, you see, is the great deception. We think that the tangibles in our plan, like money and visas and jobs, the quantifiable things, are the substance, whilst more subjective aspects, like prophetic leading and reactivity to the Holy Spirit’s voice, are like ever-shifting sands. But we are wrong. It’s the opposite.

Build your plan on the rock, not on your visa requirements!

On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is shifting sand.

Andy M

Andy M

Andy is involved with cross-cultural church planting in the Middle East. Connect on Twitter.
Andy M

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