Friday, December 18, 2009

The other "B" word

Bureaucracy is a beast and a burden.

Bureaucracy is even hard to spell (I always have to google it), so naturally it is even more complicated to be embroiled in. Now that we have decided to move back to Chile, we are just starting those pesky little issues of paperwork, that we now fully admit, we should have done years ago—like register our marriage (so that it is recognized by Chile).

Though we have a Chilean Consulate a 2.5 hour drive from us, from what we have gathered, we are supposed to register the marriage in the consulate that has jurisdiction over the state where we got married (which is San Francisco since we got married in Oregon). That, of course, started a panic—how can we pay for an unplanned trip? do we both go or just one (depends on how we want to register the marriage)? What to do with the kids?

Dealing with that panic, we discovered that the document we were given when we got married, is purely ornamental… not an official legal document. So I had to figure out how to get a copy of our legal marriage license.

I asked one woman if we could just register it in Chile, she said yes. When I asked another woman she said it can’t be done in Chile. Of course, to get my visa, apparently we have to do it anyway, so that’s that.

We also have to register the kids, so that they can officially be considered Chilean. Since the kids were born in Texas, we have to register them at the consulate here. Though it is not standard practice, the consulate here offered to let us sign for our marriage registration and then dispatch it to SF, if I could get the consulate in SF to agree to accept it. (We have to show them our marriage license anyway to register the kids.) The woman in SF told me (very curtly and unhappily) that it should not be done that way but that if I could arrange it with the consulate here, then so be it.

It is going to take months...

I have to start gathering my own Visa-required documents, such as an FBI background check which required me going to the Department of Public Safety and getting my fingerprints taken. Good times… especially with two kids running around.

Plus I had to take G in to her 4-year well-check. She was so excited that she got to go to the Doctor because she hasn’t gone in a long time, but always comes when I take Nico. She had to get a couple booster shots. She hadn’t had a shot in probably two years, so though I told her it would hurt a lot, like a bee sting, she was totally unprepared for the pain. She was so pissed!...and proceeded to shriek like a banshee for a good while. It was much worse than getting shots for a younger one—they are so much more easily distracted by cheap toys, or juice, or oh, look! Goldfish! G was just furious! Now she keeps saying that she doesn’t want to go the Doctor any more.


mosey along said...

Oh my. Two things that make me all twitchy with stress - immigration bureaucracy, and shots.

Hubby and I became U.S. citizens last year and I tell you it is the biggest relief in the world to have 14 years of paperwork (applying for visa, renewing visa, applying for greencards, getting shots, applying for citizenship, endless trips to the passport photo office.....)
I just applied for Sweetpea's Canadian citizenship and it brought it all back.

And on another note, one thing I've found that works with my daughter regarding shots, is if she brings one of her stuffies and the nurse gives the stuffy the shot first. It seemed to calm her right down the last two times!

Good luck with it all! And hey, if you DO end up needing to come to San Francisco - I've got a spare bedroom for you!

Katy said...

Uff I feel for you. Visa paperwork is just the most soul destroying thing. Just imagine the relief when its all over! O recently got his visa for Australia and I can't tell you the joy not to ever have to deal with Aussie immigration again! And can I ask - does marriage to a Chilean make you eligible for a permanent Chilean visa? (Not that O and I have any intention of settling here permanently, but we'll be married next year and I guess its worth knowing the options. Saves doing border runs to Argentina every three months anyway.)

Danielle said...

Both sound like a big pain! Good luck to you. Will you still update your blog in Chile?

margaret said...

Uggh! I hate paperwork... but then...who doesn't! Good luck with it all... and just remember that you've already got a group of blogging gringas ready and waiting with pisco sours at the airport!

Annje said...

Mosey--that's a lovely offer, I'll keep you in mind. I thought of you actually when that came up--that we could go get the cup of coffee/glass of wine we always mention--which will happen sometime-somewhere. Will Sweetpea have triple citizenship? What a world traveler at 6 huh?

katy--I believe it does make you eligible for the permanenty visa, but I am not sure if you still have to do the one-year temporary resident visa first. But getting married in Chile, would probably make it easier in some ways for you.

Danielle--I will definitely keep blogging--though I may complain a bit more ;-)

Margaret--I love knowing that you gringas are there. I might need that pisco sour at the airport--I will be a frazzled mess.