Keep in mind as I finally finish this one off, that ANYONE who only talks about how great he or she is and how great everything is on the ground is either a bald faced liar or they will shortly be trying to sell you something. There is a blog from a guy in town,
, who is one of the best. He tells it like it is and he tells about his blunders too. Great guy this Rich is. You just have to suffer with him a little when it just didn’t go as expected. I reference his first Belize trip.
I now have a page in facebook called, wait for this, wait, wait —–TheNewExpat.
Whatever you do make sure you keep up with Johnny’s radio show at www.ExpatWisdom.com. The archives for his shows are at http://prn.fm/category/archives/the-expat-files/#axzz2SBgxFXX7. Johnny talks a little about my great house find on his May 3rd show.
Seriously consider the next Expat Seminar. Go here for info. http://expatwisdom.com/la-insider-seminar-june2013/.
And lastly, plug into Richard Martin’s the Wake Up Call on www.Prn.fm. You can get directly to his archives at http://prn.fm/category/archives/wake-up-call/#axzz2SBgxFXX7.
Let’s talk Residency.
What you are after is:
In Guatemala, cédulas are made of paper, folded and stapled booklet style, with a blue cover. They are about the size of credit cards. Municipal governments typically issue them for their residents. Cédulas are authenticated by the signature of the local Civil Registry.
Let’s just say you want to establish that residency requirement in an effort to work towards a second passport. I am up in the states for a few weeks and at first glance it all seems pretty simple. 1) You need a certified birth certificate. 2) You need a criminal background check. 3) A copy of your passport with it being authenticated. 4) You will need a verification that you have at least $1000 per month for a single person and $200 more for any other family members. Sounds simple enough, huh? Think about it a little. You are probably going to have to make a rather lengthy drive to get to a Consulate. If you are like me, you will want everything in order.
So I call the nearest consulate. “Yes all the above is correct, but I am not the one who actually does the processing.” That is okay, I say. Let’s just go over it. Anything special on the birth certificate. ”Nope, just a certified copy and hopefully with a raised seal.” Hopefully? Damn, I was born so long ago mine is on papyrus and I am not sure it had a raised seal. So I just order one off a site on the Internet. I did www.vitalcheck.com. I will give that info now and if it all goes to crap in a hand basket, you will know who not to use.
===========================Update. Birth Cert. Yep it was a failure but not so much on their part, but mine. It turns out that two weeks after the promised 4 day delivery date I check the confirmation email. It is is not a confirmation, but a request for more info. To heck with them, I live close to the capital of this state, I guess I will go and stand in some eternal line. I walk into the state records department with a half hour before closing and walk out 15 minutes later. Why didn’t I do this to start with? ———-Update. This was the only one of the four needed documents accepted at consulate. Cost $10. And, oh, BTW, my lawyer told me afterwards that the birth certificate was not needed. However, don’t leave home without it.
Okay, that is on the way. It says on the website everything has to be translated. Another call to the consulate and I get the person in charge whose English is, uhhh, much more limited than her accent. She says, “No, it doesn’t have to be translated.” And it didn’t. ===Ended up that the lawyer down here get the translation service as part of the fees I pay.
2) Next on the list is the Criminal Record. First I hear you can go to your county sheriff. Then I hear FBI. Then I hear highway patrol for your state. So off I go to the state police department. At first I thought about using the web for this too, but heck, HQ is only an hours struggle in traffic. Ugh. Well, darned good thing, because while it looks really easy on line, guess what? You still have to get get fingerprints, so you still have to show up at one of their offices. I go down Monday. Play musical chairs. Pay my $15. Play musical chairs. Get called back for a picture and fingerprints. ”Thank you very much. Your record will be available Wednesday after three for pick up.” Skipping ahead. I go Thursday. Easy enough on Thursday I have that piece of the puzzle.. JUST DON’T WRITE ON IT.
============Update after Consulate visit. OMG! Who wudda thunk? Not only did state police sign but they had a notary on the form, therefore it was REJECTED! If there had only been a signature, it would have been accepted. To fix had to go to the Secretary of State in the capital of my state to pay for another Authentication.
3) SS office — I always go to the SS office in one of the small towns, because it seems that each and everyone of the people there failed Government Worker I and couldn’t even get into Government Worker II. Those that fail that course are sent to smaller offices where they smile and make customers feel important. As you know, to pass those two courses and make it to the higher levels of government, you have to have no personality with an abundance of a don’t give a crap attitude. Oh, Guess what? It is such a happy place that they only work from 9-3 each day, happy hour at 3:15, but on Wednesday it is 9-noon with happy hour starting at 1pm. No wonder they are so nice.
==============SSA letter —- Semi Rejected. The name of the agent could not be read. The consulate person who approves said she would call SSA to verify it was signed by one of their agents. Cost was $10 at the consulate.
4) Copy of Passport. This takes a Notarization of your signature stating that this is a copy of your Passport. Really? Office Depot for a copy. To my local bank for the Notary. The Notary will probably be a separate page and it was attached to my one sentence hand written affidavit. THEN YOU NEED TO GET IT AUTHENTICATED ! Easy enough for me. One hour to the Secretary of your state’s office. One more hour in traffic. You need to go to your state’s Secretary of State office. You walk in, give them $15, show an ID and you are off.
===========Update on the Copy of Passport—-REJECTED! The bank notary of the page where that said this was a true copy of my original passport is not sufficient. You need a notary stamp on each and every page and most bank notaries cannot do that. The fix? Went to a UPS store and paid $96 to get a notary of each and every page including a copy of the front and back of cover. Back to the Secretary of State to get that Notary Authenticated. Cost another $15. Yet to see if this will be accepted.
So made the drive down to the nearest consulate after picking up the birth certificate. Found the consulate. Got a room at the Days Inn just down the street ($140 for a Days Inn, you gotta be kidding) and got to the Consulate first thing the next day. You don’t need to stand in line which was wrapped around and back to the stairs. You go to the room and go to the SMALL WINDOW. They take your docs and then about an hour late, Ms. Donis, another of the most pleasant Guatemalans will come out to discuss whether you have a mess or not.
Remember from above?
- Birth Certificate – Accepted.
- Criminal Record – Rejected
- Proof of Income – Semi-Rejected
- Passport — Rejected
FedEx-ed Passport and Criminal Records to the consulate along with a pre-paid return envelope. Any bets on whether this is close to the end or not? Me either. That is why I spent the time to drive to the Consulate to make sure I got everything in hand before flying back.
Cost so far. $45 to Secretary of State. $40 to Consulate when all is approved. $140 for a stinkin’ Days Inn. And let’s say about $300 for driving back and forth to the consulate, Sec of State, State Police and Vital Records, @ about 50 cents a mile.
And for those still reading. When I got back from Front Sight, the papers were there. I successfully got them back to my lawyer, where I found out the Birth Certificate was not needed. He said he would get them translated and to the proper agency and by the end of the next Guatemalan week I should have my permanent residency. The end of the new Ewe Ess week would have been Friday, April 26th. Today is May the 4th, so quite obviously the Guatemalan week has not come.
OH, and one more thing? Did I hear you ask what the cost is? Through Johnny’s seminar I met Jose, Ese, the Lawyer. His charge is $1500, but you can try these people below who only ask $8,000.
The choice is yours. Book the Expat seminar ASAP. Seats are filling up. I will see your there.
Que tenga bueno dia.