Trámites: Elusive Carrots on Strings (Part 2)

Carrot on string

I have finally procured residency.

As you’ll remember from Part 1, we went in circles for quite some time before we figured out what was required for me to get residency as the spouse of a Chilean.

This post is about the second round of blunders, which eventually results in obtaining residency.

First stop…

Departamento de Legalizaciones del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores

After a couple of phone calls, we were told that these folks could do all the paperwork to get our marriage certified for us.  So we headed to Agustinas 1320.

The woman we talked to first told us that it wasn’t possible to do what we were trying to do.  But we had already confirmed that this department could do all the paperwork to legalize our marriage in Chile.

She then told us, “Well, yes, you can; but it is a complicated process and will take between two and four months.”

We opted to do it on our own and called up…

Uncle Paul and Phil at the Chilean Consulate in Boston

Paul and Phil Garber are honorary consuls that operate out of their house’s basement in Brighton, Massachusetts.

I called and explained my situation.

“Let me get this straight,” came the snarky Bostonian voice, “you just showed up in Chile without a visa and hoped for the best?”

I paused and muttered some sheepish affirmation.

“That was a good idea.”

He went on to explain that I needed to get the certificate signed by my state and then brought in—in person—for them to sign the certificate.

Vermont’s Secretary of State

We sent the marriage certificate along with a cover letter and check for $2.00 to Vermont’s Secretary of State.  He then signed the certificate and mailed it to my friend Barbara, who had graciously agreed to bring it to the…

Chilean Consulate in Boston

The cost to sign documents is $12.00 per document.

Then Barbara mailed the certificate back to me!

And we had the fun of…

Translating the Marriage Certificate

We landed back at the Departamento de Legalizaciones; this time it was to get the marriage certificate translated (even though the internet had told us it was unnecessary for English documents).

The translation took two weeks.

Photocopy, Notarize, Validate ad nauseam

We picked up the translation and took it to another desk in the same building, where they stamped the translation as valid. Apparently, they don’t trust the people who work four desks away from them to wield a stamp.

Then, we had to get a notarized photocopy. Naturally, the notary’s office had no photocopy machine (seriously??).

So we found a photocopy shop.

Finally, the notary could examine the photocopy next to the original… and stamp it as a valid copy.

At this point I’m thinking: WHY COULDN’T THIS BE DONE IN ONE PLACE? You’re all the government! Just make it legalized when you do the translation!

Regardless, we could finally…

Inscribe our marriage!

In the civil registry at Huérfanos 1570, near metro Santa Ana.

So get this. We handed in our papers, and the worker methodically scanned our translated marriage license. She wrote down my name, my husband’s name, and confirmed, “You were married on October 14, 2012?”

All that work just so she could confirm our names and the date of the wedding.

Then she told us we’d have to wait 35 business days for the marriage to be officially inscribed. Because that’s the amount of time it takes them to validate that all the validations are valid. Another victory for trámites.

Also known as “burrocracia”… as in “donkey”…

Renew Tourist Visa, which was about to expire…

In the meantime, the 90 days that I was granted the tourist visa are quickly coming to an end.

I was convinced that I would have to go to Argentina and re-enter the country in order to get the temporary visa again, but fortunately foreigners are allowed to apply to renew their tourist visas one time only.

It’s called a prórroga de visa de turista and costs $100 USD in the Departamento de Extranjería y Migración.

WOW!  We’re married!

We kept checking the internet with no new information. But finally, Edwin printed some document that he needed for work, and it said he was married. To me. Now I can…


and send them in to apply for residency. You have to mail them in.

The last couple of months should have been easy, but unfortunately, over the several months I was trying to finish this whole process, both the national post office and the registro civil were on strike.

Official Recognition

I’ll have to tell you all more details about that in the future (maybe), but in the meantime, I will just say that according to my residency papers, I’m a freelance sociologist.

To the right is the first image for the search “freelance sociologist”… from author Jess Rothenberg’s blog.
It doesn’t get better than that.

One thought on “Trámites: Elusive Carrots on Strings (Part 2)

  1. When folks ask if I’m married, I reply “Often, but not any more!” I’m heartened that I won’t have to deal with this particular challenge, but am sure I’ll be blind-sided by countless others.

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